According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2016 alone, there were 4,440 trucks or buses involved in fatal crashes and another 119,000 crashes resulting in non-fatal injuries. The dangers associated with truck accidents are not limited to the sheer size and weight of the vehicle; in addition, trucks can be loaded with cargo such as gasoline, chemicals and other hazardous materials.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in NJ
Truck accidents are most often caused by either the driver’s negligence or the maintenance/condition of the truck/trailer. The truck driver’s negligence may relate to speeding, distraction, inattention, sudden line changes, impairment or fatigue. However, the condition of the truck/trailer itself may be a cause or factor in the accident, such as when the trucking company does not properly maintain the truck, or it installs defective parts, or the trailer is not properly hitched, weighted or packed.
As strange as this sounds and putting aside the severity of the injuries that are often caused in trucking accident cases, there are actually a few advantages to being involved in an accident with a truck versus a private passenger vehicle.
Commercial Auto Insurance
First, trucks and buses must be covered by commercial auto insurance and the employers often carry excess/umbrella insurance on top of that. This means that your recovery in a trucking accident case will have a higher ceiling than an accident involving a passenger vehicle where your financial recovery will be constrained to the policy limit that the other driver purchased or your own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
The Verbal Threshold
Second, New Jersey’s verbal threshold does not apply to accidents with a commercial vehicle. When New Jersey drivers apply for insurance, they have the option of selecting a “limitation on lawsuit” box to reduce their already expensive rates. Selecting this option triggers the “verbal threshold” which limits your ability to recover non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) unless you suffered one of six types of injuries (death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement or scarring, displaced fractures, loss of a fetus, or permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability). In a trucking accident case, you do not need to suffer one of those injuries in order to pursue a claim for pain and suffering.
What a New Jersey Truck Accident Attorney Can Do For You
At The Law Office of Craig Rothenberg, we will help you every step of the way to ensure you get what you deserve. Contact our office in New Brunswick, NJ today to talk with us about your truck accident case.