Accidents involving large commercial vehicles or semi-trucks are especially dangerous. Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks often cause severe injuries to drivers and passengers in other vehicles. In addition to catastrophic damage, the legal terrain surrounding these collisions is complex, and filing the proper claim can be a challenging process.
Cases involving semi-trucks are complicated by federal and state regulations relating to record-keeping and insurance. Often there are multiple insurance companies for the involved parties. These lawsuits contain multiple parties, such as the semi-truck driver, the trucking company, the drivers and passengers of multiple cars in the accident, and sometimes even the manufacturer of the truck parts or mechanics who worked on the vehicles.
The initial investigation can be critical to your ultimate success in a truck accident case. The semi-truck accident lawyers at Epstein Ostrove are particularly skilled and knowledgeable on how to secure electronic data captured on most modern commercial trucks. This data often provides critical information that proves.
In other words, can help prove exactly what occurred and when. Epstein Ostrove also has access to some of the most well-regarded trucking experts in the nation including the top accident reconstruction experts who can build the strongest case to ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Engaging these experts requires a law firm that has the resources to pay for their services. At Epstein Ostrove you will be represented by a firm that has the resources a smaller firm may not have or be willing to spend.
The importance of hiring a dedicated semi-truck accident lawyer who will fight for you (both before and during a trial) is shown in the recent case of Hassan v. Williams. 467 N.J. Super. 190 (App. Div. 2021). In this case, the attorney for a person injured when a tractor trailer struck their vehicle, made a request for the “black box” data from the tractor trailer. The trial court judge would not order the defendant to turn over the information, saying the request was too onerous and involved complex documents.
On Appeal, the trial judge was told he was wrong. The Appellate Court found that even;
“In a case that may seem simple, complex documents can add support to a party’s arguments. That is true here. The requested documents, including satellite and “black box” data, concern such matters as the speed the truck was traveling, what it was carrying, how the brakes were used, and the condition of the driver. Such information was relevant to understanding how the accident occurred.”
See Hassan v. Williams, 467 N.J. Super. 190 (App. Div. 2021)
New Jersey, like many other states, does not allow an injured person to tell a jury that a semi-truck driver was fired by his company following an accident. However, while the driver’s termination might not be admitted into a trial, the investigation their employer did leading up to their termination is discoverable, and can be used at trial. Often times a trucking company will argue that the rule which prevents a jury from learning about “subsequent remedial measures” prevents a person from receiving this information pursuant to N.J.R.E. 407. The rule states “Evidence of remedial measures taken after an event is not admissible to prove that the event was caused by negligence or culpable conduct. However, evidence of such subsequent remedial conduct may be admitted as to other issues.”
N.J. R. Evid. 407
The semi-truck accident lawyers in our firm know how to demand and compel a trucking company to turn over this information. While a defendant will try to argue in court that their driver was not at fault, finding that a company’s own investigation determined their driver violated proper driving standards will render that defense implausible and will likely lead to a higher settlement or verdict.
Certain factors contribute to semi-truck and commercial vehicle crashes. The following are the most common reasons that semi-truck and large vehicle collisions occur.
● Distracted driving
● Driver fatigue
● Driving while under the influence
● Cargo shifting
● Dangerous road or weather conditions
● Truck equipment failure (such as brakes or tires)
When you are involved in a semi-truck or commercial vehicle crash, you may suffer debilitating and life-altering injuries. Many of these injuries require expensive life-long medical care and rehabilitation services. These include:
● Back and neck injuries
● Spinal cord injuries
● TBI, Traumatic Brain Injuries
● Dismemberment or disfigurement
● Burns, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, lacerations
If you or a loved one has suffered any type of personal injury in a semi-truck accident, it is essential to seek medical treatment immediately. Ensure you follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep documentation of your medical visits to support your case.
Due to this complex legal terrain, it is vital to work with an experienced trial lawyer at Epstein Ostrove who is knowledgeable about New Jersey laws relating to insurance and personal injury. A semi-truck accident lawyer from Epstein Ostrove with experience in Semi-Truck and Commercial Vehicle crashes can help you figure out how best to approach your case to receive the compensation you are entitled to.
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of discovery, so don’t waste any time in seeking legal counsel for your case. Contact a semi-truck accident lawyer at Epstein Ostrove today to get your questions answered.