East Brunswick Truck Accident Lawyer

truck accidents

Commercial trucks account for a relatively small number of the total vehicles on the roadway. But they are involved in a disproportionate number of serious injuries and fatal collisions. According to the National Safety Council, “In 2022, 5,837 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, an 1.8% increase from 2021 and a 49% increase in the last 10 years. The involvement rate per 100 million large-truck miles traveled is up 3% from 2021, and up 24% in the last 10 years.” Pedestrians and those in smaller vehicles tend to be at the greatest risk.

It is common for truck accidents to completely upend victims’ lives as they attempt to recover. This is one of the reasons it is so important to seek the advice of a skilled attorney after any collision with a commercial truck. The East Brunswick truck accident lawyers at Beninato & Matrafajlo are here to help you. Our attorneys have been recognized for their excellence by their inclusion in Super Lawyers and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We can investigate the unique facts of your case and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney, we are here to serve your needs. You can reach out to us anytime at 908-378-8467.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck companies have an incentive to complete as many deliveries as they can and as fast as possible. But this often comes at the expense of safety. When drivers are pushed too far, they are more inclined to violate traffic regulations. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has estimated that nearly 10% of all truck drivers involved in a crash reported feeling under work pressure from their carrier. There are a number of other common causes of truck accidents.

  • Speeding: Driving at excessive speeds is a leading cause of truck accidents. Even driving the speed limit could potentially be dangerous, depending on the weather and traffic conditions.
  • Fatigue: Driver fatigue is incredibly common in the trucking industry. This is particularly true when truck drivers are asked to complete routes on unrealistic timelines. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control have estimated that staying awake for only 17 hours can reduce a person’s ability to drive safely, similar to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%.
  • Driver Intoxication: Many truck accidents involve drivers who are intoxicated. This could be intoxication from alcohol or illicit drugs. Even prescriptions or over-the-counter medications can impair a person to the point that it would be unsafe for them to drive.
  • Following Too Close: Commercial trucks can be incredibly heavy and are therefore very difficult to stop. A fully loaded semi-truck traveling at 65 mph can take the length of two football fields to come to a stop. Truck drivers must maintain a safe following distance with other vehicles at all times.
  • Left Turns: There are two major reasons why left turns are a common cause of truck accidents. First, trucks have large blind spots and may not always see smaller vehicles or pedestrians before a turn is initiated. Second, trucks have a wide turning radius, which makes them more susceptible to side-impact collisions during turns.
  • Vehicle System Failures: A vehicle system failure occurs when any part of a truck malfunctions. One of the most common failure points for commercial trucks is their brakes. This is why it is so important that truck owners make sure that their vehicles are regularly inspected and well maintained.
  • Inadequate Surveillance: Truck accidents are much more likely when truck drivers are not paying adequate attention to the road ahead of them. A truck driver could be distracted by a number of different items, including their cellphones or conversations with passengers.

Truck accidents tend to be extremely complex events. For any given collision, there are typically numerous factors. The factors that contribute to a truck accident could take place hours, days, or months beforehand. The vast majority of truck accidents are preventable and involve some amount of driver error. Evidence will ultimately help paint a clear picture of what caused any collision, even in the event that a crash was not captured on camera.

Liability For Truck Accidents

Many accident claims in New Jersey can proceed without necessarily needing to identify who is at fault and demonstrate negligence. New Jersey is one of a handful of states that operate under a no-fault insurance model. Every driver must have Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance, according to N.J.S.A. 39:6A-3.2. This insurance provides aid to drivers regardless of who was at fault for any collision. Under N.J.S.A. § 39:6A-8(a), any person who is injured by a truck driver in New Jersey may also be able to pursue a negligence claim if they were seriously injured. For truck accidents that result in serious injuries, there could be numerous liable parties.

  • Truck Drivers: If a truck driver acted negligently and caused a collision, they could be held at fault for the crash. This could include instances where truck drivers rear-end other vehicles or cause accidents by making dangerous turns.
  • Trucking Companies: Truck companies could be vicariously liable for the wrongful actions of their drivers, insofar as those drivers were working as employees. A truck company could also potentially be liable for hiring drivers who were untrained, unlicensed, or otherwise unqualified.
  • Vehicle Manufacturers: The companies that manufacture trucks or their component parts could be held liable for a crash through a product liability claim. Vehicle makers may be held liable for the manufacturing, design, and marketing defects associated with their products.
  • Cargo Loaders: It has been estimated that cargo shift played a role in 4% of all truck accidents. There are strict regulations about how cargo should be loaded on a truck to prevent cargo shift. But these rules are often ignored.
  • Leasing Companies: When a truck or a trailer is leased, the leasing company could potentially be responsible for a collision. Leasing companies have a legal obligation to ensure that their vehicles are in a reasonably safe condition.

