New Jersey Blind Spot Truck Accident Attorneys
Were you injured in an accident when a truck driver changed lanes and didn’t see you? These types of collisions with large trucks often involve the truck driver’s blind spot. Blind spot accidents are frightening and can cause significant damage or even death. When a truck moves over and collides with you, they can push you into barriers or even into lanes where you can be struck by other fast-moving vehicles.
It is the truck driver’s responsibility to be mindful of their blind spots and their employer’s responsibility to train them correctly. Blind spot accidents are driver error, and these drivers or the companies who employ and train them should be held responsible. If you sustained injuries due to a truck blind spot accident, contact the attorneys at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers to help you pursue the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
The New Jersey truck accident attorneys at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers can help you file an insurance claim or even a lawsuit so that you recover the compensation you need to heal and move forward with your life. Call us today at (973) 364-8300 for a free consultation.
What Causes a Blind Spot Truck Accident?
Blind spots on the sides, rear, and even the front of trucks are “no zones” where the truck driver cannot see other vehicles or their view is restricted. Because of these “no zones,” they need to take extra steps before changing the position of the truck. Truckers should be aware of blind spots and know how to safely handle them.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), a large commercial truck driver cannot see you if you cannot see the driver in their side mirror. Particularly if trucks are long and tall, like semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, they have a harder time seeing other vehicles beside or behind them.
In addition to the blind spots on each side and behind the truck, the truck driver of a very large semi-truck or big rig has a front blind spot. This blind spot “no zone” is the length of 20 cars due to how high up the truck driver sits in the cab.
The types of trucks commonly affected by blind spots include:
- Tractor-trailers (the trailer is fixed onto the tractor)
- Tractor semi-trailer (semi-trucks; the trailer is detachable)
- 18 wheelers (the terms “tractor-trailer,” “semi-truck,” and “18-wheeler” are often used interchangeably)
- “Big rigs” (tractor-semi trailer combination vehicles, may have more than 18 wheels)
- Tanker trucks
- Dump and construction trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Tow trucks
- Commercial buses
- Delivery vans
- Ambulance and EMS vehicles
Some types of common accidents caused by blind spots include:
- This occurs when the truck driver changes lanes or merges into traffic and doesn’t see a vehicle in their blind spot.
- Running off the road. Drivers of passenger vehicles may be forced off the road when trying to avoid a truck driver changing lanes.
- Head-on collisions. In some cases, a truck driver may push passenger vehicles into oncoming traffic when trying to change lanes, causing those vehicles to crash head-on into oncoming traffic.
- Override. A truck driver who cannot see vehicles in front of them can run right over them.
- Underride. If a truck driver makes a sudden stop, he can cause vehicles following him to slide underneath the semi-trailer.
While blind spots exist in all kinds of vehicle driving, they are worse in large trucks and vehicles. It is the truck driver’s responsibility to exercise proper care and caution to avoid blind spot accidents. There are several things truck drivers and their employers can do to reduce the risks of blind spot accidents:
- Additional mirrors
- Properly aligning mirrors
- Other equipment such as sensors, audible warnings, and cameras
- Proper training
- Extra diligence in checking blind spots before maneuvering rig
- Refrain from impaired driving due to drugs, alcohol, or fatigue
- Give full attention to the road and other drivers (no distracted driving)
The New Jersey Department of Transportation predicts a more than 65% increase in freight transport in and across New Jersey by 2030. Trucks handle almost 97% of all freight transport that stays within our state borders, and officials expect this dominance by heavy freight-carrying trucks to increase. With so many large trucks sharing our New Jersey roads, these truck drivers should be properly trained in and aware of their vehicle’s blind spots to prevent increased accidents over time.
Drivers are responsible for checking for other vehicles before merging into traffic, changing lanes, or turning their rigs. If the driver is liable for an accident in which you were injured, the experienced attorneys at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers may be able to file a claim against the driver or their employer. If the driver or company claims they experienced an equipment failure that could have prevented the accident, we may determine that you have a valid claim against the equipment manufacturers. These are all factors experienced New Jersey blind spot truck accident attorneys can explore to get you the best possible settlement.
At Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, we use all available resources to help you get the best outcome to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
What to Do After Getting Hurt in a Blind Spot Truck Accident
It’s important that you obtain and keep all records relating to your blind spot truck accident. Some of the most important items to help build your case include:
- The accident report. A law enforcement officer should have written an accident report on the scene, and you are entitled to a copy.
- Truck driver and company information. Get the name and contact information of the truck driver, their employer, and their insurance company.
- Witness statements. The officer who wrote the accident report should have gathered statements from any witnesses, as well as their contact information. These eyewitness accounts can be important in establishing the truck driver’s negligence in moving into your vehicle while you were in their blind spot.
- Photographic evidence of the accident scene. Pictures from the accident scene can provide critical evidence of negligence, including the positions of the vehicles involved, damage to any other vehicles, skid marks, tire patterns, and debris in the accident area.
Also, make sure you include your medical records, including any ambulance ride and ER or hospital care, x-rays, lab work, and follow-up care such as physical therapy.
It can be difficult to prove truck driver blind spot negligence, so the more evidence you collect, the better chance you have in your claim. If you had to be transported by ambulance, the last thing you were thinking about is getting all of this information. The experienced New Jersey truck accident attorneys at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers collect information like this all the time to build cases for our clients, and we can take care of it for you, too, while you focus on your recovery.
New Jersey Injury Claim Laws
New Jersey drivers must carry three types of insurance: Liability, personal injury protection (PIP), and uninsured motorist coverage.
Your liability coverage protects you by paying for vehicle damage (no medical) if you were at fault. PIP pays medical expenses, whether or not you were at fault (New Jersey’s “no-fault” rule), and filing a PIP claim will not affect your future premium. Uninsured coverage pays you if you get in an accident with someone who doesn’t have enough coverage or has none at all.
In most cases, when you are injured in a blind spot truck accident, you would need to file a claim with your own insurance company first for your medical and vehicle damage expenses. Your PIP payments would go toward your medical expenses, lost wages, and to help pay for basic services you may not be able to perform due to your injuries.
You could also try to file a claim against the trucking company to recover from their insurance. You could choose to file a lawsuit if you believe the driver wasn’t adequately trained in blind spot driving or if you believe their employer acted negligently in hiring them. Many trucking companies carry liability insurance to cover such claims, which are often settled out of court. This settlement could pay you for things like:
- Additional medical expenses
- Physical and emotional pain, suffering, and trauma
- Damage to your vehicle and its contents
- Permanent impairment or disfigurement
- Lost wages and living assistance
- Loss of enjoyment of life due to your injuries
- Death benefits for family members
Modified Comparative Negligence
New Jersey’s modified comparative negligence law comes into play if the insurance companies find you partly responsible for the blind spot truck accident. For example, if the trucking company’s insurance adjuster claims that you were “parked” for too long in the truck driver’s blind spot, thus assigning you 40% responsibility, that 40% would be deducted from your damages award. In other words, if you are awarded $100,000 minus 40%, you would receive $60,000. If the adjuster finds you more than 50% negligent, you cannot claim any monetary award from the truck driver or their employer.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Blind Spot Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been the victim of a blind spot truck accident, contact the experienced New Jersey blind spot accident attorneys of Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers today for a free consultation. We can help increase your chances of getting the full and fair financial compensation you deserve. Call today at (973) 364-8300.