The mass and velocity of semi-trucks can lead to devastating, sometimes life-threatening, injuries when an accident occurs. Yet, commercial trucks transport millions of goods on U.S. highways each day, making the occasional accident almost unavoidable. A semi-truck pulling an empty trailer weighs approximately 35,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle weighs between 2,750 and 4,000 pounds. This difference makes semi-truck accidents especially hazardous. In severe accidents, the financial costs add up quickly. An attorney can help you file a semi-truck accident claim, but first we need to find out who is liable for your semi-truck accident.
Our team at Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., has over three decades of experience representing victims injured in New Jersey truck accidents. We know what it takes to secure a favorable outcome in your case. Contact our office today to discuss how you file an accident claim against a semi-truck in New Jersey.
Semi-Truck Accidents in New Jersey: An Overview
In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported approximately 159,000 injuries were sustained in crashes involving large trucks, causing 5,005 fatalities. Semi-truck accident injuries decreased to 146,930, and fatalities decreased to 4,965 in 2020. Nationwide, an average of 8.9 percent of vehicles involved in fatal crashes were semi-trucks. In New Jersey, an average of 6.6 percent of vehicles involved in deadly crashes were semi-trucks.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a semi-truck accident in New Jersey, contact an attorney at Glugeth & Pierguidi today to discuss your case. A member of our team will review the details of your semi-truck accident and determine if you qualify to file a claim.
Who Is Liable for Damages After a Truck Accident?
When you file an accident claim against a semi-truck in New Jersey, you need to know who is responsible for the accident to determine who is liable for your injuries. Semi-truck accidents present unique challenges that do not always arise in typical car accident cases. In many cases, the truck driver does not own the truck they operate. Instead, they work for a shipping or trucking company that hires drivers to transport goods throughout the country. Depending on the cause of your accident, different parties may bear different levels of responsibility.
When Can I File a Claim Against a Truck Driver?
In most automobile accident cases, one driver files a lawsuit against the other driver to recover their losses. You might be able to file a lawsuit against a truck driver if their negligence caused the accident. Behaviors that may indicate a driver was negligent include:
- Texting while driving,
- Disobeying traffic laws,
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Eating while driving, or
- Driving recklessly.
If the truck driver was on duty during the accident, you can likely sue them only in their official capacity as an employee. But this is just as well since a truck driver, as an individual, is not likely to have the resources to compensate you for your losses.
If a truck driver caused a semi-truck accident that resulted in your injuries, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Our team can walk you through the requirements for filing a New Jersey accident claim against a semi-truck driver.
When Can I File a Claim Against a Truck or Shipping Company?
In some cases, you can file suit against the truck or shipping company that employs the driver. Semi-trucks and trailers are often owned by a shipping or trucking company that hires drivers to transport the goods. Therefore, any issues stemming from improper maintenance of the truck itself could fall on the company, not the truck driver. Proper maintenance of trucks prevents issues like defective brakes or broken brake lights that lead to hundreds of accidents yearly.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes regulations designed to reduce the number of truck drivers driving while drowsy. Examples of FMCSA regulations include a prohibition on driving more than 11 consecutive hours and a mandatory 30-minute break for every 8 hours of driving. Trucking companies may not disregard these regulations or encourage their employees to disobey them. Despite the regulations, many trucking companies incentivize long hours and high-mileage quotas to improve profits. Proof of a company influencing or encouraging a truck driver to violate FMCSA regulations could make the company liable in the event of a collision.
Additionally, trucking companies employing drivers must ensure that the drivers meet the necessary qualifications. For example, drivers need to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to legally operate a semi-truck. If a trucking company hired a truck driver without a valid CDL and the driver caused an accident, the company may bear some responsibility for the decision to hire an unqualified driver.
Why Should I File a Claim After a Truck Accident?
Victims who survive semi-truck collisions often need significant medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover from injuries. These expenses, along with other costs such as:
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earning capacity,
- Vehicle repair costs, and
- Psychological treatment.
A truck accident lawsuit can help you recover these expenses and hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence. We will present proof of your losses to the opposing party’s insurance company and make sure any settlement offer fully reimburses you.
Contact Our Office to Discuss Filing a Semi-Truck Accident Claim in New Jersey
Our team has recovered millions of dollars for clients injured in semi-truck accidents. We can review the details of your case and help determine which party is responsible for your financial losses. An attorney at Glugeth & Pierguidi can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and secure a fair settlement offer. Contact our office online or by phone today to schedule a free initial consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.