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Commercial Truck Accidents: The Bad, the Not So Good, and the Ugly
An accident of any kind is bad enough. However, a crash involving a commercial truck is often devastating beyond belief. Imagine driving home one night on the New Jersey Turnpike. You are traveling in the center lane when an 18-wheeler truck in the right lane begins to move into your lane without signaling. The truck driver evidently does not see your car. Before you can react and either slow down or get out the way by changing into the far left lane, the truck enters your path and sideswipes your vehicle.
The impact of the collision forces you to swerve off the road and onto the shoulder before you crash into a guardrail. You sustain serious injuries, and your car is totaled. You shudder when you think how lucky you were to even survive such enormous impact.
When a passenger vehicle collides with a large commercial truck, the consequences can be unimaginable. The size and weight of 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, tractor trailers, and similar trucks will cause a severe collision for an automobile and increase the chances of serious or fatal injuries and property damage. In effect, the crash will wreak havoc in seconds.
Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
New Jersey has a large network of crowded state and interstate highways that require passenger cars to share the road with commercial drivers. Without question, big rig operators are often pressured to meet deadlines. As a result, accidents can, unfortunately, happen when a large truck and automobile cross paths on the roadways.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,317 fatalities in 2016 in crashes involving large trucks. This represented the highest level of large truck crash deaths since 2007.
Commercial truck accidents can occur for various reasons. These can include truck driver negligence, equipment malfunction, and improper truck loading.
Truck driver error is one of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents. Common examples of issues that contribute to tractor-trailer crashes include:
- Driver fatigue
- Driving while distracted
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Merging and changing lanes without looking
- Speeding, tailgating, or aggressive driving
- Road rage
Poor vehicle maintenance and defective equipment may also be the cause of an accident. Faulty brakes, transmission failure, or an improperly inflated tire can cause a truck to break down or not function properly and cause a catastrophic highway collision.
The trucking company may be held directly liable for violating any state and federal regulations. This includes restrictions on driver hours of service and time spent driving in bad weather. Trucking companies are also in breach if their drivers do not possess a commercial driver’s license or haven’t received proper driver training.
Failure to load truck cargo properly due to rushing can also be a possible cause of an accident. If a truck is overloaded, it can lead to a tire blow out or make stopping more difficult. If cargo is not secured, it can fall from the truck bed. Or if the cargo is distributed improperly, a truck could tip over onto its side or roof and become a danger to oncoming cars.
If you have been injured after being struck by a commercial truck, you could sustain injuries such as back injuries, broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord damage, burns, disfigurement or scarring, and amputation.
Contact a New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were in an accident with a commercial truck, you should contact an experienced attorney at once. If a loved one died in such a crash, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law is familiar with the New Jersey commercial trucking laws and can help you to secure compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation.