Middlesex County, New Jersey is home to Woodbridge, Piscataway, Edison, Perth Amboy, East Brunswick, and Monroe Township, and is the second-most populated county in the State. It’s also the home to an Amazon depot, and I-95 passes straight through the county, making it a popular shipping and trucking route between New York and Philly.
With heavy truck traffic often comes severe truck accidents. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, you may be able to sue the negligent truck driver and their employer, the trucking company, for compensation. If you lost a loved one to a truck accident, you may be entitled to even higher compensation for your loss. For a free consultation on your truck accident injury case, contact the national truck accident attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000.
Suing Trucking Companies for Accidents
If you were injured by a negligent truck driver, you may be able to take your case to court instead of relying on insurance. Any time another driver injures you, including a truck driver, you may have choices for how to recover compensation. However, New Jersey is a no-fault car accident state, so your opportunities to sue in court may be limited. New Jersey auto insurance policies only allow you to take your case to court if you have severe injuries like amputation, scarring or disfigurement, a displaced fracture, lose a baby you are carrying, have a permanent injury, or if there is a death. Talk to an attorney to see if your case qualifies you to file in court.
When you sue the truck driver, you may also be able to reach the trucking company that hired them. There are two general ways that this works in New Jersey. First, you may be able to sue the trucking company directly for negligent hiring. This usually applies when the trucking company hired or a driver who:
- Has a history of bad driving;
- Was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI);
- Has a criminal record; or
- Violated federal trucking regulations.
You may also be able to sue if one of their drivers had one of these problems, but kept their job and continued to drive for the company.
Second, you may be able to sue the trucking company in their role as the driver’s employer. Employers are often held accountable for the failures of their employees. A “vicarious liability” doctrine called “respondeat superior” typically allows you to sue the employer when an employee causes injuries or accidents while acting within the course/scope of their duties. Since truck drivers are hired to drive, load, and unload trucks, any injuries they cause while performing those duties could open the trucking company to a lawsuit.
Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries in New Jersey
In order to prove the truck driver or trucking company was responsible for your injuries, you must prove your case in court. To prove your case, you need to show that the truck driver caused the accident by driving without the proper care a reasonable truck driver would use. You must also be able to prove your injuries in court. This often requires the testimony of a doctor, medical records, proof that you missed work because of your injuries, and information about how the pain and suffering affected your life. You can typically receive compensation for all of these “damages” from a court.
There are many rules that apply to truck drivers across the country, and these rules may help you prove that the driver was negligent. Since the federal government requires truckers to follow these rules, a breach of these rules may count an automatic breach of duty. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) writes rules for trucking dealing with:
- How much time they spend on the road (called “Hours of Service” rules);
- Medical and health requirements for drivers;
- Scheduled and random drug and alcohol testing;
- Maintenance and equipment standards; and
- Truck weight and loading limits.
Violating any of these rules can run the risk of causing an accident on the road. Many trucking companies push their drivers to drive extra hours or overload their vehicles in an attempt to make more money on shipping. This is extremely dangerous, and can lead courts to punish trucking regulation violations. This may mean you could get additional damages after a truck accident, called “punitive” or “exemplary” damages. These damages are paid straight to the victim to penalize the negligent truck driver and trucking company.
Talk to an attorney before accepting any settlements from the trucking company or insurance company. Accepting these payments may mean limiting your ability to sue. These settlements may also be too low to cover your needs and might not include damages you would otherwise be entitled to in court.
New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers
The truck accident attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm represent injured truck accident victims across the country and throughout New Jersey. If you were injured by a negligent truck driver or trucking company in Middlesex County, NJ, or anywhere in the State of New Jersey, talk to our attorneys today. We offer free consultations to help injury victims understand what their case may be worth and whether then can sue for truck accident injuries. Call (215) 246-9000 today to schedule your free consultation.