New Jersey Truck and 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys
A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Consequently, the ability of trucks to maneuver on the highway is limited by their size and speed, and the driver’s ability to see other vehicles. In fact, it can take a fully loaded truck traveling at 55 mph up to 200 feet to stop and 450 feet if the brakes are hot. Trucks also need extra space to execute turns, often veering into an oncoming lane to negotiate intersections and turns. When speeding, driver fatigue, or improper training is added to the mix, negligence on the part of a truck driver can have fatal consequences.
Due to the inherent size of 18-wheeler’s, when one is involved in an accident, the people in the other car are usually the ones who suffer the most. At the personal injury law office of the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, our New Jersey truck accident attorneys understand how to investigate truck accidents and prove negligence on the part of truck drivers. We collect evidence from accident scenes, interview witnesses, inspect a truck driver’s logbook, collect fuel receipts, and analyze the contents of a truck’s on-board data recorder and GPS systems. We understand how to expose driver error on the part of truck drivers and hold them financially accountable for the injuries and fatalities they cause.
Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents
At the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, Todd Leonard has been committed to providing outstanding representation for over 25 years concerning all types of trucking accidents. We know you may be suffering, so we fight to protect your rights and assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve in your time of need.
Some of the most common injuries individuals face after devastating truck accidents can include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Head Trauma
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Quadriplegia
- Wrongful Death
Trucking companies are under pressure to deliver cargo faster and cheaper. In order to meet customer demand, tired truck drivers, improperly loaded semis and poorly trained new employees can be put on the road. It’s important to remember the trucking industry is regulated by a number of state and federal laws governing everything, including the licensing of truck drivers, how many hours they can drive in a day, vehicle upkeep, markings, and under-riding bars that must be affixed to trucks.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed driver fatigue is a factor in 30 to 40 percent of all truck accidents. In an effort to combat the problem, the U. S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reduced the maximum number of hours a driver can work by 12 hours, and they require drivers to take a break of at least 30 minutes after working 8 hours. Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with these regulations as of July 1, 2013.
When truck accidents happen, it’s often easy enough to determine how fast a truck is going and whether or not a truck driver exceeded his or her allotment of allowable drive-time hours. While trucking companies train their drivers in what to do and say in order to avoid fault after a truck accident, there are a number of ways to determine if a truck driver violated certain state and federal regulations. When it becomes clear that violations occurred, it’s difficult for truck drivers to shift fault and blame onto other motorists for causing a truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck drivers have a legal duty to operate their commercial trucks, big rigs, or 18-wheelers carefully at all times, since they pose a significant risk to others if they become involved in an accident. Truck drivers must constantly be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution, knowing the potential danger trucks have to other vehicles.
This is why even the slightest mistake, such as failing to turn on the signal to indicate a lane change or having a broken brake light, can have devastating consequences for trucks traveling on the road. This can be particularly true when the trucker is driving in a high-traffic zone.
Liability & Trucking Accidents
Who is to blame in a truck accident? This is a point of contention between defense counselors, insurance companies, and the injury victim’s attorneys. There are many factors to assess following a truck accident when determining who is liable for the crash. It is very important to conduct a full analysis into the truck driver’s safety record, as well as question whether or not the truck involved in the accident received regular maintenance. We can determine whether or not the vehicle had worn out brakes or improperly-maintained auto parts. In certain cases, the truck driver may not have had the appropriate amount of sleep required under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations laws, commonly known as FMCSR. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Abrupt lane changes
- Merging improperly into oncoming traffic
- Driving between large trucks
- Improper judgment of a truck’s speed
- Making an abrupt left turn in front of a truck
- Failing to adjust speed when a truck is merging or changing lanes
- Unsafely passing another truck or vehicle
- Driving in a “No-Zone,” which is the area of a truck where the driver has very little or limited visibility
- Driver fatigue
- A poorly maintained truck
- Inadequate training
All commercial truck drivers and the companies who employ them are bound to adhere to the law, including Federal and State regulations. Our New Jersey injury attorneys are committed to doing our best to properly evaluate every facet of your case to determine fault. For certain cases, we will hire accident reconstructionists and trucking experts to establish liability. Many truck accident cases will require litigation to prove your case and it is vitally important to have a highly skilled New Jersey truck accident attorney on your side.
Contact A New Jersey Truck and 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in a trucking accident, you may be feeling distressed and unsure of what to do. Recovery from your injuries can take significant time and be incredibly costly. At the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, our New Jersey truck accident lawyers can help you determine who was responsible for your accident and work hard to fight for compensation on behalf of our clients. We have more than 25 years of experience helping people recover from situations similar to yours and are prepared to put our extensive knowledge to work for you. Call us at (973) 920-7900 for a free consultation.