Interstate 195 is an auxiliary route of the Interstate Highway System that stretches for 34 miles across New Jersey. Interstate 295 is mostly a four- lane highway that runs through some of the wooded areas of New Jersey. However, while it runs through some of the woods of New Jersey this road intersects with Interstate 295 in Hamilton as well as Interstate 95. Additionally, it serves as the main access road to Six Flags Great Adventure. Interstate 195 also runs along the New Jersey towns and cities of Hamilton, Robbinsville, Upper Freehold, Jackson, Howell, and Wall. It is easy to see why this route would be popular with truck drivers.
Large commercial trucks provide a vital link in the transport of goods and commerce through New Jersey. Unfortunately, with so many trucks on our highways, accidents often occur. When a truck is involved in a crash with a smaller vehicle, the injuries could be devastating or fatal. Our I-195 New Jersey truck accident lawyer is committed to holding reckless and irresponsible truck drivers liable for the harm they cause. If you or a loved one were harmed in truck accident along I-195 or any other New Jersey highway, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for a free consultation.
Why Do Serious Accidents Occur on New Jersey I-195?
The reasons why accidents involving commercial trucks on any freeway are numerous, but on I-195 in New Jersey, these accidents can probably be attributed to the significant variation in types of vehicle traffic. The road is used heavily by both interstate truck traffic and by local commuters. With a posted speed limit of sixty-five miles an hour an accident involving a fully loaded 80,000-pound tractor-trailer can be devastating. Furthermore, the congestion and traffic conditions present on the roadway can also contribute to the significantly higher than the average number of accidents on the road.
There are many other reasons why commercial truck accidents become unavoidable. These reasons can include:
Even when the weather is perfect there are many reasons that the flow of traffic can drastically change. There may be an accident, construction, and an overflow of traffic during rush hours. Stop-and-go traffic is difficult and frustrating to drive in and the changing conditions require absolute attention. Drivers who fail to maintain a high level of concentration are likely to cause a commercial vehicle accident.
Poor Weather Conditions
Weather can be a huge contributing factor to traffic accidents. In the summer heavy rainfall can make the roads slick with natural oils, and in the winter ice and snow can make even the best cared for roads impassable. Bad weather conditions can cause accidents because drivers need to pay more attention to the road as well as leave more distance to brake.
Accidents caused by distracted drivers are a common occurrence. Many truck drivers are also guilty of this dangerous habit. This is especially the case when a truck driver is spending hours of isolated time on the road. To break up the monotony, a truck driver could reach out to someone either with a call or text. It is not uncommon for drivers to eat while driving to save time. Additionally, truck drivers will rely on their GPS when they are traveling an unknown route. All these distractions pull a driver’s attention away from the task at hand. Because of the size and challenge in maneuvering a truck, even the slightest distraction could be catastrophic.
Truck Driver Fatigue
While the federal government has enacted laws that limit the amount of time that a truck driver can spend driving consecutively. These limits have been imposed on truck drivers because of years of study and observation that have shown that truck drivers who work long hours are more likely to be involved in an accident. These limits are set because fatigued driving can reduce reaction times and lead to poor decision-making.
DUI or DWI
Every state has set limits on the amount of alcohol that a driver can have in their system when they are operating a motor vehicle. However, these restrictions are even more stringent for truck drivers. However, despite the risk of causing accidents and losing their CDL licenses, truck drivers who chose to drink and drive can cause severe accidents.
As noted above truck drivers have a different license called a CDL, which allows them to transport materials and also to drive larger vehicles. In order to obtain a CDL license, a person has to be trained on how to drive the vehicle, however, while drivers are required to undergo a certain amount of training an inexperienced driver is more likely to cause an accident than an experienced driver.
In many accidents, particularly those involving a tractor-trailer, there is more than one factor that causes the accident.
In some cases, the truck driver is also a victim. Trucks are complex machines and if something malfunctions, a truck driver could lose control of their vehicle. If the defect resulted from a manufacturing error or design flaw, the manufacturer could be held accountable for any damages. Furthermore, if a trucking company fails to adequately maintain its fleet of vehicles, the company could be held responsible if something breaks on the truck.
While the above list offers some insight into the reasons that cause an accident, there are many others.
