Edison Truck Accident Attorney
As drivers, we pass large trucks every day. These trucks are a vital part of our economy. They transport goods from large suppliers to smaller businesses and deliver products for companies of all sizes. As consumers, we rely on trucks for every aspect of our life. They deliver our gas, our food, and the clothes that we wear.
If you or a loved one were injured in an Edison truck accident, contact the Edison Truck Accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, for a free case evaluation.
Common Trucks on the Road
According to the American Trucking Association, trucks transport just under 72 percent of the nation’s freight by weight. But while we rely so much on commercial trucks, they pose a serious risk to other drivers on the road. In one recent year, over 4,100 people died in accidents involving large trucks. The majority of these people were passengers of smaller vehicles.
It’s easy to think of all trucks the same, but different trucks have different purposes. What exactly does this mean when it comes to accidents? Because trucks have different purposes, not only is their design different, but the way they move, the way they respond, and the route they take all vary from truck to truck. Some of the trucks you will commonly see on the road include:
When we think of large trucks, we often think of tractor-trailers or semi-trucks. These trucks are composed of the smaller semi portion, which holds the engine and passenger compartment, and the tractor-trailer, the portion of the truck that holds the goods. Tractor-trailers typically travel on interstates and rural highways. However, you will see them on local roads when they are close to their destination. These trucks are some of the most dangerous on the road. Their sheer size and weight make them more difficult to stop and more dangerous in an accident.
Tanker trucks transport liquid products such as milk, gasoline, and water. Like tractor-trailers, you often see them on interstate roads. Liquid responds differently than solids in transport so drivers need special certifications to drive a tanker truck. These trucks carry the extra risk of carrying potentially hazardous materials which can cause a fire in the event of a collision.
Box trucks are smaller than semi-trucks or tanker trucks. Common examples include moving trucks and delivery trucks. The maximum weight capacity for box trucks is much lower than other commercial trucks. Consequently, the law does not require a person to hold a commercial driver’s license to drive most box trucks. This creates a danger for other drivers on the road when the person driving the truck does not have the experience to properly maneuver the vehicle.
We see garbage trucks every day. While smaller than most trucks, these trucks pose a different danger. Garbage trucks drive primarily in residential areas and make frequent stops. These types of trucks are at high risk for rear-end accidents, collisions with parked cars or vehicles leaving driveways, and pedestrian accidents.
Dump trucks often haul materials for construction services. Common materials include dirt, gravel, and bark. These trucks generally consist of the front cab and a large, open-top trailer. In addition to the risks associated with other large trucks, these trucks can cause an accident if the material in the truck falls onto the roadway or on another vehicle.
Why Large Trucks Are so Dangerous
Trucks are designed differently than passenger vehicles. They need to be able to transport large amounts of products across long distances. This means their body, mechanics, and maneuvering capabilities are different than most other vehicles on the road. A fully loaded tractor-trailer is legally allowed to weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s about twenty times the size of a passenger vehicle.
Other variables that can make an accident happen include:
- Greater stopping distance: A fully loaded truck traveling 65 miles per hour takes the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. This means if a vehicle traveling in front of the truck comes to a sudden stop or cuts in front of the truck, the driver of the larger truck will likely not have enough time to stop. Never cut in front of a truck and avoid any sudden stops.
- Large blindspots: Every vehicle has blind spots, but the issue is exponentially worse for large trucks. Large trucks have blind spots at the front and rear of the truck as well as both sides. If you are traveling behind the truck, the driver will not be able to see you unless you are at least 30 feet behind the vehicle. In front of the truck, the blindspot extends 20 feet. A good rule of thumb is, if you can’t see the driver in his mirrors, he can’t see you.
- Large trucks are higher off the ground: A truck’s trailer sits high above the road to allow for easy loading and unloading. Often, the trailer height sits at the same level or higher than the hood of a passenger vehicle. This is a serious problem in the event of a collision. When a passenger vehicle collides with a large truck, the smaller car can become pinned underneath the trailer. This can tear off the top of the car and will usually lead to catastrophic injury or death. Federal law requires most large trucks to install underride guards on the rear of the truck. However, drivers are not required to install such guards on the sides of the vehicle.
- Wide right turns: Large trucks require more room to complete a turn, especially right turns. These trucks usually drive beyond their desired lane to allow enough room for the trailer to follow. Once the truck has begun the turn, they begin to transition back into the other lane. Wide right turn accidents happen when the truck driver travels into the path of oncoming traffic, turns too sharply and tips the truck, or when a passenger vehicle becomes caught in the truck’s “pinch zone” between the cab and the trailer.
