18-Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyers

An 18-wheeler truck accident can leave you with significant damages, not only to your property, but also to your health. To make sure you receive just compensation for your injuries and potential long-term treatment, you need to rely on experienced 18-wheeler truck accident attorneys. In New Jersey, you find those experts at RAM Law. They know the NJ court system and rules governing the highways and local roads throughout the state. Call for a consultation as soon as you need them.

What Is an 18-Wheeler Truck?

An 18-wheeler truck — also known as a semi-truck, big rig or tractor-trailer truck — is a large commercial vehicle consisting of a tractor unit and a trailer. The tractor unit contains the engine, cab and steering axle, while the trailer is attached to the tractor unit and carries the cargo.

The name 18-wheeler comes from the total number of wheels on the vehicle, which includes four wheels on the front axle of the tractor unit, four or more wheels on the rear axles of the tractor unit and typically eight wheels on the trailer. 18-wheelers transport goods and materials long distances on highways and freeways.

They may carry a significant amount of cargo and are often used by industries such as:

  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Gas and oil

Due to their size and weight, 18-wheelers require specialized training and licensing to operate. If you’re involved in an 18-wheeler truck accident, you need a skilled and capable 18-wheeler truck accident attorney from RAM Law in New Jersey to handle your claim. Contact them for their expertise, and you’ll enjoy peace of mind that your claim is being handled with the best skill and attention.

18 Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyers

What Are Some 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Statistics?

The statistics underscore the importance of taking precautions when driving around large trucks.

Some general information sources and statistics in recent years related to 18-wheeler accidents in the United States include:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large commercial trucks in 2017.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that in 2019, there were a total of 499,152 crashes involving large trucks, which resulted in 4,415 fatalities and 107,000 injuries.
  • The FMCSA also reported that in 2019, driver-related factors were cited as the most frequent cause of oversized truck crashes, with 32 percent of crashes attributed to driver-related factors.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that in 2020, large trucks accounted for 10 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths.
  • In 2020, according to the NHTSA, there were 4,951 people killed in crashes involving large trucks, an increase of 5.2 percent from 2019. The total number of large truck crashes also increased by two percent in 2020, with a total of 450,000 crashes reported.
  • The FMCSA reported that in the first quarter of 2021, there were 105,000 large truck crashes, which resulted in 2,049 fatalities and 39,000 injuries.
  • The most common type of collision involving large trucks is a rear-end collision, accounting for 23 percent of all large truck crashes, according to the FMCSA.

While it’s too early to have comprehensive data on 18-wheeler accidents in 2022 and beyond, some news reports suggest that there was an increase in truck crashes during the COVID-19 pandemic, as trucking companies faced challenges such as driver shortages, increased demand for goods and supply chain disruptions. Predictors based on past performance do not forecast a reverse in these numbers as long as there are trucks on the roads.

What Are Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents?

Most 18-wheeler accidents throughout New Jersey are caused by the same factors. An investigation into the specific circumstances of an accident helps determine the cause or causes and who may share liability for the resulting injuries or damages.

Common causes of truck accidents include:

Overall, the combination of size, weight, stopping distance, blind spots, driver fatigue and cargo hazards make getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler more dangerous.

In addition to driver negligence, trucking company negligence and poor road maintenance by local or state municipalities, getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler is more dangerous than a car accident for several reasons, such as:

  • Size and weight. All 18-wheelers are larger and heavier than passenger cars. A fully loaded truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds, while a car weighs only a few thousand pounds. This means that in a collision, the force of impact will be much greater, leading to more severe injuries or even fatalities.
  • Stopping distance. All 18-wheelers require a much longer stopping distance than cars due to their weight. Truck drivers often can’t stop suddenly in time to avoid a collision.
  • Blind spots. All 18-wheelers have large blind spots, especially on the sides and rear of the truck. If cars are in a blind spot, the truck driver may not see them and may inadvertently collide with them.
  • Industry pressure. Truck drivers often work long hours and may not get enough sleep, leading to fatigue. Fatigue impairs a driver’s judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Cargo hazards. Some 18-wheelers carry hazardous materials, such as chemicals or flammable liquids. If a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in an accident, the risk of injury or death is higher due to the potential for fires, explosions or toxic exposure.

