All motor vehicle accidents are serious; however, some of the most serious motor vehicle accidents involved large commercial trucks and vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 4,862 trucks or buses involved in fatal crashes and another 112,000 injury-related crashes in 2018 alone. Commercial trucks and vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are no match for a sedan size automobile that the average person is driving on the roads and highways in New Jersey.
Not only are accidents involving large commercial trucks and vehicles more serious, but filing a lawsuit against a commercial trucking company is complex and involves not only the laws of New Jersey, but Federal laws as well. This is why it is important to ensure that the lawyers you choose to represent you in a trucking accident have expertise in handling trucking accident cases.
The New Jersey trucking accident lawyers at Cerussi & Gunn have expertise in the State and Federal laws governing trucking accidents and are familiar with how to investigate and litigate such cases, which means you are in good hands when seeking compensation for a trucking accident.
You may be overwhelmed as the victim of a commercial truck accident in New Jersey. You may not know where to turn for help. The insurance companies involved in your case will not be on your side, nor will the truck company want what is best for you. A personal injury attorney can be your advocate during this difficult time.
Our lawyers can immediately go to work on your case, giving you time to focus on healing from your serious injuries. We can take over tasks such as investigating the truck accident and collecting evidence. Then, we can file a claim on your behalf and build a case against the defendant(s) using resources such as qualified experts and crash reconstructionists.
Most importantly, our attorneys can connect you to top physicians in your city who can help you achieve maximum medical recovery. By answering your legal questions, giving you honest advice and taking over legal matters for you, our law firm can give you the peace of mind you need to concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery.
Commercial truck accidents are often catastrophic for the occupants of the passenger car. With an average weight of about 80,000 pounds, an 18-wheeler can crush or obliterate smaller and lighter vehicles, inflicting life-threatening injuries on the victims within. If a victim survives a truck accident, he or she may require emergency medical care and ongoing treatments during recovery. Sadly, many victims never fully recover from truck accidents.
Some of the most common injuries suffered in truck accidents in New Jersey are:
Severe injuries can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care alone. Even a minor injury can come with expensive medical costs and other losses, such as the inability to work. If you or a loved one has a serious injury from a truck accident in New Jersey, one or more parties may be financially responsible for your related losses.
Determining why a motor vehicle accident involving a commercial truck or vehicle occurred is not as easy as reviewing the police report and determining whether a driver received a summons. Accidents involving commercial trucks or vehicles occur for the same reasons that motor vehicle accidents occur involving private passenger cars, i.e. speeding, driver inattention, failure to yield, etc. However, trucking accidents also occur due to fatigue of the driver, failure to properly and timely inspect the truck, failure to properly train the driver of the commercial truck, failure to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and many more.
Common types of driver error include:
Most accidents are the result of carelessness, but that does not necessarily mean it was the truck driver’s carelessness that caused the accident to occur. The people who are supposed to maintain the truck or the manufacturer of one of the truck’s parts might be the ones that were actually responsible for the happening of the accident. Commercial trucks are subject to significant wear and tear, so they need to be kept in proper condition and there are State and Federal laws that govern the inspection and maintenance of commercial vehicles.
Another common cause of truck accidents in New Jersey is trucking company negligence. If a trucking company is careless and fails to fulfill its legal obligation to conduct business in a reasonable manner, it can cause accidents. This can make the company liable for the crash.
Common examples of trucking company negligence include:
A trucking company is guilty of negligence if it commits any action or omission that a reasonable and prudent company would not have in the same circumstances. If an investigation finds evidence of any type of trucking company negligence, the company’s insurance provider may be financially responsible for the crash and victims’ related losses.
New Jersey is in the minority as a no-fault insurance state. In auto accident law, a no-fault insurance system requires all involved drivers to seek financial benefits from their own auto insurance companies, regardless of who caused the collision. After a truck accident in New Jersey, therefore, you will file a claim for benefits with your own insurance provider. Your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other financial damages.
