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Law Offices of John Morelli
A Personal Injury Firm Serving All Of South Jersey

The Devastating Nature Of Truck Accidents

Being involved in an accident with a semi-truck is a frightening experience. Families and individuals who experience these kinds of accidents often suffer catastrophic and fatal injuries.

Large trucks, also known as big rigs or semis, are involved in disproportionately more accidents than regular cars. Because of their larger size, a large percent of trucking accidents result in fatalities. But, it is not the driver of the truck who is usually killed or seriously injured. Instead, the occupants of other vehicles involved in an accident with a large truck are usually the ones who suffer serious injury.

Collisions With Commercial Trucks Is On The Rise

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis:

  • Each year, thousands of motorists are involved in fatal accidents with large trucks — those weighing more than 10,000 pounds — such as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks and 18-wheelers.
  • In 2008 alone, large trucks accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.
  • In 2008, commercial trucks accounted for 4 percent of all vehicles involved in injury accidents and crashes.

A truck accident can result in neck, back and spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, paralysis or death. If you or a family member has been injured in a truck crash or collision, contact an experienced New Jersey truck accident lawyer at Law Offices of John Morelli, for a free consultation. We represent truck accident victims throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California.

Highways' Unplanned Use As A Commercial Artery

When the national highway system was proposed by President Eisenhower, the roads were initially envisioned solely for civilian use. They did not intend for them to be used as a major thoroughfare for commercial transportation, instead figuring that the forthcoming cargo-jet airplanes, supplemented by rail freight, could easily handle the nation's shipping needs. Well, as anyone who has driven on a highway recently would tell you, that is not how things turned out.

Highways are frequently clogged with larger and larger vehicles, carrying as much as weight as physically possible on the same roads that were meant to ferry mainly passengers. Because of this, the potential for injuries has heightened, as truck drivers haul overnight trips with regularity across the country. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of overall motor vehicle accidents where commercial trucks are involved.

Common Causes Of Truck Accidents

It's only a simple matter of physics to know that, when the two vehicles collide, the bigger one has more mass and thus more force in its impact. This can lead to devastating injuries in incidents that if only a collision between two cars, would result in much less damage.

In many truck accident cases, truck driver inattention, recklessness or fatigue is to blame for the accident. There are many reasons why commercial trucks are inherently dangerous, and the truck driver or trucking company is frequently at fault.

Accidents can be caused by:

  • Aggressive and reckless driving (speeding)
  • Cellphone use and inattentive driving
  • Illegally driving excessive hours which creates driver fatigue
  • Failure to adhere to federal trucking standards and rules
  • DUI or drug usage
  • Failure to maintain the truck properly
  • Improperly loaded or overloaded trucks
  • Failure to install blind spot mirrors to avoid dangerous lane changes
  • Truck's tendencies to jackknife and tip over
  • A truck driver suffering what is known as highway hypnosis or fatigue from driving too long

One common cause of trucking accidents is rollover. Trucks are more susceptible to roll over due to their higher center of gravity. Rollover can happen for any of the following reasons:

  • Partially filled tankers or uneven loads can make it easy for a truck to roll over during turns because the center of gravity shifts.
  • Tripping can cause a truck to roll over. Tripping occurs when a truck hits something during a turn (such as a curb).
  • A truck driver trying to turn or maneuver at too high of a speed can cause a rollover as well.
  • Negligent trailer loading can lead to a rollover.

The Most Common Type Of Accident

Almost one-third of all fatality and injury car accidents in the United States are rear-end collisions. Despite the millions of "How's My Driving?" bumper stickers plastered on the back of trucks everywhere, commercial vehicles with professional drivers actually were involved in a disproportionate number of rear-end auto accidents. Due to their greater weight, trucks have a much longer stopping distance than most cars and thus must travel a greater distance when following behind another vehicle. If they're not allowing the proper number of car-lengths between the vehicle in front of them, the truck is more at risk of not being able to stop in time. It may be due to the truck driver's extended hours on the road or the nature of the vehicles that they drive, but commercial vehicles accounted for 40 percent of all rear-end hits, despite making up only 7 percent of all cars on the road.

Truck Drivers Covered By Company's Insurance

While the driver is usually an individual covered by their own auto insurance, truck drivers are on the job and can be covered through workers' compensation and other benefits their union may have negotiated. This leaves the individual at an even greater disadvantage, as without the help of an attorney with extensive experience in handling trucking accidents, they could potentially be facing the legal might of the commercial trucking company's lawyers.

New Jersey's Laws Regarding Truck Accidents

New Jersey has several statutes in place which regulate how commercial trucks are supposed to operate within the state, keeping them bound by a tight set of rules. Sometimes the many rules set out in the New Jersey Department of Transportation guidelines for commercial trucking are not followed correctly, leading to an increased risk of collision. Certain information must be visible at all times, posted for others to see, and the trucks must be regularly inspected to ensure that they are up to standards. Had any of these not occurred, this creates a more dangerous environment for those travelling on the same roadway as the truck.

Long-Term Damage Done To Victims

At Law Offices of John Morelli, we understand physical injuries are not the only damages that can result from tractor-trailer wrecks. While some of the most catastrophic injuries in semi-truck accidents are physical, some accident victims suffer other types of long-term injury or damage.

Some victims of auto-truck collisions develop emotional or psychological symptoms, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others develop progressive physical conditions, such as heart problems because of the ongoing stress of having been in a crash.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

When a truck is involved in an accident, the trucking company will usually send out its own lawyers to the scene to try to clear up any problems and protect their interests. If you are injured in an accident with a large truck, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you can. An experienced auto accident lawyer can protect your rights and advise you of what remedies are available.

Experienced Legal Representation

We provide aggressive personal injury and wrongful death representation for all victims of accidents involving trucks and commercial vehicles.

Regardless of the cause, if you or a loved one has been injured in a crash with a semi-truck, tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler, talk to an experienced tractor trailer injury attorney at Law Offices of John Morelli, for a thorough assessment of your case. Contact our Cherry Hill office by calling 856-528-3205 to get in touch with us today.

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