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Residing in Cherry Hill often means sharing the road with big commercial trucks. Tractor-trailer drivers don’t just navigate local highways. They crisscross the city, delivering goods or passing through to nearby destinations.
These massive vehicles can, unfortunately, put your safety and the safety of your passengers at risk. When truckers become distracted or simply lose control of their vehicles, their actions have devastating consequences. Even at city road speed limits, a single tractor-trailer crash has the power to cause serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries.
If you’re a truck accident survivor, you’ve likely been through emergency treatment, extended hospitalizations, a difficult recovery, and long-term disabilities. You’ve lost income at a time when medical bills were already causing a rift in your financial wellbeing.
Console & Associates is proud to serve as a resource for the Cherry Hill community when a negligent truck driver causes a serious injury. If you have endured losses due to a trucker’s negligent actions, speak with our dedicated Cherry Hill truck accident attorneys as soon as possible.
At Console & Associates, we believe that when a negligent trucker injures you, he or she should take responsibility for the damage they cause. We’ve always believed that every injured person deserves compassionate legal representation. When our clients were seriously injured and anxious about their future, we have never let them face a trucking company or an insurance company alone.
Since 1994, we have stood up for our Cherry Hill clients against even the largest insurers and trucking companies. We have represented our Cherry Hill neighbors’ interests and fought passionately to recover the damages they deserve under the law.
A commercial trucking accident is usually more complicated than a private passenger vehicle crash. When a trucker injures someone, more than one person or entity often shares responsibility for the accident. Contracts and formal arrangements sometimes determine which of those entities must pay. Our attorneys have uncovered these important facts early in our investigations. We’ve identified each negligent party, placed them on notice, and included them in our legal actions.
We have always believed in working closely with our injured clients and their families. We have helped them coordinate their care, work through anxieties over complex legal issues, and determine which party should pay their medical bills. We’ve taken our time to get to know each injured client and their family. Our close working relationships have allowed us to better understand their injuries and disabilities. We have learned how profoundly their experiences have changed their lives.
Our attorneys have always understood that a settlement could never cure our clients’ injuries or trauma. However, we work tirelessly for maximum damage recoveries because we’ve seen how a positive financial award helps our clients get their lives back on track.
At Console & Associates, our attorneys have continually focused on our clients’ needs. When possible, we’ve resolved their cases by working directly with responsible parties, their insurers, and their defense attorneys. We’ve negotiated aggressively and settled our clients’ cases fairly and reasonably. When necessary, our attorneys have continued negotiations during settlement conferences and mediation.
Despite our sincere efforts, we couldn’t always settle our clients’ cases outside the courtroom. That’s why our attorneys lay the groundwork for litigation during the early stages of our investigations. We prepare cases for court from day one, because sometimes a trial is the only reasonable alternative.
As each case has unique circumstances, we can’t promise a specific result based on past cases.
However, we are proud to share some of our past case results. We believe that they document how hard we fight on behalf of our injured clients.
A trucker’s actions or inactions might cause a large truck to lose control, but its weight and mass ultimately cause the damage.
The average private passenger vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds—just a fraction of what a large truck may weigh. Despite steel-reinforced passenger compartments, seat belts, and airbags, vehicle occupants remain vulnerable during a large truck crash.
Even at low speeds, a large truck usually causes massive damage upon impact. The force shatters glass, crushes metal, and often destroys smaller vehicles.
The force of a crash isn’t the only risk. Trucks traveling through Cherry Hill often carry gasoline, chemicals, flammable liquids, and other hazardous cargo. During a crash, these substances provide the added risk of fire or chemical exposure, putting injured victims in even more jeopardy.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration places tractor-trailer rigs and many other trucks in the large truck/heavy truck category. This designation means that a truck has a minimum 10,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating.
Based on the NHTSA’s Large Truck data, 75 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes weighed more than 26,000 pounds. This weight places a truck in NHTSA’s heavy truck category.
Depending on a truck’s dimensions and axles, heavy trucks can weigh over 80,000 pounds and remain in compliance with New Jersey and federal weight restrictions.
The large/heavy truck category includes more than just tractor-trailer rigs. The Federal Highway Administration lists vehicles that fit this category based on their weight and class.
Every day Cherry Hill drivers encounter garbage trucks, utility trucks, moving vans, and other large trucks on city streets and in their neighborhoods. Each has the mass, weight, and capability to cause serious damage and injuries.
As commercial vehicle operators, truckers must maintain higher professional standards than most other drivers.
