- Personal Injury
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We’re all guilty of dividing our attention while on the road. Taking sips of coffee, eating, fixing your hair, and changing music selections are all forms of distracted driving. These activities are always dangerous, but they are especially irresponsible when the driver is operating a large tractor-trailer. Truck accidents caused by distracted driving are incredibly destructive.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS FOR COMPENSATION?
New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning New Jersey motorists have to carry insurance with personal injury protection benefits. These are also called no-fault benefits because they provide injured drivers with compensation regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident.
However, no-fault benefits often aren’t enough for drivers injured in a serious truck accident. There are two main reasons: First, PIP benefits are capped at $50,000 and won’t cover expenses that exceed this limit. Second, these benefits only cover monetary expenses like medical expenses and lost wages. Truck accident victims frequently endure other, less tangible consequences, like pain and suffering. These non-monetary expenses are not covered by no-fault benefits.
Thankfully, New Jersey drivers can usually go outside of the no-fault system and file a lawsuit. The only drawback is that drivers with certain types of insurance policies have to first satisfy a lawsuit threshold. The lawsuit threshold basically requires that the driver’s injuries are significant enough to justify going around no-fault benefits.
HOW DO YOU PROVE FAULT IN A DISTRACTED DRIVING TRUCK ACCIDENT?
The first thing you need to figure out when filing a lawsuit is who should be sued. Truck accidents involve a complex legal principle called vicarious liability. In the case of Carter versus Reynolds, the New Jersey Supreme Court explained that an employer is responsible for an employee’s behavior when done within the scope of their employment. So, a trucking company is usually liable for its truck driver’s distracted driving accident because the truck driver is the company’s employee and these accidents usually happen while the truck driver is on the job.
A second challenge is figuring out how to prove the truck driver’s distracted driving caused the accident. Some forms of distracted driving are easier to prove than others. For example, if the truck driver was on their phone when the accident occurred, we might subpoena their phone records. This is easier than, say, proving that the driver was eating while driving.
Truck accident lawsuits are complicated. The law is complex, and you’re up against trucking companies with lots of resources and experience defending against lawsuits. The good news is that the attorneys at Rosenblum Law are here to help. We have decades of experience winning personal injury lawsuits involving truck accidents and will fight tirelessly until you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by distracted driving, contact Rosenblum Law today for a free, no obligation consultation.
Nearly 30% of all fatal crashes in New Jersey involve alcohol consumption. Now imagine the result of a drunk driving accident involving the size and weight of a large tractor trailer truck. It can be an especially deadly combination. Even if they don’t cause loss of life, these accidents are likely to cause serious physical, mental, and emotional distress for the victims. That’s why it’s important to seek representation from an attorney right away if you’ve been injured by a trucker who was driving while drunk.
ARE TRUCK DRIVERS HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD?
Yes, truck drivers are held to a higher standard. Although point-zero-eight percent is both the nationwide and New Jersey alcohol limit, it’s important to note that people who hold a commercial drivers license (CDL) are held to a much higher standard as a professional driver. A blood alcohol content (BAC) level of just point-zero-four percent (or half the standard limit) is grounds for a DWI charge for CDL licensed drivers while operating a commercial vehicle.
WHO CAN YOU SUE IN AN ACCIDENT CAUSED BY A DRUNK TRUCK DRIVER?
In analyzing truck crashes involving alcohol, courts look to all the relevant circumstances in order to determine fault and liability. A person injured by an intoxicated truck driver should get representation from an attorney right away to help determine the best possible outcomes.
For example, sometimes more than one party is at fault in drunk driving accidents.
WILL YOUR INSURANCE COVER MEDICAL TREATMENT AND OTHER OUT-OF-POCKET LOSSES?
New Jersey has a no fault auto insurance system. This means your own insurance or Personal Injury Protection pays for your medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses incurred by anyone covered under the policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t file a lawsuit if you were injured by a drunk driver in a truck accident. In New Jersey, you can pursue legal action against an at-fault driver if the accident caused you to suffer what state law considers a serious injury.
You can also have a wrongful death case if a loved one died in an accident caused by a drunk truck driver. To investigate your options if you or a loved one has been injured by a truck driver who was drinking, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation.
When we first learn how to drive, we’re taught defensive driving. The idea is simple: if everyone acts to maximize safety, we’re all better off. Unfortunately, the road is full of aggressive drivers. This practice becomes especially troubling when a truck driver is the culprit.
WHAT IS AGGRESSIVE DRIVING?
Aggressive driving is any form of deliberate, unsafe driving behavior that puts others at risk. The most common type is speeding. Other types include:
- weaving in and out of traffic, and
- blocking cars from changing lanes.
Truck drivers have a special responsibility to avoid aggressive driving. The size and weight of their vehicles make the potential consequences unacceptable. Unfortunately, some truck drivers disregard this responsibility, causing severe accidents.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS FOR COMPENSATION?
The default option for New Jersey drivers injured in these accidents is no-fault benefits, which compensate insured drivers for their monetary expenses, such as medical bills, without considering blame. Today, however, I’m going to focus on lawsuits. Truck accidents often cause injuries that no-fault benefits don’t cover, like pain and suffering. Drivers eligible to go outside the no-fault system can pursue a lawsuit to recover all of the damages they incurred.
The likelihood of winning these lawsuits is helped by the fact that truck accidents usually leave behind lots of good evidence. That’s because the trucking industry requires detailed recordkeeping. When working a truck accident case, our thorough investigation involves interviewing eyewitnesses, consulting traffic and surveillance camera footage, and assessing vehicle damage. We also hire forensic experts to analyze the scene of the accident. They identify things like the tire marks showing a truck driver was swerving from lane to lane. We also consult the truck’s Electronic Logging Device, which is normally connected to the engine to track speed and braking. This is used for things like proving the truck driver was speeding.
