Commercial trucks may cause devastating injuries. Often, these injuries are sustained by multiple people involved in an accident. The truck driver, meanwhile, may walk away without a scratch. If you are injured in a truck crash, you should retain an experienced New Jersey truck accident attorney to handle your case. Trucks are heavily regulated by both federal and state regulations. Due to these safety regulations, truck accident litigation has some significant differences from car accident cases. Your injury lawyer will need to handle it carefully and with skill to avoid the loss of crucial evidence and the possibility of not recovering damages if you suffer catastrophic and permanently disabling injuries.Seeking Compensation From a Negligent Truck Driver or Trucking Company
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulate interstate truck drivers, trucking companies, and the industry as a whole. New Jersey also has regulations that apply at the state level. In New Jersey, commercial truck drivers who drive a vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds must carry a commercial driver's license by passing certain tests. The truck needs to display certain information that can assist a victim after an accident, including corporate identification numbers and a primary place of business.
Most accidents arise out of the negligence of one or more drivers, and even in complex cases, it is most likely that the defendants will be the drivers. In a truck accident case, the truck driver may be at fault. To establish their liability, you will need to show that the truck driver failed to use reasonable care and that this failure contributed to your injuries. A truck driver may also be held negligent per se, or negligent as a matter of law, if a violation of one of the many safety regulations that they must follow was a legal cause of your injuries, and the injuries are of the type that the safety regulation was designed to forestall.
For example, truck drivers are required to follow rules about hours of service to guard against fatigued driving and ensure that they have time to rest. A truck driver who breaks those rules and drives for too long without a break is more likely to get into an accident. You may have grounds to sue under a theory of negligence per se, for example, if a truck driver broke the hours of service rules and fell asleep at the wheel, and this was the cause of the accident that resulted in your injuries.
Truck accident cases are distinctive in that you may also have grounds to sue a trucking company with the assistance of a truck accident lawyer in New Jersey. Usually, the driver is not the owner of the truck. The trucking company, a lessor of the trucking company, or a third-party contractor may be the owner of the truck. Like drivers, moreover, trucking companies are heavily regulated. You may be able to sue a trucking company under a theory of vicarious liability if the driver is an employee who was in the course and scope of employment while negligently driving. You may also have grounds to sue the trucking company for its independent negligence, such as its negligence in hiring, training, or supervising the driver. You may be able to hold a third party liable for the truck accident as well.
However, it may be challenging to establish negligence in a truck accident case because trucking defendants, as well as their insurers and defense attorneys, may be quick to try to blame accident victims. New Jersey follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. If a jury finds that you were more than 50% at fault for an accident, you may be prevented from recovering damages. Even if you were less than 50% responsible for an accident, your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your proportion of fault.Retain a Truck Accident Attorney in New Jersey
If you are hurt in a tractor-trailer crash, you should retain an aggressive trial lawyer. At the Grimes Law Firm, we provide knowledgeable counsel and representation to victims seeking a motor vehicle collision attorney in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Contact us online or call us at (908) 371-1066 to schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey truck accident lawyer.