Aggressive driving is one of the greatest dangers to you on the road, and that danger is only enhanced when dealing with large trucks. Aggressive driving can cover a whole host of behaviors, but the most common one is speeding. When a truck is traveling at a dangerous rate of speed, its driver will be less able to brake when approaching a backed up line of traffic or if another vehicle crosses their path.
Collisions with trucks heighten the risk of injury and death as a result of their sheer size and weight. Victims of aggressive driving on the part of truckers have means of compensation in the event of an accident, and truckers and the company which employ them may be held accountable for these actions.
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Speeding Truck Drivers
Speeding is technically a form of aggressive driving, but as it is by far the most common form, it is usually mentioned separate from the rest. In 2018 alone, New Jersey police issued over 170,000 speeding tickets to drivers violating posted speed limits. These sorts of violations are even more dangerous when it is a truck driver, as their vehicles will often have the momentum necessary to severely damage any other vehicle it might strike as a result of this behavior.
However, a citation for speeding, while good evidence during a case, will not be enough to prove liability for personal injury.
This is why you should hire an attorney who can present your case for you, as an experienced personal injury attorney will know how to argue and prove that speed was a key factor.
There are a number of ways that an attorney might prove that speed was a primary factor in an accident with a truck. Witnesses might be able to testify that a truck driver was speeding shortly before a crash, and officers who issue citations often make for strong voices in identifying speed as a key factor in these cases.Traffic cameras and GPS data can also provide evidence that a truck driver was speeding, and forensic experts can often analyze the scene of an accident and accompanying documentation to determine that speeding was a contributing cause.
ELDs are mandated pieces of equipment connected to a truck’s engine which will track various statistics related to a trucker’s behavior while driving, including the speed of the vehicle. An attorney will be able to request access to the device’s data, and that data can be used against a trucker to prove that they were acting irresponsibly by speeding. Proving that a truck driver was speeding is a good first step in proving their negligence and fault for an accident.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving is any form of deliberate and unsafe driving behavior that puts others on the road at risk. Speeding is the most common form, but other forms include:
- Running red lights
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Cutting off cars
- Blocking cars from changing lanes
These sorts of behaviors are even more dangerous when they involve large trucks. Such large vehicles have the ability to simply overwhelm smaller vehicles, either driving them off of the road or rear-ending them for refusing to move aside. This means that truck drivers have a greater responsibility to other drivers, as they are far more capable of serious destruction and harm.
What Is Road Rage?
It is typically caused by frustration and anger. Such behavior is illegal under New Jersey law, and it will most likely result in fines and imprisonment for the guilty party if it results in an injury. Truck drivers, given the weight they can exert on the roadways, are especially likely to receive imprisonment if their road rage results in injuries to another person.
Unfortunately, criminal penalties under New Jersey’s laws will not help a victim receive the compensation they deserve. It is up to a personal injury lawsuit to secure compensation after an accident. While a conviction for road rage can serve as evidence for a personal injury case, it needs to be presented properly so that the jury understands that the behavior led to the accident and resulting injuries.
If a road raging truck driver causes injuries, you need to consider if it would be best to simply argue that the driver was acting aggressively. An intentional injury may result in a higher award of damages by the court, but a truck insurer may choose to not cover the damages and insurance is often the main means to receive compensation in these cases.
At times, it is best to simply sue another driver for aggressive driving instead of road rage. That way, when you win your case, you are less likely to be faced with an insurer who refuses to pay for the damages caused by their client’s road rage. A vehicle collision can be considered negligence so it would be best to speak with a personal injury attorney to know if such a lawsuit would better serve your needs.
What Happens if I’m in an Accident with an Aggressive Truck Driver?
For minor accidents where your injuries are not too severe, your auto insurance policy will most likely be able to cover your medical expenses using Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. However, in serious cases where you have experienced life-threatening injuries or had your life irrevocably changed by the injuries you suffered, a lawsuit can be essential in securing the compensation needed to cover all of the expenses.
In our experience, often you will settle with a truck company and its driver before entering a courtroom for a personal injury case caused by aggressive driving or road rage. This can take some time (often more than 6 months), but it will provide you with compensation if you and your legal representative believe that the company’s offer will satisfy your needs. If you do not settle out of court, it will take a few years before your trial begins, as the court and the legal representatives involved will begin a process of discovery. During this time, further negotiations will go on until the date of the trial is set. A trial may take several years to resolve.
In any personal injury lawsuit, the court will determine who is responsible for an accident and assign liability based upon presented evidence and arguments. Be aware that New Jersey uses a modified comparative fault model to determine compensation; if you are found to be partially liable for an accident, then you will have your compensation reduced because of that. Worse, if you are found to have been more than 50% responsible for an accident, you will be unable to receive any financial compensation under the law.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, officers will file an accident report that will document details of the accident, such as skid marks, that will hint at possible speed. Experts in crash forensic will be able to evaluate scenes of accidents as well, and their training will enable them to understand how the remains of the accident may prove that a driver was speeding.
Additionally, street cameras and eyewitnesses may be able to verify that a truck driver was exceeding the speed limit. Street cameras could provide video evidence, and while eyewitnesses may have their memory of an accident questioned, they could also have video evidence of their own. Your attorney will be able to access police reports and records that will contain the information for these eyewitnesses, allowing them to be called as a witness during trials.
Depending on the severity of their actions, absolutely. In fact, you can use their citations and convictions as evidence against them during your personal injury lawsuit.
Generally, your legal representative will negotiate with the legal representatives of the parties you are suing for several months, trying to settle on what would be proper compensation. Oftentimes, settlement negotiations will result in you receiving fair compensation for your injuries, as over time, evidence will be brought by both sides that will help to make clear who is responsible for your injuries.
However, if the legal representatives are unable to settle the issue, then you will go to trial on the matter. In a trial, the evidence will be presented to a judge and jury, and the jury will allocate liability from there.
Who Should I Contact if I’ve been Injured by an Aggressive Truck Driver?
If you or a loved one has been injured by an aggressive truck driver, contact Rosenblum Law for a free consultation today. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can guide you through the process and get you the best settlement or verdict possible. Call 888-815-3649 or email us today.