If an accident with a moving truck left you with serious injuries, the road to recovery might not be a smooth one. You’re in pain, your family is facing a huge financial burden, and insurers are arguing about who has to pay.
What you really need right now is someone on your side. A New Jersey truck accident lawyer can help you sort this out and get the money you deserve without charging you any upfront fees.
For a U-Haul accident case in New Jersey, you want an attorney with experience handling motor vehicle claims in general and truck accident claims in particular. You have more important things to worry about. An attorney can deal with the insurance company so you can focus on getting better.
Just how common are accidents with moving trucks? You might be surprised.
U-Haul accidents can cause severe injuries and extensive property damage. They are especially dangerous when the large trucks, vans, and trailers collide with small passenger vehicles.
Part of what makes a rental truck crash so dangerous is the size of the vehicle.
The average passenger car weighs in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. That’s just a fraction of the size of a moving truck. U-Haul’s largest vehicle, a 26-foot truck meant for moving four or more bedrooms worth of stuff, weighs 12,600 pounds when empty.
At full capacity, it’s a 20,000-pound giant with the potential to obliterate any passenger car in its path.
What makes things worse is the driver behind the wheel of this ten-ton vehicle. At least tractor-trailers are in the hands of experienced drivers with a commercial driving license (CDL). Not so for massive rental trucks. All you need to get behind the wheel of a massive U-Haul rental truck is a valid driver’s license. No additional training in handling large vehicles is required.
Driving an enormous truck like this is a completely different experience from driving a passenger car. The truck is longer, wider, and heavier.
Changing lanes takes a good deal of extra space. Turns are wider. Stopping a vehicle this size requires significantly more time.
Drivers who operate a large moving truck untrained and unprepared might find it hard to judge how much space they need to merge, turn, or stop. A simple miscalculation is all it takes to cause a devastating accident.
Most moving truck accidents happen because someone is negligent. A careless or reckless action behind the wheel, or under the hood, can set the stage for a serious collision.
Some of the factors that most frequently cause accidents with U-Haul trucks include:
There’s no question that driver distraction can be deadly. But when that inattentive driver is operating a huge moving truck, the vehicle’s size only amplifies the risks.
Some distractions are particularly common among the drivers of U-Haul trucks. The drivers of moving vans are often unfamiliar with the area and may be searching for an address or adjusting a GPS or phone navigation system instead of keeping their eyes on the road. If the move is a group effort, cell phone distraction can be a concern, as well.
Driving an unfamiliar and much larger vehicle requires the driver’s full concentration, and too many motorists make the mistake of choosing this crucial time to multitask.
High speeds don’t just make your vehicle harder to control. They can also make the impact of a crash far worse. That’s particularly true when the vehicle in question is a ten-ton oversized truck.
It’s not only that the high speed can contribute to losing control of a truck. As a matter of fact, speeding while towing a U-Haul trailer can actually cause the trailer to sway dangerously. No matter what the posted speed limit may be, driving faster than 45 miles per hour with a trailer attached can be dangerous, according to the Los Angeles Times.
U-Haul drivers and passengers had suffered serious brain injuries or even died when a swinging trailer or dolly sent their vehicle lurching out of control, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Having a celebratory beer or a glass of champagne in your new home should wait until the U-Haul has been safely returned. But you would be surprised how often drunk driving plays a part in rental truck crashes, particularly fatal ones.
More than 11 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in NJ in 2019 qualified as legally drunk, the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) reported. If you suspect the U-Haul driver who struck you had been drinking, a New Jersey truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.
Changing lanes in a large moving truck isn’t easy. That’s all the more reason the operators of these vehicles need to use caution when attempting it.
Moving truck drivers can’t just haphazardly weave between lanes and expect other drivers to avoid them somehow. Yet that’s exactly what some U-Haul drivers do, and it’s dangerous.
Misjudging how much space it will take to change lanes safely can cause a chain reaction that leads to a multi-car crash.
Large vehicles often need to make wide turns. But, unused to the maneuver, a U-Haul driver may forget or underestimate how much space the vehicle needs.
When this happens, the giant moving truck could crash directly into a car that’s stopped at a traffic light or one that has the right of way.
Does having a bigger vehicle give drivers permission to seize the right of way from the drivers of smaller cars? Too many drivers behind the wheel of large moving trucks seem to think so.
While everyone on the road should practice defensive driving, there’s a big difference between being aware of your surroundings and predicting that a massive U-Haul truck will come barreling toward you out of nowhere.
These are the accidents even the most careful motorist can’t avoid. And they’re often some of the most dangerous, resulting in head-on collisions and spinning or flipping cars.
Driver error is what causes many U-Haul crashes. However, sometimes it’s not the driver’s fault when a moving truck loses control. A mechanical failure can cause a catastrophic loss of power. Tires, brakes, and even engines can malfunction, with terrible consequences.
You may not be sure, in the immediate aftermath of the crash, what the cause was. That’s okay. A U-Haul truck accident lawyer can investigate and find out. By studying the police report, talking to witnesses, and digging deeper, your attorney can get to the bottom of what caused the accident.
An accident is expensive. When that accident involved a massive U-Haul moving truck, the costs often include totaled or badly damaged vehicles and severe injuries.
If you’re facing a major financial burden like this, you naturally want to know who is responsible for paying these expenses.