Common Causes of Large Truck Accidents
Any accident involving a large truck has the potential for catastrophic injuries. Despite the known dangers of these vehicles, accidents continue to happen. In one recent year, 54 large trucks were in fatal accidents in New Jersey. That’s more than 6 percent of all vehicles in fatal accidents across the state.
Knowing why these accidents happen may help keep you safe. Common causes include:
- Speeding: Truck drivers are often under a tight deadline. Their jobs rely on them getting products to their destinations by given deadlines. A late driver may increase speed to make up time. Speeding not only increases the amount of stopping distance, but it also decreases the amount of time a driver has to react to any hazards. High-speed crashes involving large trucks are almost always fatal. If you see a large truck traveling too fast behind you, do not tap your brakes to try to get them to slow down. Move over and allow the truck to pass.
- Distracted driving: We commonly associate distracted driving with using the phone, but distractions can come from inside or outside of the vehicle. A driver may become distracted by an animal, another driver, or even another accident. Inside the truck, distractions include phones, the radio, and eating while driving.
- Drowsy driving: Truck drivers work long hours, sometimes up to 70 hours per week. When drivers don’t get enough sleep they increase the risk of an accident. Drowsy driving can result in delayed response time, poor decision making, diminished vision, and loss of control of the vehicle.
- Inexperienced driver: Driving a large truck is a big job. It takes skill and experience. New drivers or poorly trained drivers don’t have the experience to respond appropriately to dangerous situations. In addition to general inexperience, a lack of familiarity with the area can cause an accident. If a driver is inexperienced with the locale’s weather or roadway system, they are more likely to be distracted, become lost, or travel in an area not designed for trucks. This is why you always need to practice defensive driving.
- Driving under the influence: Fortunately, the large majority of truck drivers know the dangers that come with driving under the influence. But still, a small number of drivers drive their truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a driver is called in on a day off, they may return to work knowing they are not in the condition to do so. On top of that, prescription and non-prescription medication can interfere with driving. If you are in an accident with a driver who you suspect has been drinking, do not approach them. Instead, call 911 right away.
- Mechanical failure: The Federal Motor Carrier Association regulates maintenance requirements for large trucks. All drivers are required to inspect their vehicles before getting on the road. They must also comply with annual inspections. Accidents can happen when the driver fails to complete their inspection, takes shortcuts, or there is an unseen mechanical defect.
Recovering Damages After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, the law allows you to pursue financial compensation for your injuries.
The amount of your recovery will depend on a variety of factors, but may include:
- Medical bills, including medical transport, surgeries, doctor visits, medication, therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages for any time missed from work as a direct result of your injuries.
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
- Loss of companionship, when your injury interferes with your personal relationships, including loss of a physical relationship.
- Loss of enjoyment, when you are unable to participate in activities you enjoyed before
- Wrongful death, to help cover the cost of the funeral and burial, as well as any outstanding medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When it comes to recovering these damages, it’s important to determine who holds financial liability. When it comes to truck accidents, many parties may hold responsibility.
- The truck driver: The truck driver is the most obvious person to blame after a truck accident. The driver holds ultimate responsibility for inspecting their vehicle and driving it in a safe manner. Regardless of any other circumstances, the trucker driver almost always holds some level of responsibility.
- The driver’s employer: Employers have a big impact on their employees’ performance. It all begins with the hiring process. Employers should always screen their drivers and perform a drug test. These drug tests should happen on a regular occurrence throughout the driver’s employment. The trucking company is also responsible for making sure the driver is properly licensed and trained and for following up on inspection requirements. If the employer pushes the driver to work beyond federal regulations or in an unsafe manner, they will likely hold some level of financial responsibility.
- The truck or part manufacturer: Unfortunately, sometimes parts fail. Often, drivers can catch problems with parts before they become a bigger issue. But far too often, they cannot. When an accident happens because a part failed, the vehicle or part manufacturer may potentially hold all liability. Defective parts that may affect the truck’s performance include the tires, brakes, steering mechanisms, transmission, and safety devices.
Your Injuries Matter. Get the Compensation You Deserve.
Truck accidents don’t just affect the victim: they affect the victim’s entire family. These accidents can cause severe and often permanent injuries. When you are injured in an accident, you want someone who will defend your rights and aggressively fight for fair compensation.
