Motor vehicle accidents are not exactly uncommon in New Jersey. You could get involved in a minor fender bender or even get into a major accident with another car, but those are usually not very complicated to deal with.
It’s easy to settle minor accidents. You can easily settle it amongst yourselves by assessing the damage, exchanging contact information, and letting your insurance handle any repairs. Even if you don’t have any insurance, the other party usually agrees to pay for any damage done.
However, when it comes to truck accidents in New Jersey, it’s a completely different ball game. Not only are they be much more serious and traumatizing, but they are also hard to deal with all on your own.
Moreover, unless you know all about truck accidents and who to hold responsible for them, you might face some difficulty in getting all or any of the compensation you deserve. That’s why at times like these, it’s best to approach a New Jersey truck accident lawyer who can help you navigate the whole situation with minimum worries and maximum compensation.
Let’s see what makes truck accidents so complicated and what you need to do if you find yourself in one.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident in New Jersey?
When you think of the victim in a truck accident, your mind probably straightaway goes to the poor driver or pedestrian who got hit by the truck. However, as mentioned earlier, truck accidents aren’t so simple. Sometimes, the truck driver can be a victim himself.
There are different types of truck accidents, and in each case, a different party can be held responsible. In some cases,no legal action can be taken. For instance, when it comes to trucks, there are various kinds of them, such as dump trucks, delivery trucks, tow trucks, trailers or 18-wheelers, tankers, etc.
All of them have different purposes and therefore, are designed differently. Flatbed trucks have an open bed at the back with no sides or a roof. So, when these trucks carry any cargo or load, it is often exposed and has a higher chance of coming loose and falling off. If this load happens to fall on your car, it could result in some minor or major damages depending on the load.
In the case of a minor accident, for instance, a cracked windshield, your insurance may cover it, and so, you can settle the whole thing right then and there without filing any claims against anyone.
However, if the fallen load has caused massive damage to your car as well as a serious injury, your insurance may not cover all of it, and you might end up having to pay for everything yourself.
In such a case, you could hold the truck driver liable for not securing the load properly and causing all this damage. However, this is where things get technical. Usually, truck drivers aren’t the owners of the vehicle or any cargo that it might be carrying.
Large companies and businesses hire individuals to drive their trucks for them, and their job description might only include driving the trucks and nothing more. Therefore, any responsibility of loading and securing the cargo does not fall on them and, subsequently, they can’t be held liable for any cargo coming loose and falling on your car.
Instead, you might have to file a claim against that trucking company or the business that was transporting that cargo or whoever was responsible for loading it in the first place.
Now, can you imagine investigating how the load came loose, fell on your car, who secured it in the first place andthe kind of contract that was signed between the trucking company and the driver all on your own? Finding out precisely who was responsible for the accident and then chasing after these big companies to compensate for your damages is not easy.
It’s stressful just thinking about it. But you know who can handle all this and more and ensure you get a fair compensation? A truck accident lawyer!
A truck accident lawyerin New Jersey will be well aware and experienced with these types of cases and can deal with all the legal proceedings, allowing you to relax and recuperate from the truck accident.
Other than that, in some types of truck accidents, there is a problem with a particular part of the truck, for instance, the brakes, and therefore, any resulting accident could be the truck or brake manufacturer’s fault. So, the truck driver or even the trucking company could file a claim against that part’s manufacturer.
What Steps Should You Take After a Truck Accident in New Jersey?
Now that you know how messy and complicated truck accidents in New Jersey can be, hopefully, you will consult a New Jersey truck accident lawyer to handle the case for you.
However, this does not mean that you leave everything up to the lawyer. There are a few things that you need to do as well that can actually greatly help your case later on. Here are the steps you should take if you’re in a truck accident in New Jersey.
Assess the Situation
Any kind of motor vehicle accident can be quite harrowing, but truck accidents are especially difficult since they are much bigger and consequently, cause greater damage.
Experiencing a truck accident can be quite distressing and shocking. However, it is crucial that at times like these, you try to remain calm and assess the situation.
First and foremost, you have to assess your own condition. Are you injured in any way? If yes, to what extent? Even if you can’t spot any injuries right away, you must go to the doctor as you could have internal injuries.
Therefore, you should call 911 or any emergency medical authority right away and seek medical attention. Your safety and wellbeing should be your number one priority in all of this. Even if you are completely fine, the accident could have injured the truck driver or other people on the road.
After calling 911, assess if you can move. If you can’t move your car due to excessive damage or have serious injuries yourself, you should stay put till a medical professional has checked your condition. Otherwise, try to move your car to a side of the road so that you don’t obstruct the traffic flow and wait for the authorities to arrive.
Normally, when you call an ambulance in case of an accident, they do forward the case to a local law enforcement agency as well. However, if they don’t, you should report the accident to the police right away too. They are not only equipped at handling such situations, but in some cases, they can be important witnesses, too.
Once you’ve ensured your safety and called the authorities, you need to gather evidence of the accident. This can include taking pictures of the scene for photographic evidence, which can be revisited later on.
You can exchange information with the truck driver and assess his condition as well to judge if he is under any influence. Write down any other details of how the accident took place. For instance, the weather condition,other cars or any obstruction on the road or anything else that could support your case.
If the police arrived on the scene and they wrote up an accident report, or you gave your statement to them, ask for a copy of that report as it can also be counted as evidence and be helpful later on.
Since you were directly involved in the accident, your own memory or testimony could be unreliable.
Therefore, if you can spot any witnesses, approach them and ask if they would be willing to testify. If they agree, note down their contact information, which you can then pass on to your truck accident lawyer. He can take their accounts.
Avoid Giving Statements
Besides simply stating the facts for the police or any other emergency authority, avoid giving any statements to anyone else. Don’t talk to the truck driver about your condition or make any public posts on social media claiming that you’re fine.
Even simply saying sorry can be taken as an admission of guilt or fault and can be used in court to reduce the settlement amount. Large companies aren’t exactly willing to pay for the damages caused in these accidents and therefore, they try their best to bring down the settlement amount in any way they can.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in New Jersey
When you’ve been in a truck accident, after ensuring your safety and calling the authorities, amidst everything else, you should try to contact a truck accident lawyer in New Jersey as soon as possible. The sooner you contact him, the sooner he can come on to the scene of the accident.
Once he’s there, he can do a bunch of these steps for you as well, such as gathering evidence and preventing you from making any statements that could hurt your case. Furthermore, since your lawyer will be more knowledgeable about such accidents, he will be better able to handle everything.
He will know precisely what to gather as evidence, which will strengthen your case and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Additionally, having you a lawyer by your side during situations like these can be quite reassuring and allow you to focus on your health and injuries.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Your lawyer can do this for you, but in case you have decided not to approach any lawyer, or if it’s a minor accident, you should report the accident to your insurance company.
The company might send over a representative to assess the damage himself and then decide whether it comes under your coverage or not. Alternatively, some insurance companies require you to report accidents within a certain time frame or else they might refuse to cover the damage and repairs.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Determining the cause of the accident is important when it comes to filing a case. Only when your lawyer knows what caused the accident can he proceed to find out who’s responsibility it was and then file a claim against them. Some common causes of truck accidents include:
- Mistakes in driving due to lack of training or experience of the driver
- Inattention or negligence of driver due to driving under the influence, being overworked and fatigued or getting distracted
- Driver’s failure to check blind spots while changing lanes
- Faulty parts in the vehicle such as malfunctioning brakes
Unlike other accidents or personal injury cases, truck accidents are especially hard to deal with on your own. This is because you’re up against large companies and corporations that are determined to pay the least amount of compensation possible.
Even if the trucking company agrees to pay the full settlement amount, sometimes your insurance company can cause trouble by denying claims and refusing to cover the damage. At times like these, a truck accident lawyer can handle all these parties and deal with all the necessary legal proceedings for you.
If you or someone you know has been in a truck accident, don’t delay it any longer and contact us right away to handle your case.