If, however, your accident-related injuries meet New Jersey serious injury threshold, you will have grounds to file a lawsuit against the driver or party who caused the truck accident. Most truck accidents inflict injuries that meet this threshold. A serious injury in New Jersey involves:
If you have grounds to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for a truck accident, you can receive compensation for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages outside of the no-fault system. You or your attorney, however, will need to identify the defendant and prove that party’s fault to recover financial compensation through an injury lawsuit in New Jersey.
Liability in a truck accident lawsuit can be difficult to determine. Unlike a typical car accident case that only involves two drivers, a truck accident case will also involve the trucking company and other parties, such as a cargo company. Your case will likely use the legal doctrine of vicarious liability.
Vicarious liability is a rule that states that a master will answer for the actions of its servants. This rule is most commonly used in cases involving negligent company employees or minors. The vicarious liability doctrine states that an employer will absorb legal responsibility for the actions of its on-duty employees, and a parent will absorb liability for his or her minor child.
In a truck accident case, a trucking company may be vicariously liable for the negligence of its truck drivers, cargo loaders, maintenance teams and other employees. If the truck driver was an independent contractor (or an owner/operator) and not an employee, however, the driver may be independently liable. Work with an attorney to determine liability for your specific truck accident case.
When purchasing or renewing their automobile insurance, every New Jersey driver determines whether they want to be subject to the limitation of lawsuit, also known as the verbal threshold. If a driver chooses the limitation of lawsuit option, the driver’s premiums will be considerably less; however, that driver, if injured in a motor vehicle accident, can only recover for pain and suffering if that driver sustains a more serious type of injury.
However, if a motor vehicle accident is caused by the driver of a commercial vehicle, the individual who sustains personal injuries as a result of the accident, likely would not be subject to the limitation of lawsuit, even if that is what they had chosen on their own policy of automobile insurance.
Notwithstanding, the injured individual’s medical bills would still be covered by their own motor vehicle insurance.
A truck accident lawsuit in New Jersey has many unique elements compared to a traditional car accident case. For example, the injuries suffered are typically much more severe due to the immense size and weight of a big rig. Something else that makes these accident cases unique is the types of evidence available to support a claim.
Common types of evidence used in truck accident cases include:
Another factor that makes truck accidents unique is the amount of resources the average trucking company has to put toward fighting lawsuits. For example, most companies deploy rapid response teams immediately to the scenes of accidents to try to collect evidence before anyone else has the chance to do so. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney right away – to even the playing field between you and the trucking company. A lawyer can help you preserve key evidence from the scene.
At Cerussi & Gunn, we know our clients are pursuing much more than just financial compensation when they file claims. However, we also recognize how important it is for an injured accident victim to receive the compensation he or she deserves – especially after a truck accident that causes catastrophic injuries and long-term medical needs. That is why we work hard to obtain the positive settlements or jury verdicts our clients need.
If your truck accident case succeeds, you may receive financial compensation for the following damages and more:
Bringing an injury claim against a trucking company or another defendant is about more than just monetary gain. Holding a trucking company accountable for a preventable accident can push for safety changes on an institutional level, potentially preventing future truck accidents from taking place. Holding a negligent party legally and financially responsible for your accident can also give you and your family a sense of justice and closure.
It is important that the attorney you choose to represent you with regard to a trucking accident is fully familiar with the New Jersey and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
The attorneys at Cerussi & Gunn, located in Monmouth County, NJ, are familiar with the New Jersey and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and have handled numerous cases involving commercial trucks and vehicles.
At Cerussi & Gunn, we have the experience to handle your case against a trucking company whose driver’s negligence or its own negligence causes a motor vehicle accident that causes you injury. The NJ trucking accident lawyers at Cerussi & Gunn will be able to answer your questions and properly prepare your case.
If you are dealing with life-changing injuries from a preventable truck accident, you have rights. You do not have to defend them alone. An attorney from Cerussi & Gunn can stand by your side to make sure you and your family have everything you need during this difficult time.
If you or a loved one has injuries from a trucking accident in New Jersey, please contact us to request a free consultation. Call Cerussi & Gunn at (732) 936-9920 or contact us online anytime and we will get back to you as soon as possible.