For over 40 years, the lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have fought for the rights of accident victims. You shouldn’t have to suffer the financial cost of an accident because of someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a large truck, your injuries matter. With offices throughout New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, our team is here to support you. Our Edison office is located at 1929 Route 27, Edison, NJ 08817.
Edison Truck Accident FAQs
Each year, dozens of accidents involving tractor-trailers occur on New Jersey roadways, including those in and around Edison. Due to the massive size of a commercial truck—which measures about 70 feet long and can weigh 20 to 30 times more than a small passenger car—the people most likely to die or suffer an injury in a truck-involved accident are the occupants of other vehicles.
If you have sustained an injury in an accident in Edison that involved a tractor-trailer and resulted from someone else’s careless or reckless actions, read on for the answers to questions we often hear from our Edison truck accident clients. You can obtain answers to questions about your specific case through a free case evaluation with an experienced truck accident attorney from Jacoby & Meyers LLP.
Our results in cases involving truck accidents include a $2.5 million settlement for a client who suffered an injury when a tractor-trailer turned too wide and struck the front of his car, causing a neck injury that required fusion surgery.
How do I obtain compensation for the injuries I incurred in a truck accident?
The process for pursuing compensation for the impacts and expenses of the injuries that you sustain in a truck accident is through a truck accident lawsuit.
Claims are generally not filed directly against the at-fault party. Instead, your attorney will submit a demand to the at-fault party’s insurance provider. If the provider refuses to pay the claim or offer fair compensation through a settlement agreement, you may file a lawsuit in civil court. In New Jersey, plaintiffs must file their truck accident lawsuits within two years of the accident. Contact the legal team at Jacoby & Meyers LLP for advice on if and when to file your claim.
Who is liable for an Edison truck accident? How do I prove liability?
The potential sources of liability in an accident involving a truck include:
- The truck driver, who is tasked with adhering to state and federal regulations regarding the safe operation of a commercial motor vehicle, including obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL), observing federal hours of service rules that control how many hours a commercial truck driver can drive before taking an off-duty break, ensuring his or her truck is safe to operate, and understanding the traffic laws that all users of the roadway are subject to.
- The company that the truck driver works for, which is tasked with performing background and driving history checks on hired drivers, ensuring that the trucks are properly maintained and have the required amount of insurance and that the driver receives the proper training to handle the rigors of the job.
- The shipper, who is tasked with ensuring that the logistics company it uses and the driver who is transporting the load are in good standing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the federal agency that oversees the trucking industry in the U.S. and also is sometimes tasked with ensuring that the cargo is properly loaded in the trailer of the truck.
- Other roadway users, including motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or bicyclists, whose careless or reckless actions result in an accident involving a commercial truck, regardless of whether the liable driver’s vehicle was actually involved in the collision.
- The manufacturer or distributor of defective parts used on the truck or another vehicle, if a defective auto part or vehicle malfunction caused the accident.
- The individual or entity tasked with providing maintenance and service on the truck, if the accident resulted from a maintenance issue.
To establish the at-fault party’s liability, you must prove:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care, which is the duty to act as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances, to protect the safety and well-being of others. The duty of care that truck drivers and other motorists owe, for example, is to operate their motor vehicles safely and legally.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care, which refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that contradicted the duty of care owed at the time of the accident.
- This breach in the duty of care resulted in the accident, which caused you to suffer an injury and related expenses and impacts.
What damages are available to me after my truck accident?
New Jersey allows the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages through the truck accident legal process. Economic damages refer to a payment made in compensation for the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred because of your injury. Non-economic damages refer to the negative impacts that your injury has had on your quality of life.
Some common expenses and impacts appearing on damage claims in Edison truck accident cases include:
- Medical expenses, such as the cost of emergency care, diagnostic testing, ambulance transport, hospitalization, prescription medication, physician and surgical services, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and the provision of items aimed to assist an injured person with mobility, such as a wheelchair, crutches, or prostheses.
- Lost wages from missing work because of injuries or to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity if you acquire permanent disabilities in the accident and can no longer earn as much money as you did before.
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle that suffered property damage in the truck-involved accident.
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
I was partially responsible for the truck accident that caused my injuries. Can I still seek compensation?
Motor vehicle accidents are often complex situations that arise due to errors or negligence by more than one roadway user. Generally, you can still seek compensation from other liable parties, depending on the specific circumstances of your accident. However, the compensation you receive may decrease. Contact the legal team at Jacoby & Meyers LLP to discuss the details of your accident and determine whether you qualify to pursue compensation for your injuries.
