One of the main reasons that truck accident claims are different from car accident claims is the potential for substantial property damage and serious injury when a truck is involved in a crash. When a collision with a truck occurs, those involved often suffer serious injuries due to the sheer size and weight that semi-trailers and other large trucks carry. Additionally, liability can be complicated in a truck accident due to the number of different parties involved. The complexity of a truck accident is one of the key reasons to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to understand your case and your options.
Statistics show that truck accidents are rising per capita and it’s more likely for the occupants of the other vehicle to be injured in the accident. In a single recent year, there were more than 500,000 crashes involving large trucks, including more than 4,500 that were fatal and 107,000 that resulted in injuries. And, the number of fatal truck crashes per person in the U.S. has risen 27 percent since 2010. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the majority of those injured or killed in these collisions (82 percent) are people in other vehicles.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
No matter what the cause of a truck accident may be, the consequences of these types of collisions can be serious and, in the worst case, fatal. Driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents in the trucking industry. This is often because trucking companies award drivers for arriving on time or early, and so have a hard time deterring drivers from driving tired or over the legal amount of hours, even with extensive federal regulations in place.
Additionally, many truck accidents occur due to the following reasons:
- Drug use
- Alcohol consumption
- Distracted driving
- Impatient driving
- Failure to comply with signs and signals
Semi-trucks, the companies that own them, and the drivers who operate them are all held to specific federal and state regulations. An experienced attorney in semi-truck accident claims can ensure that any infractions or violations of these laws are taken into account in the claim.
How Does a Truck Accident Lawsuit Work in New Jersey?
The very first step in any injury or wrongful death claim in a crash is determining fault. New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning that your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover up to the amount of damages your policy insures. In a semi-truck accident, this is usually nowhere near enough to cover all of your losses. In this case, it may be in your best option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
A lawsuit can help you obtain economic and non-economic damages. However, if you did not choose the unlimited right to sue when purchasing your insurance policy, you will not be able to sue for additional noneconomic damages, which are not covered by your PIP coverage. Insurance companies may offer a settlement, but it’s important to talk to an experienced truck accident attorney before signing anything because your case could be worth much more than what’s being offered.
Determining Fault in a Truck Accident
Another reason truck accident claims are different is because of the number of entities that may be involved in the claim. In cases like driver fatigue, the driver alone may not bear full responsibility. The trucking company could be found liable if they weren’t following safety guidelines and/or maintaining proper policies. You may even have to file more than one claim if more than one company is responsible for different parts of the truck. For example, the tractor might be owned and insured by one company or owner/operation, while the trailer might be owned and insured by another company. Liability in a semi-truck accident can be complex and is one of the key reasons to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to understand your case and your options.
Although many crash cases are settled out-of-court, truck accident cases may be more likely to go to trial given what is at stake. In some cases, the insurer will agree the truck driver was at-fault but will dispute the extent of the plaintiff’s losses/damages. Settling a New Jersey truck accident case can take years, and a trial will take even longer. That doesn’t mean you should be dissuaded from getting the justice you deserve and compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.
Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
Are you considering talking to an attorney about an injury you or a loved one sustained in a truck accident? At, Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassion and empathy and want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you deserve.