Some truck accidents occur because truckers engage in the same bad behaviors as other drivers.
When the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration conducted a Truck Crash Causation Study several years ago, it identified these accident factors:
The NHTSA found that speed wasn’t necessarily a factor in many trucking accidents, but long stopping distance is a constant problem. At highway speeds, when a trucker applies the brakes, a tractor-trailer rig travels the length of two football fields before coming to a stop. Stopping is even more difficult in snow, rain, or other inclement weather.
When a shipper loads or secures cargo improperly, a sudden shift sometimes causes an accident.
Ninety-one people died in large truck accidents in New Jersey in one recent year. Five of those fatalities occurred in the Cherry Hill area, as did numerous severe injuries.
These large/heavy truck crashes sometimes involve multiple vehicles and numerous occupants. When a truck crashes into a private passenger vehicle, the occupants have a minimal chance of avoiding serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries.
Survivors may spend their lives undergoing long-term treatment for disabling injuries and permanent conditions.
Under New Jersey law, truck drivers are responsible for damages they cause when they negligently operate a vehicle. A trucker is responsible for operating a commercial truck safely, complying with weight requirements, and maintaining compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service rule.
When an accident involves a commercial truck, other people or entities often share responsibility for the damages.
A Cherry Hill truck accident claim may include economic damages and non-economic damages. New Jersey courts also award punitive damages under certain circumstances.
Economic damages include the injured person’s total out-of-pocket costs. If a plaintiff is still undergoing treatment or lacks a specific prognosis, an economic expert often projects future economic damages for a settlement or judgment.
Economic damages may include:
A non-economic award considers damages based on the injured person’s subjective pain, as well as psychological, emotional, and lifestyle complications.
These damages sometimes include:
In some circumstances, New Jersey courts award punitive damages under N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.9, the Punitive Damages Act. A plaintiff’s lawsuit must ask for punitive damages. A plaintiff must also prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that a defendant’s acts or omissions were “actuated by actual malice or accompanied by a wanton and willful disregard of persons who foreseeably might be harmed.”
Some truckers begin constructing a defense as soon as an accident occurs. They rarely admit fault and sometimes report claims to their insurers as no-liability incidents. Insurers frequently follow suit. They often begin their investigations based on a no-liability premise. Regardless of what they determine during an investigation, they will certainly attempt to save money during negotiations.
Some commercial entities purchase policies that make them responsible for a substantial portion of a claim. When the insurer settles the claim, the insured reimburses them for the amounts paid. Because the insured has a high-dollar interest, they often influence an insurer’s negotiation and settlement position.
When a self-insured trucking company pays a claim, the settlement funds come from their own financial resources. This often affects settlement negotiations, as any payments come directly from the company’s bottom line.
Some commercial entities execute contracts where one entity agrees to defend, protect, and indemnify another. While this does not eliminate a defendant’s liability when an accident occurs, such an agreement forces one party to defend and reimburse damages claimed against another.
When insurers negotiate unfairly, they understand that it may force plaintiffs to file a lawsuit. When a plaintiff’s law firm doesn’t have the resources to effectively try a case, they often settle for a lower amount.
Insurance companies may also try cases seeking a more favorable verdict than a plaintiff may accept before trial. Even when the liability is clear, defense attorneys cite affirmative defenses, hoping to result in a low-dollar-value judgment. They often sow doubt about a plaintiff’s damages to argue that the injuries aren’t as serious as claimed or that they pre-dated the accident.
At Console and Associates, we have the resources to fight back against big trucking companies that try to intimidate our clients. We investigate our clients’ cases carefully, so we know who’s responsible and what negligent truckers and trucking companies owe our clients. We know what it takes to win at trial, and we’re not afraid to present a case to a judge and jury if that’s the best way to get our clients the money they deserve. Call us if a trucking company refuses to treat you fairly—or seems too eager to offer a settlement.
Since 1994, Console & Associates has secured numerous settlements and judgments while overcoming the opposition’s creative defense strategies. We’ve relied on our resources, experience, and passion, and prepared our clients’ cases for a strong presentation during negotiations, mediation, and trials. We fight tirelessly to produce the best outcomes possible for our injured Cherry Hill clients.
When a truck accident injures you, you need skilled, compassionate attorneys to protect your legal interests. When you contact our personal injury law firm for a free consultation, we can listen to your story and help determine the best path forward for you and your loved ones. Reach out to us at (856) 406-4440 or complete our contact form at Console & Associates online.