What types of evidence will my attorney need to prove the truck driver’s liability?
Truck accidents often result in the need to acquire and analyze massive amounts of information and evidence to determine liability.
Some information that your attorney will obtain from the truck driver and/or the trucking company include:
- The most recent truck inspection reports and maintenance records.
- Black box information from the truck that will reveal any risky driving behaviors, such as speeding or hard braking, and how many hours the truck operated before the accident occurred.
- On-board computers and GPS systems from the truck that can provide information necessary for accident reconstruction.
- Documentation, such as the driver’s hours of service logs, phone records that could reveal if the driver was using his or her phone at the time of the accident, the driver’s personnel file, the results of the driver’s post-crash drug and alcohol tests, the results of the driver’s most recent physical examination, dispatch instructions, and reports from weigh stations and docks involved in the driver’s route.
I lost a loved one due to a truck accident. Can I seek compensation for the financial and emotional losses?
Yes. The process you would use to seek compensation for the loss of your loved one’s services, support, companionship, care, and the expenses incurred from medical treatment of his or her final injuries, funeral expenses, and burial expenses, is a wrongful death claim. Like truck accident claims, wrongful death lawsuits are legal claims filed in civil court within two years of the date of death in cases in which the deceased individual would have had cause to file a truck accident claim if he or she had survived the accident.
I was in the truck’s blind spot when the accident occurred. Does that mean that I’m liable for the accident?
All vehicles have blind spots, which are areas around the vehicle that the driver cannot see by checking his or her rear- or side-view mirrors. Commercial trucks have significant blind spots on all four sides, which are often called no-zones.
While the FMCSA generally encourages drivers to avoid lingering in these no-zones, the truck driver must clear a travel lane before entering it and make sure no obstacles are behind the truck when backing up. This means that liability in no-zone accidents tends to primarily reside with the truck driver.
What is the average settlement in a truck accident case?
Because truck accident cases each come with unique expenses, impacts, and other details, it is really not possible to determine an average settlement for a truck accident claim.
Several factors, however, will affect how much compensation you receive, including:
- The at-fault party’s level of insurance coverage. If the value of your case is higher than the policy limit on the at-fault party’s insurance policy, you may have to deal with uncovered expenses. Your attorney may determine all sources of liability and all insurance resources that you may access to obtain the amount of compensation you need to cover the full costs of your injuries.
- How much you earn at work. Your income factors into different damage categories, including wage loss, loss of future earning capacity, and even the non-economic impacts of your injury. A person in a successful career will often have a case worth more than a young person who does not have a job or a retired person who no longer earns an income.
- The severity of your injury. The more severe your injury is, the more likely you are to incur additional expenses and impacts. The calculation of your non-economic damages directly considers the severity of your injury.
- How patient you are through the process. It is not unusual for an accident victim to receive a settlement offer rather quickly. Receiving a fair settlement offer, on the other hand, often takes time. Usually, the fairest settlement offers come just before the insurance provider faces the expense of litigation.
How can an attorney help with my truck accident claim?
An experienced accident attorney from Jacoby & Meyers LLP can ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available in your case.
These services include:
- A free case evaluation, in which you can learn more about the truck accident claims process and your options based on the details of your case.
- A determination of liable parties and insurance resources in your case.
- A valuation of your case based on the expenses and impacts you have already incurred due to your injury as well as those that you will likely incur in the future.
- Skilled settlement negotiations based on your attorney’s deep understanding of the compensation that you may receive.
- Guidance as to the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting an offered settlement.
- Gathering and organizing the evidence and witness testimony needed to prove your case.
- Assistance collecting your settlement or award.
Truck accidents are capable of producing some of the most life-changing and even life-threatening injuries that a person can incur, and this kind of case requires a tremendous amount of knowledge pertaining to the truck driver’s employment and adherence to federal regulations, as well as an understanding of the medical battles that you face now and will face in the future because of your injuries.
An experienced member of our legal team at Jacoby & Meyers LLP is looking forward to speaking with you about your Edison truck accident case. For your free case evaluation, contact us right away.
Edison, NJ 08817
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“I’m really grateful for the settlement my lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers helped me to obtain. I was badly hurt when another driver crashed into my card. The driver was carelessly. My team at Jacoby & Meyers didn’t let the reckless driver get away with it. I’m really glad I made the call to Jacoby & Meyers and would suggest anyone hurt in a car crash do the same.”
Review by: Jose V.
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