Accidents caused by semi-trucks, big rigs, and tractor trailers result in thousands of injuries or deaths every year. Certain aspects of truck driving, such as oversized loads and reduced maneuverability, can put other vehicles and drivers in danger. In fact, these large trucks (with a gross vehicle weight of at least 10,000 pounds) are responsible for over 25% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in accidents involving multiple vehicles, despite the fact they only make up about 3% of all registered vehicles. The truck drivers and the companies they work for are responsible for operating their vehicles with the utmost care and safety and may be held liable for any accidents they may have caused. The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Herbert I Ellis, P.C. will assist you with your personal injury claim resulting from a truck accident in the New York or New Jersey area.
Truck Driver Negligence
Drivers of large trucks are susceptible to negligent errors that can seriously injure other motorists on the road. Such negligent behavior includes distracted driving, tailgating, speeding, and otherwise reckless driving. While these are the same issues any driver encounters, the chances of injury could be much greater from someone operating a large commercial truck. The driver of the truck or the company they work for should be held accountable for any damages caused resulting from negligent driver behavior. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury in an accident caused by a large commercial truck, consult with an experienced attorney to become informed of your legal rights.
Trucking Company Negligence
One of the primary causes for trucking accidents is negligence on the part of the trucking company. A trucking company is a business and often operates in the most profitable way. Sometimes their methods lead to unsafe conditions and result in accidents. Trucking companies must assign reasonable hours and properly train their drivers. Different types of trucking company negligence include:
- Negligent hiring. Trucking companies must ensure all employees have clean driving records, proper licensing, no history of substance abuse or criminal activity, and are able to perform all job requirements safely. Unfortunately, some companies do not hire experienced, qualified drivers which are a danger to everyone else on the road.
- Violating hours of service. Because of increased accidents due to driver drowsiness, strict legal guidelines were enacted limit truckers from working too many hours. A truck driver cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours, more than 60 hours in a 7 day period, and must rest at minimum of 10 hours a day. Despite the laws, some companies may make their drivers violate such laws.
- Failure to properly maintain vehicles. Just like all vehicles, semi-trucks need to be properly maintained for peak performance and protect against mechanical failures. Commercial trucks sustain great amounts of wear and tear and failure to provide proper maintenance may result in brake failure, burned out headlights or taillights, or tired blowouts. Any of these can likely result in a serious traffic accident.
- Failure to properly train its employees. The employer must make sure each driver can operate an 18-wheeled vehicle. An under-trained driver may be unprepared to operate commercial trucks which are difficult to maneuver, have considerable blind spots, and can be difficult to stop.
An accident involving a large commercial truck is not always the fault of the driver. In many cases the trucking company may be held responsible for any injuries sustained.
Some trucking accidents are caused by a defect or malfunction that is not the fault of any one person. However, the trucking company may still be liable and responsible for any damages caused to innocent victims. Similar to traditional automobiles, common malfunctions in large commercial trucks include faulty air horns, brake malfunctions, tire defects, gas tank explosions, and broken trailer hitches. Any defect in a large truck can potentially cause accidents that result in serious injuries or even death of others on the road. The injured party may be entitled to financial compensation from the truck’s owner, manufacturer, or repair shop. Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys can help you pursue a claim in a truck related accident.
No-Zone Truck Accidents
One of the biggest hazards of a large commercial truck are its large blind spots. Entering a blind spot of a large truck should always be avoided if at all possible, but a resulting accident is not always the fault of the person driving into the spot. Some large truck drivers aren’t aware of their own no-zones, or blind spots. These no-zone areas should be clearly marked with warning stickers. In some cases the driver of the truck or trucking company can be held responsible if they don’t properly warn other drivers on the road of their blind spots. Despite the no-zones, truckers are still responsible for safe driving. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a truck’s blind spots, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. Contact an experienced attorney today to learn your rights and consult with people who are experienced and well versed in trucking accidents.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Just like with any motor vehicles, operating while drinking is extremely dangerous and likely to cause serious accidents. Alcohol-related accidents involving huge semi-trucks can lead to even more destruction and damage. Additional risks of large trucks include and increased risk for overturning and difficulty to handle because of the significant weight of the cargo. While drivers operating commercial trucks need a specialized driver’s license and obey strict rules for operating the truck, unfortunately there are instances when drivers operate under the influence. This poses serious potential for severe injury or death to other motorists on the road.
If you have been involved in a truck accident and have suffered serious injuries as a result, you are likely to have a lot of questions about your rights and how you will be able to pay for your medical bills and other expenses. Our experienced attorneys in New York and New Jersey can help you hold the negligent driver liable for injuries related to your accident and will assist you in obtaining maximum recovery.