No matter where or how they happen, car accidents are serious and pose real or even life-threatening danger to everyone involved. Often, the most severe car accidents that happen on New Jersey roadways are those that involve larger commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks.
If you are dealing with injuries caused by an accident with a semi-truck that someone else’s negligence caused, you may be able to file a lawsuit. The first step in that effort is identifying who you can and should name in your lawsuit. Important factors to consider in this step include the actual cause of the accident, the severity of the injuries, and the New Jersey state time limit for filing a lawsuit.
Regardless of your circumstances, you can always benefit from a free initial case evaluation from the New Jersey truck accident attorneys at New Jersey Legal Care. Call our offices today at (732) 838-9769 to hear about what we can offer you.
How to Determine if the Semi Truck Driver Was at Fault for Your Accident in New Jersey
The basis for any car accident injury lawsuit is a determination of who was at fault. Fault is how the law determines who is responsible for causing the accident – and who is liable for the damages. But before you even begin to think about damages, you need to be sure that you have a valid cause of action.
Accident injury plaintiffs prove fault by showing that the defendant in their case was negligent. This is done by proving that the defendant violated a duty that they owed to the injury victim, thereby causing the accident. All drivers owe certain duties to drive reasonably and follow traffic laws and regulations. However, because driving a semi-truck is different from driving a personal vehicle, the legal obligations of semi-truck drivers are slightly different than those for everyone else.
Semi-truck drivers must allow more space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them because a heavy semi-truck takes much longer to come to a stop than a normal car. They must also account for weather and road conditions that might affect a semi truck’s functions. When turning or shifting lanes, semi-truck drivers must pay special attention to their turning radius, as the area that they affect is much greater than normal.
In addition to the normal rules of the road truck drivers must abide by, there are also federal regulations that govern the safe operation of semi-trucks throughout the country. This list of requirements includes working turn signals and tail lamps in visible locations, reflective strips to indicate a trailer’s position in low visibility situations, and proper securing mechanisms for heavy cargo. Talk to your Jersey City truck accident attorney about whether the semi-truck that caused your accident violated any of the numerous federal regulations that may apply.
How Bad Does a Semi-Truck Accident Have to Be to File a Lawsuit in New Jersey?
New Jersey is what is known as a “no-fault” state, meaning that you won’t have to prove fault after an accident to recover from your own insurance company. Practically, what this means is that you must typically go through your own insurer to recover compensation for the medical bills and lost wages that result from your injuries. However, some severe injuries require more than what your policy covers. This is where you may have the right to sue.
Despite the no-fault rule, New Jersey law provides a “limited right to sue” after a car accident if certain criteria are met. In order to escape the no-fault rule and sue the semi-truck driver or other party responsible, your injuries must meet the statutory threshold. Below are the common examples of semi-truck accident consequences that are grounds for a lawsuit:
- Bone fractures
- Significant scarring or disfigurement (possibly as a result of necessary reparative surgery)
- Loss of body part
- Pregnancy complications or miscarriage
- Indefinite or permanent injury
You may also file a lawsuit if the accident results in death. However, rather than filing a personal injury lawsuit, the family members and loved ones of the decedent would file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation. Speak to one of our New Jersey wrongful death attorneys if you recently lost a loved one or family member in a semi-truck accident.
Can I Sue the Trucking Company After a Semi-Truck Accident in New Jersey?
The semi-truck driver may not be the party responsible for causing your accident. However, that does not mean that you don’t have a valid lawsuit. If the driver’s employer failed to meet their own obligations to keep other motorists safe from harm and prevent accidents, they may be liable for your injuries.
Trucking companies are responsible for background-checking and training their employees. They may be liable if their employee driver causes an accident because they weren’t properly educated on the vehicle. Trucking companies are also responsible for scheduling their drivers according to federal regulations to prevent sleep deprivation. If the accident is caused by a defective or improperly maintained part, you could have a case against the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or the company that the trucking company contracted with to provide maintenance and inspection services on their vehicles.
Sometimes, liability isn’t clear in a semi-truck accident. However, with the help of our seasoned Newark truck accident lawyers, you can pinpoint the cause of the accident and name the responsible party (or multiple parties) in your lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to Sue a Semi-Truck Driver in New Jersey?
For all New Jersey car accidents, injury victims who hope to recover compensation in a lawsuit must file with the appropriate court within two years of the date of the accident. The statute of limitations prevents victims to wait longer than two years from recovering compensation for their case.
There are rare exceptions, such as where the victim was a minor at the time of the accident, but you should not rely on them to delay acting on your case. Preparing your official complaint can take some time, and the earlier you file, the sooner you will see the compensation that you rightfully deserve.
File Your Lawsuit with the Help of Our New Jersey Semi Truck Accident Lawyers
At Legal Care New Jersey, we know how difficult it can be to recover from your injuries while worrying about your finances. Let our New Jersey personal injury attorneys help you today, starting with a free initial case assessment. Call us to get started at (732) 838-9769.