Essex County Truck Accident Claims

essex truck accidentsA collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle can have serious consequences, and it is typically the passengers of the smaller vehicle who sustain the most damage. These accidents are handled differently than other car accident matters due to the nature of the commercial vehicles that are involved.

Contributing Characteristics of Big Trucks

Large trucks that haul commercial loads go by many different names. Commercial truck, 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, semi-truck and big rig are some labels commonly used. These large vehicles can be extremely dangerous if they are not operated properly. Some of the potentially dangerous characteristics of these vehicles are:

  • Weight – Fully loaded tractor-trailers may weigh more than 80,000 pounds.
  • Stopping distance – Large trucks require far more time to stop than a passenger vehicle.
  • Difficult maneuverability – Semis need more space to turn corners, change lanes and execute other maneuvers that small autos accomplish easily.
  • Driver Visibility – The size of these trucks leads to large blind spots, a danger which can be exacerbated by heavy traffic congestion.
  • Driver fatigue – Long range truck drivers often drive for extraordinarily long periods of time with little to no sleep, leading to driver fatigue behind the wheel. This can impact their attentiveness and reaction time.

Strict Trucking Industry Regulations

The federal government has implemented strict regulations in overseeing the trucking industry. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are the main governing bodies in this regard. New Jersey also regulates truckers and their employers on a state level. These laws and regulations address and regulate the following areas and activities:

  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Hours of service
  • Size and weight standards
  • Duty logs/record keeping
  • Insurance coverage requirements
  • Cargo
  • Speed limits
  • Passable roadways and truck routes

A failure to adhere to these standards that results in an accident may be evidential on the issue of liability in a personal injury action.

Who is to Blame

When disaster strikes in the form of a passenger vehicle collision with a large truck, determining who bears legal responsibility often hinges on the status of the truck driver. Under the common law doctrine of respondeat superior, employers are typically responsible for the actions of their employees while they are performing their job duties. Therefore, if the driver is an employee, and the accident occurred while he was on duty, then his employer will likely be liable for the damages and injuries sustained in the accident. Other parties may also be responsible, possibly including:

  • Non-employee Driver
  • Truck cab/trailer owners
  • Owner of the cargo/freight
  • Truck leasing company
  • Truck and parts manufacturers
  • Distributors/Vendors of trucks and parts
  • Third-party garages and maintenance companies
  • Freight Loader
  • Parts installers

Serious Truck Accident Injuries in Essex County

Damages sustained in these accidents are often severe and life-altering, and can include one or more of the following injuries:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Paraplegia/Quadriplegia
  • Broken bones
  • Amputation
  • Severe Burns
  • PTSD
  • Death

Victims of these collisions in Essex County who have sustained serious injuries, or lost a loved one, may be able to recover compensation through a legal claim or lawsuit. These are complex matters, and litigants will benefit from the assistant of an experienced Truck Accident Personal Injury Lawyer.  If you have any questions regarding a possible truck injury matter, contact us for a free and confidential consultation.