New Jersey is crisscrossed by major highways comprising the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstate 95, Interstate 195, Interstate 278, and many other major interstates and state roads that are used by major shipping companies and commercial truckers every day of the year. While more often than not a semi-truck or 18-wheeler passes through our state without issue, there is always the risk of being involved in an accident with one of these massive, heavy vehicles, which can put you and your passengers are significant risk of catastrophic injuries, or even death.
Commercial truck drivers are held to much higher licensing and regulatory standards, fortunately, which is intended to ensure that there is an increased level of safety on the roads, and that truck drivers are capable of handling the complicated, dangerous rigs that they drive long distances across our country every day. While truck drivers are extremely trustworthy and safe, though, there is no amount of regulation that can ensure that they will never be involved in an accident, nor can it ensure that they will never be the cause of an accident.
Contact Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers LLP Today For a Free Initial Consultation After a New Jersey Truck Accident
After any accident, the process of filing an insurance claim, getting medical care, managing the impacts to your earnings, and all of the other complications that come along with this type of situation can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying to work with a massive commercial insurance company following a truck accident. Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer is one of the best ways to get the support that you deserve while increasing your chances of a fair settlement and reducing the amount of stress that you must take on as the victim.
Contact the team at Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers LLP as soon as possible to connect with a qualified attorney during an initial consultation, where we will be able to discuss the specifics of your accident and give you a better sense of how we can help you fight to get the money you deserve. Read more below for a general idea of truck accident claims in New Jersey, and request your consultation now so that we can begin working on your case as soon as possible.
Filing an Accident Claim Against a Commercial Insurance Policy After a Truck Accident
Filing an insurance claim is actually a fairly straightforward process – it’s what goes on behind the scenes that is truly complicated, and what you benefit most from having the support of an attorney while dealing with. Commercial insurance policies typically have limits in excess of $1 million, which is far higher than personal insurance policies typically have, but the complications happen when you try to actually get the money that you deserve.
In order to determine fault after a trucking accident, there are a lot of different factors that you will need to look at, many of which are available in the form of charts, logs, and tracking data because extensive record-keeping that truck drivers are required to do. However, trying to make sense of all of this information typically requires the help of someone who understands how this record-keeping works, what sort of information is relevant to your case, and more. Luckily, your attorney will be able to take care of this process for you.
From the moment you file an insurance claim, whether it is with a passenger vehicle policy or a commercial trucking policy, the insurance company immediately goes into action to find all of the possible ways that they can pin additional blame on you so that they can reduce their own financial burden while settling the case. This means that anything you say to them will be examined and, if possible, used as a way to indicate that you admitted to more fault than you think you are responsible for, diminishing the impacts of your injuries, and otherwise downplaying your damages to save money.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in New Jersey
Truck drivers are typically extremely responsible, but they are human, meaning that the common causes of truck accidents are nearly identical to passenger vehicle accidents, except for a few exceptions.
All vehicles are susceptible to maintenance issues, but a long-haul trucker will drive over 100,000 miles each year while carrying heavy loads, meaning that their vehicles require constant attention and nearly continuous maintenance and inspection routines. Depending on whether the driver owns their vehicle or works for a company, the driver or someone else may be responsible for this maintenance, which may mean that the liable party isn’t necessarily the driver. Maintenance issues can lead to things like brake failures, tire blowouts, and any other number of mechanical failures on these complicated and massive vehicles.
Improper Cargo Loading or Storage
Many truck drivers are simply responsible for their truck, and work with shipping warehouses who load the trailers for the trucker to transport. In other cases, the truck driver may actually load their cargo as well as transport it, or at least be responsible for ensuring that the loading is done properly. Regardless, proper loading is an extremely important issue for trucking because of the possibility of contents shifting, getting tossed from the flatbed or trailer, causing rollovers, and much more. When a truck is hauling a heavier load than the vehicle is rated for, this can cause brake failures, jackknife accidents, and much more.
Tired driving is not a unique issue with truck drivers, but when a driver is on the road for 40+ hours a week, the risk may be higher than someone who commutes to and from their work. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict hours of service that dictate the hours in a day, week, and other time ranges that a driver may operate a vehicle, as well as clear rest periods, but this is no certainty that a driver will not be tired behind the wheel, much as nearly everyone has been tired at work due to issues that were not related to work.
Other Causes of Truck Accidents in New Jersey
The following are some more causes of truck accidents that are not unique to 18-wheelers and semi-trucks, and are instead common causes of all types of accidents:
- Texting and driving
- Operating a truck under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving