truck driver filling out documents before a haul

What Is the Notice to Produce Documents in a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Truck accident lawsuits are complex cases, and the minutiae can feel overwhelming when you are recovering from an injury and/or the loss of a loved one. Accidents involving large trucks are common and can be catastrophic for all involved. In 2020 alone, there were 107,000 truck accidents resulting in injury and 4,965 deaths, according to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts.

Medical expenses, lost income, property/vehicle damage, pain and suffering, and legal fees must all be taken into consideration, and someone should be required to pay if the accident was not your fault. But who? The truck driver or the owner? Their employer? It is a mess.

On top of that, you might receive several notices and requests related to your suit. Often, these notices contain language that is practically indecipherable to the average person. One of those is the Notice to Produce Documents. Here, we will address the question, what is the Notice to Produce Documents in a truck accident lawsuit?

We hope to give you some answers during this difficult and confusing time. The attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are knowledgeable and experienced regarding truck accident lawsuits. We can help you pursue the full compensation you deserve. Call (201) 585-9111 today for a FREE case review. Our expertise may bring you relief.

What Is the Notice to Produce Documents in New Jersey?

During the discovery phase of a truck accident lawsuit, the attorneys on both sides are trying to obtain as much evidence as they can to litigate properly. New Jersey Court Rule 4:10 states that “Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action.”

One method of obtaining the necessary information is submitting a Notice to Produce Documents. A written notice from one party in the suit requests that the other party produce certain documents to help prove or disprove their claims. This is an essential component of the discovery process.

In addition to the initial submission of documents, each party has a duty to supplement, also known as a continuing obligation. According to N.J. Ct. R. 4:18-1(b)(3), if a party “obtains additional documents that are responsive to the request, a supplemental written response and production of such documents…shall be served promptly.”

What Type of Documents May Be Needed?

A Notice to Produce Documents will consist of three parts: instructions, definitions, and the specific documents required to fulfill the request, typically in a numbered list. Though the range and type of documents requested will depend on the circumstances of the suit, some requests may be for:

  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Images
  • Cell phone records
  • Financial records
  • Driving records
  • Medical records
  • Insurance information
  • GPS data
  • Employment records

How Long Does a Party Have to Respond to a Notice to Produce in New Jersey?

Once a party has received a Notice to Produce, they have to serve a written response within 35 days. However, as per N.J. Ct. R. 4:18-1(b)(2), a defendant may respond within 50 days of the “service of the summons and complaint on that defendant,” and the court can adjust the time to respond upon motion.

Failure to produce the documents requested in the Notice to Produce with no motion for extension or specific objections may result in an order of dismissal or suppression of “the pleading of the delinquent party,” as stated in N.J. Ct. R. 423-5 (a)(1).

Why Are Truck Accident Lawsuits Complex?

Truck accidents come with an entirely different set of rules than other types of motor vehicle crashes. A commercial truck’s size, weight, and cargo load can cause tremendous damage and serious injuries that are sometimes fatal. Truck drivers are also required to have a higher level of expertise and follow stricter driving rules and regulations.

Read More: How Are Traffic Accidents Involving Trucks Different From Accidents Involving Passenger Cars?

Ownership and liability in a truck accident are complicated as well. The driver is not typically the owner of the truck. Your lawyer will need to determine who caused the accident and what party or parties may be held liable.

Liable parties in a truck accident could be the:

  • Driver of the truck
  • The driver’s employer
  • Truck owner
  • Trucking company
  • Cargo crew
  • Shipping company
  • Manufacturer
  • Safety or maintenance companies

Further, say the truck driver is at fault—your lawyer will still need to evaluate the relationship between that driver and their employer. Is the employer contractually liable for the accident? Is the driver an independent contractor?

Read More: How Do Truck Accident Claims Work?

In short, finding an accomplished truck accident attorney is in your best interest. An experienced lawyer will be able to handle the investigation and assembly of evidence, helping you to save your energy for healing.

Get the Help of an Top-Rated New Jersey Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accident lawsuits are intricate and exhausting when you and/or a family member have suffered harm. That’s why it is crucial to find an experienced, vigilant law firm to help you pursue the maximum compensation in your case.

Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today for a FREE consultation. We are knowledgeable, compassionate, and hands-on, with particular focus on truck accidents and other personal injury matters in New Jersey and New York. Get the help you need now!