Trucking is a vital part of the U.S. economy, transporting nearly 70 percent of all freight tonnage in the U.S. every year. More than 1.7 billion Americans make a living behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer, transporting more than 9 billion tons of freight annually.
But unfortunately, the sheer size and weight of a big rig puts other cars at an extreme disadvantage; in fact, in accidents involving a semi truck and another vehicle, the driver of the smaller vehicle is more than four times more likely to be killed than the truck driver, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are proud to represent the injured throughout New Jersey and New York, both in and out of court. Since opening our doors in 1974, we have been committed to the highest standards of excellence in personal injury litigation. We have successfully collected more than $300 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including successful trucking accident claims:
- $7 million for a commercial truck driver who suffered a disabling brain injury when another truck driver struck him
- $5 million for a husband, wife, and children who were in the vehicle when a tractor-trailer made an improper turn into their lane
- $1.067 million for a truck driver who suffered fibromyalgia after a multi-vehicle accident
- $1.06 million for a truck operator who suffered multiple injuries after being struck by a tow truck
With more than 80 years’ worth of combined trial experience, our attorneys have the skills and resources to fight for you. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to speak with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys today.
Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Semi-truck accidents can have a wide variety of causes. Some accidents are caused by driver negligence (such as running a red light or texting while driving), others by defective truck parts, and some by unsafe road conditions. Common causes of tractor-trailer 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 (to name a few).
- 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.
Depending on the cause of the accident, different parties may be liable for the injuries and damage caused. If the accident was caused by negligent driving, typically the truck driver will be held liable for the harm caused. However, this depends on the truck driver’s relationship with the truck and the trucking company. If the truck operator is an independent contractor, he or she will most likely be found liable for the accident. On the other hand, if he or she is employed by a trucking company, the company may share some of the liability for the accident; this all depends on the truck driver’s contract with the trucking company in question.
However, if the trucking accident was caused by something else, different parties could share liability. For example, if the accident was caused by defective car parts, liability could rest with the manufacturer or the maintenance company responsible for keeping up the tractor-trailer.
The best way to determine liability in your particular case is to consult an experienced New Jersey lawyer. A skilled personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, including collecting driving logs, witness statements, police reports, maintenance records, and other relevant documents.
Damages in a Tractor-Trailer Accident Case
If you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you could win a number of different kinds of damages. These may include compensation for:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Loss of income and decreased earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
Injuries in tractor-trailer accidents tend to be more severe than those of normal motor vehicle accidents. As such, it is important to fight for fair compensation in a personal injury case; collecting just compensation is the best way to ensure that your life and livelihood are not affected by the accident for years to come.
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi
Tractor-trailer accidents are major, potentially devastating events. If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi-truck accident, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today. Trucking accidents are generally more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents, and it is important to consult an experienced attorney right away. The sooner a New Jersey personal injury attorney can review your case, the sooner they can start collecting police reports, witness statements, maintenance records, and drivers’ logs.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have handled numerous tractor-trailer accident cases, and our personal injury lawyers will investigate thoroughly to determine who and what caused the accident. We are committed to protecting your legal rights and fighting for just compensation for your injuries. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or fill out an contact us online to speak with one of our experienced attorneys today. Your initial consultation is free and no fees are due until we win your case.