New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck Accident Attorneys With Proven Results
In 2017 there were 4,237 fatal crashes in the U.S. involving large trucks and passenger vehicles according to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Overwhelmingly, passengers in cars or other personal vehicles account for these deaths due to simple physics. Trucks can weigh 30 times as much as passenger vehicles, need up to 40% farther to stop and have much greater ground clearance–allowing lower vehicles to slide underneath trailers.
Accidents involving commercial trucks have a very unique set of circumstances, complications and ramifications. Tractor trailers, tanker trucks and other large commercial vehicles such as dump trucks, refrigerator trucks, garbage trucks, heavy haulers, cement mixers and flatbed trucks create very different dynamics in a crash than passenger car accidents.
Jackknifing and ability to pivot— 18-wheelers and many other commercial trucks are articulated vehicles–in other words, they have a joint in between the cab and the trailer. When the driver loses control these kinds of trucks can jackknife causing the cab of the truck to skid in one direction while the trailer goes in another direction.
Center of gravity–because big rigs are much higher than cars the centers of gravity and bumper heights differ–usually to the detriment of the passenger car.
Control differences–trucks accelerate, brake and turn differently under normal driving conditions and speeds. When a truck driver must execute emergency or defensive driving maneuvers, the dangers and risks intensify.
Cargo—unbalanced loads, cargo shifts, liquid cargo surge and improperly secured loads increase the likelihood of the driver losing control, particularly at high speeds, driving up or down steep grades and when turning or braking.
These dynamics increase the physical force and seriousness of a trucking accident. When a truck is operated recklessly, negligently or is not properly maintained, the consequences can be catastrophic to the drivers and passengers of all vehicles in close vicinity.
Drivers in New Jersey frequently must contend with heavy 18 wheeler and other large truck traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstates 287, 95 and 295 and Routes 78 and 80, in addition to many other roadways and suburban, rural and city streets. As the most populated state in the country, our roads are particularly treacherous due to sheer volume and the aggressive driving habits of frustrated drivers.
Causes of New Jersey Truck Accidents
The causes of truck accidents in New Jersey are many, but the most publicized concern is driver fatigue. According to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, truck drivers who stay behind the wheel for more than eight hours are twice as likely to crash–and are more likely to report that they fell asleep behind the wheel.
Other factors include:
- Defective equipment, particularly brakes and poor load balancing or unsecured loads
- Distracted driving caused by texting and other cell phone use
- Unsafe driving such as tailgating, abrupt lane switching, failing to signal, speeding, failure to stay right and failing to yield
- Inclement weather conditions and poor visibility
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers
Keefe Law Firm Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured or lost a family member in a truck or tractor trailer accident, the personal injury lawyers of Keefe Law Firm can help you recover financially and emotionally from this traumatic event. Due to the nature of truck accidents, injuries are often quite serious. Our team of attorneys, paralegals and investigators will gather all the hard facts and evidence to thoroughly support your claim. We go to bat for you with the trucking company, insurance agencies and healthcare organizations such as Medicaid. Our team is relentless in pursuing our clients’ accident claims so that they receive fair and just compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and/or reduced earning capacity
- Car damage or total loss
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Due to the special factors of an accident involving any type of commercial truck, any attorney handling such as a case must thoroughly understand the federal and state laws and regulations that govern trucking companies and their drivers. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates every trucking company and truck driver in the United States. FMCSA regulations control everything from driver hours, training, medical requirements and drug and alcohol testing to vehicle maintenance and beyond. Keefe Law Firm’s truck accident lawyers are well-versed in FMCSA regulations and know how to find critical evidence to support a truck accident victim’s case. Keefe Law Firm’s attorneys, paralegals and investigators know the ins and outs of handling trucking accidents, whether negotiating with insurance companies or litigating cases in court. Our entire team is dedicating to getting the best possible results for our clients so that they can get their lives back.
Truck Accident FAQs
How to file a claim after a truck accident in New Jersey
Step 1 – Get Help Call, or ensure that someone else calls 911. All of those involved should seek a safe place to wait for the police and emergency services. It is important that you stay at the accident site until the police clear you to leave or you are being transported a hospital.
Step 2 – Gather Evidence from the Accident Scene If you are unhurt, and if it is safe to do so, take photos or video of all of the damages including the vehicles, victims, and nearby structures. If your vehicle has to be towed, make sure you know where it is going and check to ensure it will not be tampered with or destroyed. Get the contact information for the truck driver, responding police officer, and any witnesses of your truck accident. Be sure to obtain a police report, which should be available in 10 working days from the date of the accident.
Step 3 – Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney Without an experienced truck crash lawyer’s counsel in the claims process, you could unknowingly undermine your claim and risk your right to the full compensation to which you are entitled. Not every personal injury attorney is experienced in truck accidents– make sure he or she has handled truck cases and understands Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
Step 4 – Contact Your Insurance Company You do need to inform your insurance company if you have been in an accident, but be careful about how much you tell them. Giving too much information to an insurance company could allow them to devalue or even deny your claim. Make sure you only give the insurance adjusters the information your attorney advises you to release. If anything seems questionable, get the advice of your lawyer before answering the adjuster.
Step 5 – Follow Up with All Correspondence and Medical Care While your lawyer will handle much of the dealings with the insurance companies, you’ll still want to be diligent in relaying all of their communications to your attorney. Do not answer any insurance-related correspondence before talking to your lawyer. Also, make sure you keep up with all medical appointments and treatments. If you fail to follow your doctors’ orders for therapy, procedures or appointments, the insurance company could hold that against you.
What it costs to file a truck accident claim or lawsuit
What to do if you are in a trucking accident
What happens next after I file a truck accident claim
Keefe Law Firm’s team of truck accident lawyers and investigators immediately obtain the driver’s logs and all maintenance and employment records and do a complete inspection of the accident scene and involved vehicles. We also conduct in-depth personal interviews with all witnesses. This evidence gathering helps determine if the driver and/or carrier violated local, state or federal safety regulations or traffic laws. We also consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals to substantiate the nature and severity of your injuries, their treatment and the cost of past, present and future medical expenses. This information, along with detailed estimates of lost wages and benefits, property damage and punitive factors are used to calculate the total amount of compensation needed to ensure that you or surviving family members are fairly compensated and that your future needs will be cared for. If the trucking company or their insurer refuses to offer a settlement that adequately compensates you for all injuries and losses, Keefe Law Firm’s truck accident lawyers will bring your case to trial and relentlessly litigate on your behalf until justice is served.
Injured In A Truck Accident? Our Lawyers Will Provide A Free Case Evaluation
Keefe Law Firm’s personal injury team is among the nation’s most accomplished in truck crash accident cases. Do not hesitate to reach out and discuss your case with a Keefe Law Firm lawyer today.