These lawsuits tend to be complicated. For one, legal procedures tend to be confusing without specialized knowledge. Investigations are also challenging without experience and access to resources. And drivers have to be careful which arguments they present. For example, an extreme form of aggressive driving is road rage where drivers deliberately try to harm others. While a truck driver can technically be held liable for their road rage causing an accident, this isn’t always the best argument. The reason is that when a lawsuit is won, the trucking company’s insurance usually pays the damages. But insurance companies often don’t cover deliberate acts. So, presenting the wrong argument could lead to winning the case but having trouble collecting the compensation you are awarded.
These are just some of many reasons why you’ll want an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. At Rosenblum Law, we have dedicated decades of our lives to fighting for just compensation for injured drivers. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by aggressive driving, contact Rosenblum Law today for a free, no obligation consultation.
The presence of tractor-trailers on the road is frightening. These vehicles tower over ordinary cars and carry many risk factors posing a danger to other motorists. Two hazards that commonly cause truck accidents are improper loading and overloading of cargo.
WHAT IS OVERLOADING AND IMPROPER LOADING?
Overloading is when a truck carries more weight than what is allowed. New Jersey’s state law sets weight limits for trucks based on their number of axles. Overloading makes a truck more difficult to control. Too much weight increases the time it takes to stop a truck and intensifies the impact if there is a collision.
Improper loading is when a truck’s load is not secured properly. This is dangerous for two reasons. One, if a load isn’t secured properly, it can spill onto the roadway. A second problem is weight distribution. Weight imbalances in a trailer make a tractor-trailer difficult to control. When weight shifts around, truck drivers can lose control of their vehicles, causing the truck to overturn or jackknife.
GETTING COMPENSATION AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT
The good news is that recovering compensation is possible, and there is usually ample evidence to help establish a strong claim. However, the claims process is not easy.
The first challenge is determining what type of claim you’re eligible to pursue. New Jersey’s default option is no-fault benefits, which compensate for monetary claims, like medical bills, regardless of who caused the accident. However, significant limits on these benefits lead victims to pursue options outside of this system, like a lawsuit. This can become complicated. Depending on your type of insurance, you may have to first satisfy the lawsuit threshold, which requires a driver’s injuries to be serious enough to justify bypassing the no-fault system.
Another challenge is proving another party was at-fault for causing the accident, something you’ll have to do if you file a lawsuit. Fortunately, the trucking industry is required to keep detailed records, so there’s normally lots of available evidence. One example is cargo weight records. Ordinarily, several places hold written record of a cargo’s weight, such as:
Cargo Weight Records:
- the business sending the goods
- the business receiving the goods
- the trucking company
- highway weigh station records
The tradeoff is that thoroughly investigating all these sources of evidence can be a big task.
Multiple recordkeepers also means multiple parties can be held liable for an injured driver’s damages. For example, in the case Marvrikidis versus Petullo, an asphalt company, a truck owner, and a truck driver were all held liable in the amount of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars because they allowed asphalt to be shipped in an overweight state, causing the truck to crash and injure a nearby driver.
With the many ways of achieving compensation, these cases quickly become very complicated. At Rosenblum Law, we have the experience, resources, and knowledge to successfully advocate for the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by improper loading or overloading, contact Rosenblum Law today for a free, no obligation consultation.
When we think of risky driving behaviors, speeding, driving under the influence, or texting while driving typically come to mind. But there is one extremely dangerous behavior that is often overlooked: driving while fatigued. While drowsy driving is reckless in any vehicle, imagine a driver falling asleep while operating an eighty-thousand-pound, eighteen-wheel commercial truck. If you suspect the trucker who hit you was fatigued, there are several ways to support this claim and get the compensation you deserve.
PROVING DRIVER FATIGUE
Truck drivers are required to track their driving time in a logbook or electronic logging device (or ELD). Some ELDs connect directly to the engine, so the timer starts when the truck starts driving. But many drivers still log their hours by hand, making it easier for them and their employers to break the rules.
Our attorneys can also find evidence of fatigue from:
- Eyewitness testimony of erratic driving behavior
- Police reports
- Logbook records
- Driver medical records
PAYING FOR ACCIDENT EXPENSES
New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning that every driver must have their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy to cover them, no matter who was at fault for the accident. If PIP is insufficient or denies the claim, the victim can turn to the truck driver’s insurance. If other parties are liable, such as the truck manufacturer, the electronic logging device manufacturer, or the Department of Transportation, their insurance might provide coverage as well.
Once a victim has exhausted all other options to receive compensation, it may be possible to file a lawsuit. The New Jersey statute of limitations (time limit to file) on personal injury claims is two years, so contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an accident. This attorney will work with the other parties’ insurance adjusters to negotiate a fair settlement.
If a settlement can’t be reached and the case goes to trial, the court will use New Jersey’s comparative fault model where the amount each driver pays corresponds to the degree to which they were at fault.
The primary cause of trucker fatigue is simply working too much. Federal regulations place an 11-hour limit on consecutive driving hours. Once that limit has been reached, the trucker must go off duty for 10 hours. Unfortunately, these rules are often poorly enforced. Employers sometimes set unrealistic delivery deadlines, pressuring drivers to work past the mandated limit.
Other causes of truck driver fatigue include:
- Sleeping Disorders
If you or a loved one has been injured by a truck driver, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll investigate potential causes of the accident, such as fatigue, and negotiate the best possible settlement for you.