Semi Truck Accidents
When a semi truck collides with a motor vehicle, it can have disastrous results. In accidents that involve a semi truck and another vehicle, the driver or occupants of the smaller vehicle are over four times more likely to be killed than the truck driver (7.4 percent vs. 1.6 percent), according to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The size and weight of a semi truck puts other cars at a serious disadvantage, and semi truck drivers have a huge responsibility to other drivers to operate the semi safely. If the driver fails to do so and it causes harm to someone else, he or she could be liable for damages.
There are more than 1.7 million truck drivers employed in the U.S. and nearly 70 percent of all freight tonnage in the U.S. rides on trucks, meaning there are more semi trucks on the road than ever before. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured due to a semi truck accident, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today. Our skilled personal injury lawyers have spent more than 80 combined years fighting for the injured in New Jersey and New York, collecting more than $300 million in compensation along the way. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have the experience and commitment to see your claim through to the very end and hold the guilty party accountable for their negligence. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today.
Causes of Semi Truck Accidents
Semi truck accidents can have a number of causes, and the direct cause is not always clear right away. Some accidents are evidence of driver negligence (i.e. running a red light or merging unsafely), and others may be caused by outside factors (i.e. inclement weather or defective truck parts).
Common causes of commercial truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving, which can include texting while driving, checking email, eating, drinking, talking to other passengers, changing the radio station, reaching for something in the backseat, reading (including maps or work materials), or typing into a navigation system. Distracted driving continues to be a major problem on American roads, accounting for about 16 percent of all fatal crashes. At any given time, more than 600,000 drivers are manipulating electronic devices, contributing to more than 3,300 distracted-related fatalities every year.
- Driving under the influence, including drunk driving, drugged driving, and driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Approximately 30 people are killed every day in drunk-driving accidents, adding up to more than 10,000 fatalities in 2010. Driving under the influence accounts for nearly one-third of all traffic deaths nationwide.
- Reckless driving, including speeding, failure to stop at stop signs or red lights, failure to yield, aggressive driving, failure to adjust for weather conditions, failure to pull over for emergency vehicles, failure to merge safely, and tailgating.
- Defective car parts, including air bags, brakes, seat belts, tires, wiring, and fuel tanks. Tractor-trailers can also be found defective if the overall structure is unsafe or it lacks proper safety equipment.
- Unsafe roadways, including failure to address serious maintenance problems, improper lane width or grading, and curves that are too sharp for the posted speed limit.
- Inclement weather, such as snow, ice, heavy rain, fog, or other hazardous weather conditions. More than 1.5 million weather-related car accidents occur every year, including 707,000 rain-related crashes and 225,000 snow-related crashes. Inclement weather is a contributing factor in nearly one-fourth of all car accidents, according to the U.S Department of Transportation.
Semi Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents
The most obvious difference between a semi truck accident and a regular passenger car accident is sheer size. While the average car weighs about 3,000 pounds, a fully-loaded semi truck can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. As a result, semi truck accidents often produce more serious injuries and property damage than other car accidents.
Another major difference between semi truck accidents and car accidents are the rules involved. In a typical car accident case, the plaintiff must show that the other driver violated New Jersey Rules of the Road (or the applicable motor vehicle code of the state in question). Proving the other driver violated a traffic law is often enough to prove that he or she was negligent and at fault for the accident. However, the rules and regulations at play in a semi truck accident encompass more than just state traffic laws.
Semi truck operators are held to higher legal standards and must follow industry regulations when they drive for a living. Truck drivers must follow hours of service regulations (i.e. not drive more than a certain number of hours in a row without rest), as well as specific rules for certain driving situations. Proving that a semi truck driver violated an industry standard or company regulation can help prove your personal injury case.
In addition to these differences, ownership and liability are often much more complicated in a semi truck accident case. In a car accident case, the driver of the vehicle and its owner are often one and the same; in a semi truck accident, this is not necessarily the case. In some cases, the trucking company and the driver have an employment contract that dictates the company is legally responsible for any accidents caused. In other cases, the driver is an independent contractor who is supervised in some capacity by the trucking company. Different types of relationships between the driver and the trucking company open up each party to different levels of liability for the accident.
Contact an Experienced Semi Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi truck accident, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi. With more than 80 years’ worth of experience in personal injury litigation, we have the resources and skills to fight for you. We have collected more than $300 million for the injured in New York and New Jersey, including several large verdicts and settlements in semi truck accident cases:
- $6.2 million for a commercial truck driver who was struck by another truck driver while pulled off on the side of the road, resulting in a disabling brain injury
- $5 million for a husband, wife, and four children after they were struck by a semi truck making an improper turn
- $2.8 million for a driver who crashed into the side of a truck that pulled into his path, resulting in multiple knee surgeries
- $1.067 million to a truck driver who suffered fibromyalgia after a multi-vehicle accident
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are committed to thoroughly investigating who and what caused your accident. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, including collecting maintenance documentation, interviewing witnesses, tracking down service logs, and consulting medical experts. Contact the law office of Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or fill out an online form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.