Truck Accident Attorneys in Westfield, New Jersey
The United States highway system is used by millions of commuters and among regular passenger vehicles, large commercial vehicles utilize these same highways as trade routes. Although essential to our economy, large cargo vehicles can wreak havoc when involved in a car accident with a smaller automobile.
The average commercial vehicle is approximately 20-30% bigger than the average automobile and also takes about 30-40% more time to come to a stop. Regrettably, with the increasing amount of large cargo vehicles on the road, there is also an increasing number of auto accidents involving these large trucks.
Despite strict state and federal commercial vehicle regulations, trucking accidents occur every day. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a 5-year study indicated that large commercial vehicles in the United States were involved in the following:
- 16,646 deadly accidents
- 309,000 injury collisions
- 1,144,000 in property damage-only accidents
In the same time period, the State of New Jersey and the State of New York, reported 791 fatal collisions caused by large commercial vehicles.
After a Truck Accident in New Jersey, Obtain the Legal Support You Deserve
If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident involving a large cargo truck, it is important to seek the proficient legal support of an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with the complexities of truck accidents straightaway. A skilled attorney will investigate the truck accident and help you understand who is responsible for the accident. Additionally, a proficient attorney will be able to build a strong case and help you file the claim in accordance to the state’s statute of limitations.
The attorneys at Harrell, Smith and Williams, LLC are extremely experienced in handling truck accident cases whether they involve sprain and strain injuries, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries. If you were injured in a trucking accident, a skilled truck accident law firm serving victims in New Jersey will fight for your rights and help you recover the financial restitution you truly deserve.
Driving Error: A Large Contributing Factor in Trucking Accidents in New Jersey
In almost every commercial vehicle accident, driver error is a significant contributing factor in causing the accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that motorist-related factors make up about one-third of all deadly trucking accidents each year.
To further explain, driver-related elements were documented in 2,554 of the 7,368 deadly commercial vehicle collisions that occurred in a 2-year period. This measured up to be approximately 35% and the leading factors involved the following:
- Speeding, which caused 609 collisions
- Inattention or distraction, which caused 474 accidents
- The failure to yield the right of way, which caused 320 accidents
- Impairment, such as fatigue, illness, or driving under the influence, caused 299 accidents
- The failure to stay in the proper lane caused 248 collisions
- Reckless driving caused 198 accidents
It should be noted that although these were major contributing factors in causing roadway accidents, there could be a number of other factors that could cause or contribute to a truck accident.
Other Parties That Could Be Held Accountable For Causing a Trucking Accident in New Jersey
When a truck driver fails to take proper precautions when operating the vehicle, he or she could be held accountable for any injuries caused by his or her negligence. There are other parties, however, that could be held accountable in an accident, which may include the following:
The Trucking Company - Companies that send their vehicles onto highways are responsible for the vehicle and certain actions or inactions of the driver of the vehicle. Common errors trucking companies can commit involve the following:
- Overloading the vehicle past the weight capacity
- Failing to maintain the breaks of the cargo truck
- Failing to maintain other essential equipment of the truck
- Not ensuring the driver is taking adequate and sufficient rest periods
Mechanic Companies and Manufacturing Companies - When a commercial vehicle’s equipment fails, it may be the fault of the manufacturer that produced the equipment. If this happens, a product’s liability lawsuit may be filed in order to recover compensation. Common equipment failures include:
- Low tread on tires,
- Defective steering components,
- Defective brakes,
- Transmission failure,
- Detaching of trailer, and
- Tire blowout
On the other hand, when the vehicle’s equipment was wrongfully installed, the mechanic may be responsible for the accident and injuries caused. It should be noted that filing a claim against a mechanic might be difficult to demonstrate and it is therefore important to obtain sufficient evidence to build a strong case.
Proving Liability in a Commercial Vehicle Accident in New Jersey
Large commercial vehicles have a remarkably different weight and size than regular passenger vehicles. The sheer size of a large cargo truck can have the potential to cause major damage to smaller vehicles. Aside from this, however, it is important to know that commercial vehicles are generally operated by professional drivers who work for different companies. This makes filing a personal injury claim against a truck driver or trucking company much more complex than filing a regular auto accident claim.
In most automobile accident cases, individuals seeking compensation for pain and suffering must first prove that the injuries they sustained are permanent before being entitled to money damages. The State of New Jersey has carved out an exception to this general rule when individuals are involved in accidents in which the negligent driver is operating a “commercial vehicle”. In these instances, a personal injury Plaintiff must simply prove that they sustained any injury in order to be entitled to compensation.
Wrongful Death Cases after Trucking Accidents in New Jersey
As previously mentioned, trucking accidents have the capacity to inflict deadly injuries upon collision. When an accident causes the death of a victim, the victim’s family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation. Although financial compensation will do little to ease a family’s pain after the loss of their loved one, restitution can help cover outstanding medical expenses left by the victim, funeral and burial costs, the loss of income and loss of companionship, as well as the loss of benefits.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Serving Victims in New Jersey
Unfortunately, most individuals who are involved in accidents involving trucks suffer some form of injury due to the disparity in size between their own vehicle and the vehicle that the defendant is operating. Suffering injuries caused by a trucking accident can have a lasting impact on the victim and will almost always affect the victim’s quality of life. In many cases, the injuries caused by the accident will leave the victim with the inability to work, which can affect the victim’s entire family.
Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney following a commercial truck accident is essential to the recovery process. In a majority of cases, a truck driver or truck company’s insurance company will attempt to undermine the injuries or displace blame from the defendant to the victim. Unless a skilled attorney is hired, it is likely that the insurance company will want to provide the victim with the least amount of financial compensation as possible.
Additionally, filing a lawsuit in the State of New Jersey will need to be done within a certain time frame. New Jersey’s statute of limitations determines that personal injury lawsuits for adults will need to be filed within two years from the time of the accident. This, however, is different for minors injured in an accident. The failure to file the necessary reporting documentation within the prescribed time period will act as a complete bar to your case. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a truck, it is essential that you contact the support of a qualified law firm to make sure that your rights are adequately protected.
The attorneys at Harrell, Smith & Williams, LLC have dedicated their careers to protecting the rights of those who have suffered injuries as a result of a trucking accident. Trucking accidents in New Jersey often result in costly medical expenses, which can affect the victim for many years. The firm understands that trucking accidents are complex and can impact a family’s finances. If you or someone you love was injured in a commercial vehicle accident, contact a professional law firm today.
Our lawyers will also represent you in civil litigation cases such as Work Compensation, Medical Malpractice and much more.