Commercial vehicles such as trucks and tractor trailers are typically much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles such as automobiles. In addition, regardless of their size and weight, commercial vehicles and tractor trailers can be carrying toxic or potentially flammable substances in significant amounts. Consequently, whenever there is a collision involving a commercial vehicle or tractor trailer the results can be very grave or even catastrophic.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, there were 3,921 fatalities in accidents involving a large truck in the United States in 2012, up from 3,781 such deaths in 2011. In addition, there were 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks in 2012, up from 88,000 the year before. Unfortunately, in accidents involving a commercial vehicle and other vehicles, the odds are heavily stacked against the latter. Indeed, in 2012, of all people who died in crashes involving a large truck, 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles and another 10 percent were non-occupants of a vehicle.
In New Jersey, individuals who operate commercial vehicles must abide by specific protocols concerning method of operation, hours of operation and parking of their vehicles. Commercial vehicle operators must obtain a special license, typically known as a CDL, which requires vehicle operators to apprise themselves of the rules and regulations governing commercial vehicles. Prior to operating a commercial vehicle, an individual must also pass a commercial driver’s license exam before being allowed to lawfully operate that vehicle. In addition, an individual is responsible for ensuring that their commercial vehicle has been inspected for potential hazards.
In most cases a commercial vehicle is operated by a driver who is in the employ of a company, which often is the owner of that vehicle. In such cases, it is important to determine if a commercial vehicle that has become involved in an accident was being operated in the scope of employment for a company. If so, under the doctrine of vicarious liability known as respondent superior, the employer would be fully and automatically responsible for any negligence on the part of the driver.
When to Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Camden County, NJ
Regardless of the ownership status of the vehicle, if an individual or company has failed to properly inspect their commercial vehicle or follow the relevant laws of the state of New Jersey and causes an accident, the victims may be entitled to compensation. If you or a loved one finds yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of suffering an injury in an accident involving a commercial vehicle or tractor trailer in South Jersey or metropolitan Philadelphia, you will find no greater legal resource to help you than the experienced truck accident lawyers at Petrillo & Goldberg Law.