Proving Faut for a New Jersey I-195 Truck Accident
In most cases, the reckless or careless conduct of a truck driver is the reason a devasting accident occurs. However, our New Jersey accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the crash to determine if any other potentially liable party exists. In some situations, the trucking company that employed the driver could be held responsible. When a truck does not undergo regular inspections or maintenance, a trucking company could be held liable. Additionally, a trucking company should ensure that its drivers are properly trained and certified.
Another possible liable party is the company that loaded a truck. If the cargo is not secured or balanced, the truck will become much more difficult to control. While a driver might bear some responsibility for inspecting the load, the company that secured the cargo could also be held accountable if the truck crashes because it is unbalanced.
In cases where the truck had a manufacturing defect or design flaw, the company that built the truck could be liable. When crafting a personal injury case, our New Jersey truck accident lawyers will look at every possible responsible party.
No matter what party could be held accountable, our office will have to prove negligence in a personal injury claim.
‘Negligence’ in New Jersey I-195 Truck Accident Cases
New Jersey, like most states, follows the theory of modified comparative fault. In its simplest form modified comparative fault stops a person from recovering any compensation if it can be shown that their carelessness or negligence was greater than 50% or 51%.
Under New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence Act, when there has been an auto accident a person is seeking money or another form of compensation, the jury may evaluate the relative degree of fault of the parties involved in the case. The jury will allocate a certain degree of fault to each party, which has the effect of reducing the amount that they can recover.
Proving Your Case for a Truck Accident on New Jersey I-195
You may have heard that in order to recover any compensation for injuries you have incurred as a result of an accident you will have to prove that the other driver was at fault or they were negligent. However, if you are not certain what you have to prove in order to recover for damages do not be alarmed. Most personal injury cases, including those involving truck accidents all, come from a main legal theory of liability known as negligence.
To establish negligence, our New Jersey truck accident attorney will have to prove four specific elements: duty of care, a violation of the duty, causation, and damages.
Duty of care
Legally, duty of care refers to the obligation one party has to another to keep them reasonably safe from harm. Typically, determining whether a duty of care exists in a personal injury case depends on the relationship between the plaintiff and potential defendant or defendants. Fortunately, the first element necessary to prove negligence is not usually difficult. Every truck driver owes every other motorist an obligation to operate their vehicle safely. Likewise, trucking companies and truck manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the vehicles they are putting on New Jersey highways are roadworthy.
A violation of the duty of care
Once a duty of care is established, a victim in a truck accident must prove a violation of that duty. When a truck driver’s conduct deviates from what a reasonable truck driver would do under similar circumstances, they violate their duty of care. For example, if a truck driver is traveling at an excessive speed, they are violating their obligation to safely operate their vehicle. By gathering evidence, such as police reports, surveillance videos, witness testimony, and medical reports, our New Jersey truck accident lawyer will look to prove that the truck driver, trucking company, or another party violated their duty of care.
For a plaintiff to recover compensation for their injuries through a personal injury lawsuit, they must show that the violation caused their harm. It might not sound difficult to prove that your back injury resulted from being struck by a large commercial truck. However, if you hesitate in receiving medical treatment or have a pre-existing condition, a defense attorney will argue that your injuries are not directly related to the accident. The choices you make following a truck accident could significantly impact whether or not causation is provable.
Finally, to successfully prove negligence after a truck accident, a plaintiff must produce evidence of actual damages. Damages is the legal term used to describe the financial harm a person suffered because of an injury. In a New Jersey truck accident case, a plaintiff usually has two types of damages available.
Economic damages are out-of-pocket, or actual monetary losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. By providing receipts, bills, and other documentation, our office will attempt to substantiate your actual financial harm.
Non-economic damages refer to those intangible items that are challenging to quantify, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. In many cases, a plaintiff’s non-economic damages could be significant.
In some rare cases, a plaintiff could be awarded punitive damages. Unlike the above damages, punitive damages are not related to the injury but are imposed to punish a defendant for their gross negligence or intentional malice. Punitive damages could be awarded if a truck driver is purposefully driving while intoxicated and causes a fatal accident.
Our I-195 New Jersey Truck Accident Attorneys Have the Experience to Handle Your Case
If you have suffered severe injuries or the death of a loved one in an accident with a large truck, bus, or other commercial vehicles, the I-195 New Jersey truck accident lawyers of Reiff Law Firm may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation with our truck accident attorneys call (215) 709-6940 or contact us online today.