Common Locations for New Jersey Truck Accidents
As a result of the large size and tremendous weight that trucks have, in the unfortunate event that they are involved in an accident, serious injuries are likely to be caused. Currently over 15.5 million trucks are in use in America and over 130,000 individuals are injured in truck accidents each year. According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, there are more than 600,000 truck accidents each year in the United States which average more than 5,000 deaths annually. The most common place where truck accidents occur is on major highways. There are a number of major highways that run through New Jersey, where truck accidents may be more commonly experienced.
These New Jersey highways include the following:
- The New Jersey Turnpike
- The Atlantic City Expressway
- The Garden State Parkway
- Interstate 80
- Interstate I-95
- Interstate 280
- U.S. Route 9
- U.S. Route 4
- U.S. Route 17
- U.S. Route 33
- U.S. Route 34
- U.S. Route 35
- U.S. Route 36
- U.S. Route 37
- U.S. Route 66
- U.S. Route 70
How Truck Accidents May Happen
Accidents involving trucks are often times caused by the unsafe actions of the truck drivers. Common causes of accidents caused by truck drivers include reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, driving while overly fatigued, overloading the truck with loads that exceed its weight limitations, driving a truck that is in need of repairs or improperly securing loads that the truck is carrying. Trucks that carry hazardous materials, such as flammable substances, also account for many truck accidents.
Laws Governing Truck Driving Safety
Federal law requires truck companies to routinely inspect their trucks to comply with all relevant safety guidelines and procedures. Trucking laws are also in place to regulate the number of hours a truck driver is committed to drive at any one time to avoid tiredness that could result in dangerous driving.
Recovering for Your Truck Accident Injuries
In order to recover damages (monetary compensation) in an accident involving a truck, you are required to prove that the truck driver acted negligently. Typically, truck drivers are found to have acted negligently if they failed to act as a reasonable truck driver would under the circumstances. The negligence laws in the state of New Jersey require that a truck drive his or her vehicle with reasonable care. In the event that the injured party is able to demonstrate that the truck driver acted negligently and that driver is employed by a trucking company, the victim may be able to recover damages from the trucking company and/or the trucking company's insurance carrier.
Seek a NJ Truck Accident Lawyer
Experienced lawyers who handle truck accident cases know what evidence is required in order to prove liability on behalf of the truck driver, the truck driving company and the manufacturer of the truck. The NJ Truck Accident Lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. will assist you in obtaining the following relevant documents after a trucking accident:
- The police report made by the officer investigating the accident;
- The truck driver's record – this may reveal prior violations on behalf of both the truck driver and the trucking company;
- The truck's maintenance records – these may determine whether or not all appropriate maintenance was performed on the truck in a timely manner;
- Examination of fuel receipts – these could determine both the routes and speed that the driver was travelling, as well as whether or not the driver was exceeding the number of hours that he or she is permitted to drive under the law.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has previously released reports that indicate a speed of 55 miles per hour or higher, poor weather and a curved road are factors that significantly increase the odds of both a truck rollover or a “jack-knife”. As the weight of the truck and its cargo increases, the odds of a rollover increase as well.
Common Trucks Involved in Accidents
Without question, crashes involving large trucks are a serious traffic safety problem. In the year 2000, there were approximately 5,000 large trucks involved in fatal crashes. Large trucks are typically defined as trucks with a gross vehicle weight of at least 10,000 pounds. More than 50% of large truck fatalities occur on non-divided two lane roadways. The following types of trucks are most often involved in trucking accidents:
- Dump trucks: often transport loose materials utilized for construction purposes in an open box bed;
- Heavy trucks: utilized for long haul purposes, such as semi-tractor trailers consisting of 18 wheels, to carry approximately 80% of all the cargo shipped in the U.S.;
- Tanker trucks: designed to carry gases and various liquid substances, these types of trucks are subject to special regulations in the event they are transporting hazardous materials;
- Panel trucks: usually completely enclosed and are used for delivery purposes;
- Flatbed trucks: used to transport goods and equipment such as automobiles
What Happens After a Truck Accident Occurs?
After a truck accident, the trucking company's insurance company immediately assigns a claims adjuster to begin to protect the trucking company's interests. The insurance company's investigator will begin to collect evidence in order to defend and/or minimize the claim that's going to be filed on behalf of the injured party. It is absolutely essential that you contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible subsequent to the accident so that you can be placed on an equal footing with the trucking company and its insurance carrier.
What Should I Do if I'm Injured in a Truck Accident?
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a truck accident, you should make sure that when you provide your initial statement to the police officer that you limit your comments to the facts and that you do not speculate as to what occurred and do not admit to any fault in causing the accident. For example, you should refrain from saying such things as “I'm sorry” to the truck driver or the police officer, as that may be subsequently brought up later in the lawsuit as evidence of guilt on your behalf. You should use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene, obtain the license plate numbers of the truck and trailer involved. Make a notation as to the truck's tires and the overall condition of the vehicle. Make sure you obtain the truck driver's license information as well as the insurance information of the truck owner and trailer owner. Also get the names of all the witnesses to the accident, if any, and seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even in the event that you do not feel that your injuries are severe. Do not sign any legal documentation without having the benefit of an experienced NJ Truck Accident Lawyer reviewing that documentation with you.
Injured in a New Jersey Truck Accident? Get Help Today!
The NJ Truck Accident Lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C., a New Jersey truck accident law firm, focuses on representing individuals and their family members in serious personal injury cases. In the unfortunate event you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, please contact the attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. at (732) 709-7757 for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Truck accident victims may be entitled to compensation for financial losses suffered in an accident, as well as for physical and emotional damages as well. Victims are often entitled to reimbursement for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, diminished earning capacity, emotional distress and pain and suffering. Rest assured that a trucking company will have an experienced attorney representing their interests, so you should as well. The NJ Truck Accident Lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. will ensure that you receive fair compensation for the injuries that you sustained in a truck accident. Contact one of our truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation.