New Jersey Flatbed Truck Accident Lawyers
Flatbed trucks are unique vehicles. Due to their design, they are ideal for transporting unusual, oversized, or irregularly shaped cargo across town or the country. While these trucks may be the only transportation solution for a wide range of cargo, they can also pose serious safety risks to other drivers on the road. When these colossal vehicles collide with smaller passenger vehicles, the result can be disastrous, even fatal.
The truck accident lawyers at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers understand the overwhelming feeling that most victims have after being involved in a flatbed truck accident. While coping with traumatic injuries, you are also trying to cope with keeping up with the bills and medical expenses that continue to pour in. At the same time, you may be having to field persistent calls from the trucking company’s insurer, who is pressuring you into accepting a settlement. Should you accept their first offer? Typically, the answer is no. A quick settlement is almost never in your favor.
So how are you supposed to get the compensation you deserve? Talk to an experienced New Jersey flatbed accident attorney at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers. We can review your situation and give you a better understanding of what your case may be worth and how we may be able to help you recover what you deserve. For more information call us at (973) 364-8300. We can set up a free case evaluation and talk about the next steps.
Types of Flatbed Truck Accidents
While all large trucks are considered the workhorses of the American transit economy, flatbed trucks are particularly unique. Often, they are the go-to vehicle for transporting a wide variety of oddly shaped or overweight cargo. However, this also makes these types of vehicles particularly prone to certain types of accidents.
- Due to their size and the irregularity of the shape and weight of their cargo, flatbed trucks are at significant risk of jackknife-type accidents. These accidents happen when the flatbed swings in towards the cab, creating a 90-degree angle.
- No zone accidents are also sometimes known as blind spot accidents. Again, because flatbed trucks tend to carry loads of irregular shape or size or cargo that is oversized, the blind spots of these vehicles tend to be larger than those of even traditional tractor-trailers.
- Improperly loaded or improperly secured cargo can shift while in transport. The shifting of the cargo can change the truck’s center of gravity, making it more difficult to control and maneuver. This shifting can result in a serious rollover accident.
- Flatbed trucks can be enormously heavy, meaning it takes a lot of power to slow down and stop one of these vehicles. A flatbed traveling too fast or suffering from a braking failure may not be able to avoid a rear-end type accident.
Mechanical failure or defective parts
- Some drivers can do everything right and still end up in an accident. Mechanical failures like faulty brakes or defective parts can be responsible for serious accidents. Tire blowouts are also a common occurrence and can result in a collision. The weight and size of flatbed trucks can aggravate certain types of defects.
Reasons Flatbed Truck Accidents Happen
Accidents can happen at any time and for any number of reasons. However, the most prominent reason that serious truck accidents happen is due to driver error. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study that found that at least 87 percent of accidents involving large trucks were due to some sort of driver error. From distracted and fatigued driving to speeding, completely preventable factors are typically to blame for the majority of collisions.
The second leading cause of large truck accidents turned out to be vehicle-related issues, which accounted for 10 percent of the collisions studied. Vehicle-related issues may be tied to defective parts or mechanical failures, but especially in the case of a flatbed truck, vehicle issues may also result from cargo problems. When cargo is improperly loaded or improperly secured, it can shift and cause balance problems. The shifts of cargo can also shift the entire center of gravity in a large vehicle, making some maneuvers more difficult for a driver. It can also make the truck harder to control.
A few of the most common causes of flatbed truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Driver fatigue
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo
- Reckless lane changes
- Following too closely
- Inexperienced driver
- Improperly trained driver
- Equipment failure
- Defective parts
- Poor weather conditions
Injuries Caused by Flatbed Truck Accidents
Flatbed trucks are enormous vehicles that can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Anything this large can cause serious damage to a passenger car that tops out at only 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. Yet, as damaging as the truck itself can be in an accident, often it is the cargo that poses a risk to other vehicles.
Truck drivers are supposed to make frequent stops to check the security of their cargo. However, skipping this step due to a tight deadline or making a mistake in the safety inspection can result in disastrous consequences. Improperly loaded or secured cargo can shift while the truck is in motion. This shift can throw the balance of the truck off, causing a jackknife or rollover accident. Since the cargo is improperly loaded or secured, the chances of it falling off the vehicle during an accident are high. This falling cargo can crush nearby cars or leave a debris field that can cause subsequent, secondary accidents.
Since flatbed trucks do not have the height limitations that traditional tractor-trailer trucks do, cargo can be stacked in ways that do not hinder the truck’s power and weight limits. However, this can create instability and also change the truck’s center of gravity. In these situations, flatbed trucks are much more likely to overturn, again spilling cargo or crushing smaller cars as the truck falls over. These types of serious incidents tend to result in traumatic injuries. Often these injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head, neck, and spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful death
Compensation for Flatbed Truck Accidents
Determining compensation following a truck accident isn’t always easy. Drivers need to remember that trucking companies are for-profit companies. These companies want to keep profit in their pockets, not yours, and serious flatbed truck accident settlements can reach the millions. For this reason, trucking companies employ teams of insurers and attorneys to work on their behalf. They are counting on you to deal with them on your own, which makes it easier to get away with making you a low-ball offer that may not even come close to covering all of your expenses.
What can you expect in the way of compensation after a serious flatbed truck accident? The answer depends on the severity of the accident, who was liable for causing the accident, and a variety of other factors. In general, a victim may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Current and future medical bills related to the accident
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Drivers must also be aware that the trucking company may not be the only party responsible for covering damages after an accident. Third parties can also be held accountable for certain types of accidents. How? Take, for example, an accident caused by shifting or improperly loaded cargo. The company or team responsible for securing that cargo may bear some responsibility for causing the accident. The same may be true for an accident that results from defective parts. The manufacturer of the defective part can be liable in some situations.
An experienced attorney is able to review the circumstances of the accident, conduct an independent investigation, and get to the bottom of who should be held responsible for the accident. In some situations, multiple parties can all bear responsibility and therefore contribute to the victim’s compensation.
Before you agree to anything, get the opinion of an experienced and skilled flatbed truck accident attorney. Having an attorney on your side increases your chances of recovering the maximum amount of compensation that you are due. An attorney will also be able to protect your rights and give you a better understanding of what your case may be worth. Don’t take the word of the trucking company or their insurer. Talk to a seasoned attorney.
Let Our Team Help You After a New Jersey Flatbed Truck Accident
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious flatbed truck accident, it may take an experienced attorney to help get you the compensation you deserve. Don’t be bullied or pressured into taking an offer you don’t understand or don’t feel comfortable with. Talk to an experienced New Jersey lawyer with Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers first. We can review your situation and help hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
If you want help recovering the compensation you deserve, contact the team at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers. A member of our team is standing by to take your call and answers your questions. We even offer a free legal consultation to help get you started. Call us today at (973) 364-8300, and let’s work together to seek the compensation you deserve.