What Should I Do after an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident?

If you’re involved in a trucking accident in New Jersey, your 18-wheeler truck accident attorneys tell you to first call for help. Medical assistance for you, your passengers, the driver of the truck, pedestrians and other vehicle drivers involved in the accident is tantamount to everything else.

After you call first responders through 911, then take additional steps if you’re able, such as:

  • Move to a safe location. If possible, move your vehicle and yourself to a safe location away from the road to prevent further accidents.
  • Call the police. Report the accident to the police and provide them with as much information as possible. Ask for a copy of the police report, which may be useful later.
  • Exchange information. Get the name, contact information and insurance information of the other driver and any witnesses.
  • Take pictures. Take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles and any injuries.
  • Refrain from admitting fault. Don’t apologize or admit fault, as this could be used against you later.

Take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and the protection of your legal rights. Even if you don’t think you were injured, see a medical professional after an accident. Some injuries, such as head or brain injuries or internal injuries, may not show symptoms immediately.

As you go through the initial recovery, continue taking steps to protect yourself by:

  • Documenting everything. Keep track of all the details related to the accident, including the date, time and location of the incident, the names and contact information of witnesses, and any conversations you have with the truck driver or their employer.
  • Contacting RAM Law in New Jersey. It’s a promising idea to consult with the 18-wheeler truck accident attorneys at RAM Law who have experience with 18-wheeler truck accident cases. RAM Law attorneys help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
  • Notifying your insurance company. Disclose the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible. They may help you file a claim and determine the amount of entitled compensation. But don’t accept any offers until your 18-wheeler truck accident attorneys agree.
  • Staying off social media. Avoid posting about the accident on social media, as anything you say or do online may be used against you in a legal proceeding.
  • Taking care of yourself. Accidents are traumatic, both physically and emotionally. Be sure to take care of yourself in the days and weeks following the accident, whether that means seeking counseling, taking time off work or practicing other necessary forms of self-care.

When Should I File a Lawsuit Following an Accident with a Truck in New Jersey?

According to New Jersey Statutes § 2A:14-2, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident is two years from the date of the accident. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.

If you fail to file the lawsuit within this time limit, you may lose your right to seek compensation through legal action. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. If the injured party is a minor, the statute of limitations may be extended. Filing before the deadline prepares you to face potential defendants that may be sharing responsibility for the accident and sharing liability.

In a lawsuit, your attorneys may include:

  • The driver of the truck
  • The trucking companies
  • The truck manufacturer
  • The shipping companies
  • Other drivers

How Much Compensation Could I Receive from My Semi-Truck Accident Claim?

The amount of compensation you receive depends on the specific facts of your case. It’s difficult to provide a firm estimate without knowing your situation.

Some of the damages that may be recoverable in a semi-truck accident claim include:

  • Medical expenses. Cost of hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s visits, physical therapy
  • Lost wages. If you’re unable to work due to your injuries
  • Pain and suffering. Physical pain, emotional distress and other non-economic losses
  • Property damage. Damage to your vehicle and other private property
  • Punitive damages. Penalizing the defendant and discouraging similar actions from occurring in the future

Your RAM Law attorneys may adopt a contingency fee structure, so their payment is contingent upon winning your case. Alternatively, they may charge an hourly or flat fee for their services, depending on the type of case you have, all of which may be recoverable in a lawsuit.

In addition to attorney fees, there may be other costs associated with pursuing an 18-wheeler truck accident case, such as court fees, expert witness fees and other expenses. Contact the 18-wheeler truck attorneys at RAM Law in New Jersey to make sure you understand your legal options and any costs associated with your case. They evaluate the potential value of your claim in a free initial consultation.

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To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at (732) 247-3600, in Somerville at (908) 448-2560, or in Freehold at (732) 828-2234.

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