Newark Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are monumental life events that devastate victims and their families from the day of the accident to well beyond. Regardless of the type or size of a truck, it will be at least double the weight and size of a passenger vehicle. Large semi-trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded and a medium-sized car weighs somewhere around 3,500 pounds. When a truck and passenger vehicle collide, the increased weight creates a larger force upon impact, resulting in more property damage, more severe injuries, and higher chances of fatality than other types of traffic collisions.
If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident in Newark or the surrounding area as a result of negligence or intentional harm, New Jersey law permits you to take legal action against the party who caused you harm. The Newark truck accident lawyers from Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, are here to assist you in the wake of a truck accident. Contact us today at (973) 643-2707 for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your accident and injuries, and to help devise the best strategy for your case.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Results in Truck Accident Cases
The award-winning legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has four decades of experience in the negotiation, settlement, and litigation of personal injury cases, including those involving truck accidents. The firm’s commitment to client service and passion for professional excellence has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients.
In a recent tractor-trailer accident case, our client was the passenger in a car waiting at a red light. The truck driver made an improper wide turn, hit the corner of the car, and fled the scene of the accident. The driver in our client’s vehicle followed the truck to the next light and got all identifying information. Our client suffered neck pain and lower back pain, had to undergo neck surgery, and have doctors insert a pain management device in his lower back. We ultimately settled the case for $2.5 million.
This is only an example and does not guarantee any results in a particular case. Your truck accident and injuries involve distinctive characteristics that will ultimately determine their value; however, we will aggressively pursue the best outcome possible for your circumstances.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
All types of traffic collisions can lead to injury or fatality, but certain types of accidents are strongly associated with trucks. Common types of truck accidents on New Jersey’s roads include:
- Head-on collisions. When passenger vehicles and trucks collide head-on, the injuries are often severe, and sometimes fatal. If a trucker loses control of their vehicle because he is fatigued, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or distracted by one of many things, he can swerve into the lane of oncoming traffic and cause a head-on collision. Mechanical problems can also lead to a trucker losing control of his vehicle.
- Rear-end collisions. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it takes a semi-truck the length of two football fields to stop when they are traveling 65 miles per hour, much greater stopping distance than a smaller vehicle. When truckers are distracted or tailgating the vehicle in front of them, they risk causing severe rear-end crashes.
- Jackknife accidents. A jackknife accident occurs with trucks who have trailers that connect at a pivot point to the cab. When a trucker hits the brakes too hard or uses their engine brake at the wrong time, he can cause his trailer to skid and turn along the pivot point until it lies perpendicular to the cab, causing a jackknife. When this type of accident blocks traffic, or causes a truck to slide into the path of oncoming traffic, severe and fatal collisions might occur.
- Rollover accidents. These dangerous accidents occur when a truck driver loses control of their vehicle; tire blowouts are the most common cause of a rollover truck accident. Depending on where a rollover happens, a truck might crush one or more nearby vehicles, or block traffic causing a multi-vehicle crash that can result in dangerous and potentially fatal injuries.
- Underride collisions. An underride collision is a type of rear-end crash that can only occur when a large semi and much smaller vehicle collide. Small vehicles who might be distracted or following too closely can get stuck under the trailer when they rear-end a semi. The car then rides under the trailer until it breaks away or the trucker stops. Most underride crashes cause death and present real challenges for insurance companies and courts trying to determine liability.
- Cargo spills. Trucking companies, their truckers, and their other employees are tasked with loading trucks securely and carefully, so a load doesn’t shift during transport. When someone drops the ball and doesn’t secure the freight, cargo might wind up all over the road putting all nearby vehicles at risk for a multi-vehicle collision.
Causes of Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the U.S. agency that oversees the trucking industry, collects data on all truck crashes in the United States. While many different situations might result in a truck crash, the FMCSA reports the following driver behaviors as the most common driver-related causes for truck crashes:
- Driving while distracted. Any activity that takes a trucker’s hands off the wheel, mind off driving, or eyes away from the road can be a distraction that leads to a severe or fatal accident. The most common driver distractions are using a cell phone, programming a GPS, eating, drinking, reaching for a fallen item, personal grooming, and daydreaming. Although engaging in these behaviors are dangerous, most of them are legal. Truck drivers, however, cannot use cell phones unless they are hands-free, or they are violating a federal regulation.
- Driving while fatigued. We depend on trucks to transport the goods we need throughout the nation. Truckers must work long hours, sometimes driving overnight to get to their destination. Even when they take mandatory breaks, they might still be drowsy or fatigued. In fact, the FMCSA warns that drivers who go without sleep for 18 hours have the same level of impairment as a driver with a 0.08 blood alcohol level. When fatigued or drowsy drivers nod off for a few seconds or fall asleep at the wheel, nearby motorists are in danger of being injured or killed in a truck accident.
