Commercial trucks and tractor-trailers are ever present on our highways and roadways, which significantly increases the risk for serious and often fatal accidents. In New Jersey alone, the State Police report an average of 2,000 trucking accidents each year that result in approximately 65 fatalities and over 3,000 injuries.
The New Jersey truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan help victims injured in truck accidents navigate through the often-overwhelming legal process, to claim the compensation they are entitled to receive. Our truck accident lawyers understand New Jersey laws, and use our knowledge and experience to seek justice for our clients.
Causes of Truck Accidents
A commercial truck or tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and extend from 25 feet to over 60 feet in length. The sheer weight and size of these vehicles is no match for an average sized passenger truck, van, or car. When accidents involving commercial trucks happen, the injuries to those in passenger vehicles are often serious, and sometimes deadly.
There are many state and federal laws governing the commercial truck industry that are designed to promote safe driving. Drivers are limited in the number of consecutive hours that they can drive, and electronic logs are kept in order to ensure these mandates are met.
Unfortunately, tight delivery schedules and unpredictable weather patterns can sometimes delay drivers that may be tempted to push the clock.
Common causes of truck accidents may include:
Distracted and Drowsy Driving
Driver fatigue and error are two of the most common causes of truck accidents. Cell phone usage and texting are the leading causes of distracted driving. Onboard navigation and infotainment systems take the driver’s eyes off the road in front of them for just a few seconds, which is just enough time to cause a collision. Drowsy driving causes slowed reaction times and increased driver error.
Vehicle Maintenance and Defects
Poor quality tires, worn brake pads, cracked windshields, and failure to properly maintain commercial trucks can result in accidents that leave victims severely injured or permanently disabled.
Defective truck parts can also result in equipment failure. Errors caused by negligence on the production line can lead to defective parts that cause truckers to lose control of their vehicle.
State and federal laws require drivers to ensure their cargo load is properly balanced and secured. When loads shift in transport, accidents can happen as trucks sway or jackknife. Passenger vehicles can be crushed or run off the roadway, which can cause catastrophic injuries.
Improperly secured loads can become loose and sometimes fall off a truck, becoming deadly projectiles for those traveling behind.
The one condition truck drivers cannot control is the weather, but it is their responsibility to pay close attention to present weather conditions and those that they will encounter. Slowing down in hard rain, ice, or snow storms can prevent trucks from sliding or running off the road.
High winds, ice, snow, hail, and freezing rain can wreak havoc on the roadways, and present an enormous hazard for the large and heavy commercial trucks.
Liability in Truck Accidents
Determining liability in a trucking accident can be difficult. The truck driver may be at fault if they were speeding, driving recklessly, engaging in distracted driving, or if they were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The owner of the truck or the company that leased the truck may be held liable if the accident was caused by poor vehicle maintenance, failure to comply with local or federal laws, or if proper working conditions were not enforced. If the truck accident was caused by unsecured or improperly loaded cargo, liability can also fall on those responsible.
The manufacturers of truck parts can be held liable if it is determined that defective products caused the accident. Negligence on the production line can produce mechanical parts with defects that result in equipment failure.
Insurance and trucking companies often battle over who is liable for injuries sustained in truck accidents. For example, a manufacturer blamed for a defective product may then point a finger at the distributor who sold the defective product, who in turn may blame the truck owner for failing to properly inspect the part.
A competent and experienced New Jersey truck accident lawyer familiar with the federal and state laws governing the trucking industry can ensure that your legal rights are protected, and that your best interests are served so you can receive the maximum amount of compensation available.
New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan Advocate for Victims Injured in Truck Accidents
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck accident, the experienced team of New Jersey truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 856-232-5559 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Blackwood, New Jersey and serve clients throughout the state.