Injuries sustained in a truck accident can leave victims with very serious injuries – often more serious than the injuries from a crash between two cars of similar size. The sheer size and weight of 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks often leads to substantial injuries, and victims and their families could be entitled to substantial damages in the resulting injury claim.
Do not settle with your insurance company without consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney. Many victims are left with only a portion of their damages covered through their no-fault insurance policy without knowing that they could be entitled to a lawsuit against the trucker and the company they worked for.
For a free case review, Legal Care New Jersey’s truck accident lawyers right away. You can reach us at (732) 838-9769.
When Lawsuits Are Permitted for Truck Accident Injury Cases in Hoboken
Many drivers in New Jersey might be familiar with the rules of their no-fault insurance policy and might think that they cannot sue for injuries after a crash. However, these policies have exceptions that often allow truck accident victims to file a lawsuit.
No-fault policies are required under NJ law and must cover the driver in the event of an accident. These policies include “personal injury protection” or “PIP” coverage that pays for some of your medical bills and lost wages, but these payments usually cover less than 100% and require you to pay deductibles. You also cannot claim damages for pain and suffering against your insurance policy.
If you are covered by one of these PIP policies, then you cannot file a lawsuit unless you have either opted for a policy with an “unlimited right to sue” or you meet NJ’s “serious injury” requirements. This threshold includes injuries that cause loss of limb, serious scarring, displaced broken bones, and other permanent injuries. If you have met this threshold, then you could be entitled to file additional claims against the at-fault driver, including a lawsuit.
While these rules seem initially restrictive, they can actually allow many injured trucking accident victims the right to sue for their injuries. Make sure to speak with our truck accident attorneys for help determining whether you can sue. Do not assume that just because you have a “limited right to sue” policy that you are blocked from filing a lawsuit for a serious truck accident.
Suing a Trucking Company for Injuries in Hoboken, NJ
If you were hit by a truck and the trucker was at fault for your crash, you might also be entitled to sue the trucking company they work for. There are typically two types of claims you can make against the trucking company, but they depend on a few factors about how the trucker is employed. Our truck accident lawyers can analyze your case and advise you on how to proceed.
Suing Trucking Companies as the Truck Driver’s Employer
When an employee causes an injury through negligence while on duty at their job, the employer can often be held “vicariously” liable for the employee’s actions. As truckers are hired to drive for their employers, nearly any accident they cause through negligence behind the wheel could lead to a lawsuit against the employer – the trucking company – in place of the negligent driver.
However, there are some restrictions. First, the accident must have happened while the trucker was working within the scope of their employment. A driver who was off course, on break, or in violation of their company’s policy (e.g., by drinking and driving) might not meet this requirement and the trucking company might attempt to disavow any blame for the trucker’s actions. Second, the driver must have been an employee. Many truckers are independent contractors or self-employed, in which case the trucking company is not their boss and cannot be held liable for the trucker’s actions.
Nonetheless, the trucker will be required to have their own commercial driver’s insurance or business liability insurance that can cover your injuries after an accident if the trucking company cannot be blamed.
Suing Trucking Companies for Their Own Mistakes
Trucking companies can also be the target of your lawsuit if their own mistakes contributed to the crash. Trucking companies are often the ones responsible for things like vehicle maintenance, employee training, hiring and firing, vehicle inspection, and even cargo loading. Any of these issues could involve a trucking company’s own mistakes that contribute to your crash. Trucking companies can be held liable – independent of their fault as the driver’s employer – for mistakes like this.
For example, if a trucking company failed to run a background check on an employer and missed a history of drunk driving and assault by auto, then they should be held responsible for putting a potentially unsafe driver behind the wheel. The same is true for issues like failing to repair known equipment issues, failing to follow state and federal requirements for vehicle inspection, or unsafely loading a truck in a way that results in wobbling or fishtailing.
Trucking companies and drivers can also be held liable based on other federal trucking regulations. Our truck accident attorneys can look into what happened in your case and determine whether any serious violations contributed to the accident. For example, trucking companies have, in the past, been held liable for forcing truckers to drive beyond the required time limits and for withholding pay until drivers falsify their driving logs.
Call Our Hoboken Trucking Accident Attorneys for a Free Case Evaluation
To have our Hoboken truck accident lawyers review your case in a free evaluation, contact Legal Care New Jersey today at (732) 838-9769.