- Driving under the influence. Truck drivers aren’t known for using drugs and alcohol when they drive because of the strict random testing policies implemented by the FMSCA. Truckers are also held to a higher standard than the average motorist; the legal alcohol limit for a commercial driver is 0.04 BAC. Yet, some drivers still abuse drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the stress of their demanding job. Drivers who consume alcohol, take illegal drugs, or fail to follow directions on prescription drugs risk causing treacherous and potentially fatal accidents because their ability to judge time and distance was impaired.
- Speeding. According to the FMSCA, more than 30 percent of all fatal truck accidents involve drivers who were speeding. The massive weight of a large truck turns it into a deadly weapon when traveling at high speeds. Excess speed makes it more difficult for a driver to stop or make maneuvers, and overall more difficult to control a truck. Traveling too fast for conditions can also be dangerous, especially in inclement weather. Unfortunately, the danger of speeding doesn’t stop some rushed truckers from going as fast as their truck will let them.
- Following too closely. Rushed truck drivers might also follow other vehicles too closely. Driver Eeducation instructors teach new drivers to leave a two-second gap between them and the vehicle in front. The FMSCA suggests truckers leave a four-second gap to allow for the extra time and distance it takes to stop. When it’s snowing, raining, sleeting, or road conditions are poor, the FMSCA recommends truck drivers leave up to an eight-second gap to avoid causing a rear-end collision with the vehicle in front of them.
Liable Parties in New Jersey Truck Accidents
Truck accident cases are sometimes complicated and might include more than one defendant. If you bring a lawsuit against those who caused you harm, you might name one or more of the following as defendants:
- Truck driver. When truckers don’t follow the rules of the road and drive while fatigued, distracted, or after drinking or using drugs, they put all others with whom they share the road at risk for accident and injury, and might be liable for damages if an accident occurs.
- Trucking company. The owner of the truck, which is often a trucking company, but can be the driver, can be partially or fully liable for a truck collision depending on the situation. The trucking company/owner is responsible for hiring and training qualified drivers and maintaining trucks so they are safe for the road. When companies don’t uphold these duties, they might be liable for a truck accident.
- Other driver. Careless drivers in other vehicles can also be liable for a truck accident, especially if they break one or more traffic rules and cause a truck driver to lose control of his rig, leading to a dangerous accident.
- Truck manufacturer. If truck manufacturers, or truck part manufacturers, sell defective trucks or parts that cause a mechanical failure that leads to an accident, they might be liable for the accident and injuries. In fact, any party involved with a truck’s chain of distribution might be liable depending on the specifics of the defect.
- The state of New Jersey, Essex County, or the city of Newark. Government entities can be held liable in a New Jersey court if a truck accident is a consequence of poorly maintained roads, poor road design, or malfunctioning traffic control devices.
Recovering Damages After a Newark Truck Accident
If you have suffered injuries in a Newark truck accident and decide to sue the at-fault party to recover damages, you might receive compensation for the following losses incurred as a result of your accident and injury:
- Medical expenses such as ambulance service, emergency department services, hospital stay, surgery, radiology, medication, and aftercare
- Future medical expenses when a truck accident leads to a severe injury or permanent disability requiring indefinite, ongoing care
- Rehabilitation expenses for visits with physical therapists, occupational therapists, or others who can help restore lost function or teach how to adapt to permanent injuries.
- Lost wages for time away from work as a result of a truck accident, treatment, and recovery
- Lost future wages when an injury prevents a truck accident victim from going back to work
- Non-economic damages such as loss of consortium with a spouse, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and others that might apply to a particular case.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP,: Your Newark Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have sustained injuries in a truck accident in or around the Newark, New Jersey area as a result of a negligent trucker, trucking company, or third party, you deserve full compensation for your injuries. With more than 40 years of experience, the skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, knows how to handle insurance companies and the complexities of truck accident cases. We can guide you through the lawsuit process while you focus on healing from your injuries.
If you were injured in the Newark area, contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, online, visit our Newark office at 50 Park Place, Suite 101, or call our Newark office at (973) 643-2707 for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances of your truck accident and your injuries.
One of our truck accident lawyers can determine the likelihood of your eligibility for compensation and advise you on the best path forward. Remember, nobody should have to navigate the legal system alone, particularly when they are recovering from a serious accident. A trusted advocate can help ensure the best possible outcome for your case, and allow you to focus on what really matters: your family, your career, and your recovery.