Injuries from truck accidents can leave you out of work for an extended period. If you are unable to support yourself and your family, the medical bills you face can go unpaid and become a huge burden. Getting the compensation you need can be an uphill battle, especially since trucking companies and their insurance companies often have strong legal teams to defend them. That is why you need a legal team of your own.
Our attorneys fight insurance companies and trucking companies to get victims the compensation they deserve for their injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages after a truck accident. Getting this compensation often means filing an insurance claim and potentially going to court to fight for you, and our lawyers are prepared to do what we need to get you the compensation you need.
For a free case assessment, contact Legal Care New Jersey’s truck accident attorneys today at (732) 838-9769.
Suing Trucking Companies for Truck Crashes in East Orange, NJ
If you get hit by a truck, you might be able to sue the company that owns the truck or hired the driver. There are two ways that you can often reach a trucking company with a lawsuit, but there is a threshold issue you need to deal with first before you can sue for any auto accident:
Serious Injury Threshold
In New Jersey, you cannot sue for every auto accident. We use an auto insurance system where every driver’s insurance covers their own injuries rather than using the at-fault driver’s insurance.
If you have a “limited right to sue” policy, then you cannot sue unless your injuries are considered “serious.” For an injury to be serious, it has to involve a displaced fracture or a permanent injury. You can also sue for the death of a fetus or the death of a loved one in a crash.
If you have an “unlimited right to sue” policy, this question is unnecessary; you are allowed to sue if you choose to.
Suing Trucking Companies Directly
If the trucking company contributed to the accident through its own actions, you can sue it. This usually comes up in cases where there are issues with the driver or the truck itself that the company should have corrected. As the trucker’s employer, the trucking company is liable for negligent hiring or for keeping a dangerous truck driver on their payroll after known accidents or traffic violations should have disqualified them. They are also responsible as the owner of the truck fleet when maintenance and repair issues lead to crashes.
Suing Trucking Companies for Vicarious Liability
As the employer of the truck driver who hit you, the trucking company might be liable for the crash under a legal concept called “respondeat superior.” Companies are made up of individual people, and when those people cause injuries through negligence that they commit while working and performing job duties, the company or individual employer can be made to answer for the employee’s actions.
In cases where the truck accident happened while a driver was on duty, the trucking company they work for should be made to answer for the driver’s negligence. However, this liability does not extend to the trucking company in many cases where the driver is an independent contractor or owner-operator who owns their own truck or works as a self-employed driver.
Liability in Trucking Accidents in East Orange, NJ
In any auto accident, you have to determine who is at fault by looking at what mistakes and traffic violations occurred to cause the crash. If a driver did something unsafe or dangerous, but it happened a few miles back and did not contribute to the accident, then that cannot be considered a cause of the accident. Instead, you have to point to issues that directly caused the crash.
In cases of traffic violations, you can accuse the driver of causing the crash by speeding, running a red light, tailgating, or otherwise violating the law. Drunk driving, texting while driving, and reckless driving also fit into this category.
Truckers can also be held liable if they did not explicitly violate a traffic law but otherwise did something “unreasonable” while driving. Reasonableness is judged from an objective standpoint and usually means something inherently and obviously dangerous, like failing to look before changing lanes or failing to keep your eyes on the road.
Trucker vs. Trucking Company Liability
In respondeat superior cases, the trucking company often takes on the full liability from the driver so that all damages end up being paid by the employer rather than the driver. In cases where liability is divided, each party pays for its own fault, but the trucking company might also pay for the driver’s fault anyway through respondeat superior.
Crashes Caused by Other Drivers
In some cases, the crash is not actually caused by the trucker. In cases where a truck is hit by another vehicle and then flips or slides, the truck can bring many other vehicles into the crash. However, the initial crash might be another driver’s fault, and it is important to have your lawyer investigate the crash and its cause to ensure that you sue the right parties.
Partial Fault for Victims
In some cases, you might be accused of partial fault, too. Your damages can be reduced if you were partly responsible for the accident, but your right to sue is not cut off unless you are over 50% at fault.
Call Our East Orange Trucking Accident Attorneys Today
For help with injuries after a truck crash, call the truck accident lawyers at Legal Care New Jersey today at (732) 838-9769.