Truckers overwhelmingly provide a vital service, moving more than 70 percent of agriculture, fuel, and other goods across the country, as well as keeping the wheels of commerce rolling. However, these large, heavy commercial vehicles also pose a great risk to other motorists on the road when truckers and their employers do not follow the strict regulations that are in place to help lessen the occurrence of accidents. The results of a semi-truck colliding with a passenger vehicle are often devastating.
As an injured motorist, you may have many questions regarding what steps you should take following an accident with a tractor-trailer or other large truck. Let our experienced personal injury attorneys take the lead in handling all the legal details so you can focus on what matters most – getting back on your feet. Our Woodbridge truck accident lawyers have the resources to fight these powerful trucking companies and their insurers and the compassionate service to be your ally throughout every step.
Common Truck Accidents in New Jersey
Truckers must earn commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) to drive big rigs across New Jersey or the rest of the country. They must meet specific age and health requirements and pass a series of written and practical driving tests. They are also bound by federal laws that preclude them from driving long hours without breaks. Despite these safety practices and more, accidents still happen, often due to negligence. Common types of semi-truck wrecks include:
Overloaded/overweight wrecks occur because additional weight wears out truck parts more quickly, braking is more difficult, and stuffed trailers change the center of gravity, risking rollovers or otherwise losing control of the vehicle.
A jackknife crash happens when a commercial truck’s wheels lose traction and lock up, causing truckers to brake the cab but not the trailer. The trailer then skids and swings sideways, resulting in the cab facing the back of the truck instead of forward.
Also known as no-zone accidents, a blind-spot collision occurs when a motorist is struck by a semi-truck while driving within an area of poor driver visibility. These areas are typically located directly in front of, behind, and to each side of a truck.
Side-impact or T-bone accidents usually occur at high speed when the trucker cannot stop before broadsiding a motorist. These crashes get their name because when the front of the truck strikes the side of the passenger vehicle, it forms the letter “T.”
A highly-trained Woodbridge attorney can investigate the details of a commercial vehicle collision to determine its cause and who may be held responsible for the damages.
Driving Limits for Long-Haul Truckers
Many negligent actions can cause a truck accident. Some of these include distracted driving, driving under the influence, speeding, failure to yield, and a lack of proper vehicle maintenance. For long-haul truckers, fatigue is one of the most common causes of accidents.
In an attempt to cut down on the number of commercial vehicle wrecks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces federal rules for the number of hours a trucker can drive. Truckers hauling goods are limited to 14 consecutive hours after reporting for work. These on-duty hours include loading and unloading cargo, doing paperwork, and inspecting vehicles for maintenance issues.
Truckers can continue to work past the fourteenth hour if they take at least 10 hours off duty before driving again. Drivers can go up to 11 hours following ten consecutive hours off duty. Additionally, the law prohibits drivers from hitting the road for more than eight hours without taking at least a 30-minute rest break. These hours must be kept in an updated and accurate log to ensure compliance. An experienced Woodbridge truck crash attorney can request a review of these logs after a collision to determine whether fatigue could have been the cause of the event and, if so, utilize this information as evidence to establish liability.
When Can a Trucking Company Be Held Liable?
Trucking companies can be vicariously liable for the actions of their employees while they are performing their jobs. The FMCSA employs strict regulations for operating and maintaining trucks and hiring and training truckers. Trucking companies that fail to conduct background checks and drug tests, or scrimp on training, can be held liable for negligence.
Discuss Your Case With a Woodbridge Truck Accident Attorney
When you are involved in a commercial truck accident, you will most likely face a long recovery and extensive medical bills. If the trucker or trucking company acted negligently, causing your accident, they should compensate you for your losses.
Our team offers you the best of both worlds; a large law firm with many resources and success stories, with a small firm feel, taking the time to listen and advocate for you as a friend. Let a Woodbridge truck accident lawyer from Fredson Statmore Bitterman, LLC fight to maximize your settlement. Contact us today.