There could potentially be numerous liable parties for any truck collisions. It is therefore very important that all evidence related to the crash is adequately preserved and accounted for. Most commercial trucks have an event data recorder (EDR). This device functions in much the same way that the flight data recorder (FDR) or “black box” works for airplanes. It can provide investigators with invaluable information about what a truck driver was doing prior to any collision.

Common Injuries Associated With Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks weigh as much as 80,000 lbs, thereby making even low-impact collisions potentially catastrophic. Even collisions that don’t result in serious injury or death can be hugely consequential for the affected person. According to one study in Accident Analysis & Prevention, “The impact that traffic accidents have on society is significant. Individuals injured (or killed) in traffic accidents must deal with pain and suffering, medical costs, wage loss, higher insurance premium rates, and vehicle repair costs.” There are many common injuries associated with truck accidents.

  • Broken bones: Fractures can occur in all parts of the body. But many drivers and passengers often break limbs, wrists, and ribs.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: When a truck accident is particularly severe, this may result in a person sustaining a spinal cord injury. These can range from minor fractures to severe injuries that leave victims paralyzed.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): A TBI can result when a person’s head is violently thrown forward or when it strikes another object. This can include concussions and more severe trauma that can alter the trajectory of a person’s life.
  • Internal Injuries: Many of the injuries associated with accidents are not outwardly visible. Damage to internal organs such as the liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys can result in internal bleeding and other potentially life-threatening injuries.
  • Lacerations: Truck accidents can leave victims with major cuts and lacerations. If these injuries are not treated quickly with medical care, they can lead to significant blood loss and infection.
  • Amputations: It is fairly common for severe truck accidents to result in amputations. The odds of an amputation increase dramatically if a person is pinned inside their vehicle or ejected.

Not all of the injuries that a person suffers in a truck accident are physical. Many people who survive truck accidents are left with long-term psychological trauma. This can manifest in a variety of ways, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. It is fairly common for victims who suffer a near-death experience to have recurring nightmares about the trauma and intrusive thoughts. Given the high possibility of injury after any truck accident, it is always a good idea to seek the guidance of a skilled truck accident attorney.

Steps To Take After A Truck Accident

Truck accidents can be extremely difficult physically, emotionally, and financially. Many victims are not able to return to work for significant periods of time. It is also common for them to be left with high medical bills. These collisions can be especially hard for families who rely on the sole income of the person who was injured. What follows are a few steps to take after any truck accident.

  • Contact The Police: Any truck accident should be reported to the authorities as early as possible. The police will begin the initial process of documenting the scene and conducting an investigation to determine what happened.
  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Your health should always be the top priority after any collision. Even if you feel as though you’re not really injured, it’s still best to be evaluated. Accident victims tend to be filled with adrenaline, which can mask the sensation of being injured.
  • Gather Information: Collect the contact and insurance information of the truck driver and any other parties involved in the crash. It is also a good idea to get the contact information of any potential witnesses to the crash.
  • Keep Records: It is important to maintain a detailed record of all medical treatments, doctor visits, medications, and expenses related to the collision.
  • Consult With An Attorney: Speak with an attorney who has experience handling truck accident cases. They can guide you through the legal process and take all the necessary steps to ensure that your rights are protected.

Getting Legal Help After A Truck Accident

At Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC we understand the severe impact that truck accidents can have. We are committed to winning and getting our clients justice above all else. In fact, we have recovered over $100 million for accident victims across New Jersey. We were able to recover $4,650,000 for a pedestrian seriously injured by a commercial vehicle.

Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a truck accident? You may be entitled to financial compensation. Our team of East Brunswick truck accident attorneys is here for you. We care deeply that all of our clients get the medical and financial support that they deserve so that they can focus on healing. There is no case too small or too large for our experienced legal team to handle. You can contact us anytime if you need help. Call us today for a risk-free consultation at 908-378-8467.

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Frequently Asked Questions

There are no costs associated with hiring an attorney, and they only get paid by the opposing party if they are able to successfully resolve your claim.

Every case is different, but some of the factors that can help determine the value of your claim will include the severity of injuries and the presence of lost wages.

Speeding, fatigue, and driver distraction are three of the most common causes of truck accidents.

It is never a good idea to accept any settlement from an insurance company without first consulting with an attorney.

New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state. What this means in practical terms is that you will typically be able to recover damages for a truck accident even if you were partially or completely at fault. Accident victims who are seriously injured may also be able to pursue negligence claims.