When the driver of the U-Haul truck is liable, or legally at fault, for the crash, you can pursue a claim against that motorist.
But a truck accident claim can be complicated, especially when it involves a rental truck like a U-Haul. One reason these cases can get so complex is because of questionable insurance coverage.
The driver of a rented U-Haul vehicle is civilly liable for any damage they cause in a car accident. You could seek compensation through that driver’s personal auto insurance policy.
The problem that victims injured by U-Haul drivers encounter is that the at-fault driver may have low coverage limits on their personal insurance policy. Their coverage may not be enough to compensate you for the full extent of the harm you suffered. You can seek additional compensation through your own underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, but again, you can’t get more than the policy limits cover.
In some cases, you might be able to seek compensation through U-Haul’s insurer instead. U-Haul offers its own coverage, which it calls Safemove and Safemove Plus. Drivers who purchase Safemove Plus have $1,000,000 worth of liability coverage for any property damage, bodily injury, or personal injury lawsuits that result from an accident they cause with the rental truck.
If a U-Haul driver who caused the accident purchased this coverage when renting the vehicle, you don’ have to worry about the policy limits of that driver’s personal auto insurance policy. You can seek a settlement for your damages – up to a million dollars – directly from U-Haul’s insurance coverage.
Alternatively, if mechanical failure is what caused the crash, your case would be against U-Haul rather than the other driver. The rental company is the one responsible for maintaining the vehicles in safe working order. Situations might also arise in which the manufacturer of the vehicle or its parts was negligent, producing defective or malfunctioning products.
How do you know which U-Haul accident insurance coverage to go through when seeking compensation for your moving truck accident claim?
What happens if the insurers deny the claim or argue about who should pay?
And what if the driver who caused the U-Haul collision has no insurance at all?
You shouldn’t have to stress over insurance coverage at a time like this. You’re supposed to be focusing on getting better.
So, let your lawyers for a U-Haul truck accident deal with the insurers and figure out this situation for you. You deserve every dollar of compensation you’re entitled to, and having an attorney on your side to identify all possible sources of insurance coverage can help you get it.
New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning your own auto insurer is the one who pays for your medical bills no matter who caused the crash. Unfortunately, this means that you personally will be on the hook for paying some of these costs.
New Jersey auto insurance policies include both a deductible and copayments.
The deductible is the amount of money you must pay toward your medical bills before your insurance benefits kick in. You choose this deductible when you set up your auto insurance policy. Your deductible could be as low as $250 or as high as $2,500. Paying your deductible is all your responsibility, even though the accident wasn’t your fault. Some health insurance policies will contribute toward your deductible, but that varies from one policy to another.
The copayments are the portions of the medical bills you have to pay while your insurer is paying the claim. You will have to contribute 20 percent of the first $5,000 of medical bills, minus your deductible.
Depending on your auto insurance choices, you’ll have to pay at least $1,200, and possibly as much as $3,000, for an accident that’s not your fault.
That’s a pretty steep price to pay when your only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, there’s no way you can get out of it. However unfair it may seem, that’s the way the no-fault auto insurance system works.
This is precisely why you need to pursue a U-Haul truck accident lawsuit. You can’t let someone else’s negligent actions behind the wheel cost you or your family any more than it already has.
What kinds of compensation can you count on a U-Haul truck accident attorney to get for you? Money to cover:
An attorney for a U-Haul accident lawsuit should take into consideration your past and future losses. Will you need more medical care in the future? Could a surgery to treat these injuries somewhere down the line keep you out of work once again?
Victims injured in U-Haul truck accidents are entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Instead of just adding up the figures that represent your financial losses, your lawyer should also calculate the dollar value of the losses that don’t have a clear price, like the pain and suffering you’ve been through.
If you’re wondering about getting your car fixed or replaced, you’re entitled to that compensation, too. A property damage claim is separate from your personal injury claim.
It’s the question every accident victim asks: How much is my case worth?
After all, you’re facing a pretty serious financial hardship. You need to know what to expect from your moving truck accident lawsuit.
The bad news is that there’s no simple answer. Every case is unique, especially when it has the kind of insurance coverage variables involved in a U-Haul accident. Everything from the injuries you suffered to the amount of insurance coverage available will affect the value of your case.
How can you figure out what your case is worth and whether it’s worth pursuing a case at all? You can talk to a moving truck accident attorney who has handled thousands of cases like yours.
Some of the actions attorneys take to build a case like yours for success include:
To get everything you deserve, you’ll need a truck accident lawyer to handle your U-Haul accident claim. But not just any lawyer will do.
Some of the criteria you should look for when choosing a lawyer for a U-Haul accident include:
This last one is particularly important. Hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis means you’ll never have to worry about the financial risks of a U-Haul truck accident lawsuit. You’ll only ever pay for legal representation if your attorney succeeds in getting money for you.
This article was professionally reviewed by Richard P Console Jr, an attorney licensed to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Mr. Console has more than twenty-five years of experience practicing personal injury law and successfully resolving vehicle accident claims on behalf of his clients.
Learn more About Richard P Console Jr.
While this information was reviewed for accuracy, it should not be considered legal advice. Every claim is different. If you are thinking of pursuing a personal injury claim and have a question, contact us directly.