It’s Not Just About Size: What’s Different About Truck Accidents?
Size absolutely matters when it comes to truck accidents. However, that’s not the only thing. There are other considerations about big rig crashes that make them different than other motor vehicle accidents. Those dissimilarities can be significant when it comes to making a negligence claim for personal injury.
Transportation of goods is a booming business in New Jersey. In Jersey City alone, you can spot a number of tractor trailers on Routes 1 and 9 and the New Jersey Turnpike. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about running into them at either tunnel. Commercial vehicles with four axles or more are prohibited in both the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.
So, what’s so different about becoming involved in a trucking accident as opposed to a car collision? Obviously, the first thing is the intimidating size of a big rig. One respected resource estimates the weight of the largest passenger vehicles at under 5,000 pounds. An unloaded tractor-trailer can be as heavy as 25,000 pounds. To top it off, a big rig filled to capacity could weigh up to 50,000 pounds.
And, of course, a truck’s length can dwarf even the largest van or SUV. This means it takes longer to brake and it is more difficult to negotiate turns.
For now, let’s put the size issue aside. You need to know the different insurance issues that arise from a truck accident. If you have been injured in a truck accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the claims process.
Truck Accident Insurance Considerations
First and foremost is taking care of medical treatment for your injuries. If you were in a collision with an automobile, you would more than likely seek medical bill payment from the Personal Injury Protection portion of your car insurance policy. However, that insurance only covers accidents with automobiles. NJSA 39:6A-2 defines automobiles as follows:
“Automobile” means a private passenger automobile of a private passenger or station wagon type that is owned or hired and is neither used as a public or livery conveyance for passengers nor rented to others with a driver; and a motor vehicle with a pickup body, a delivery sedan, a van, or a panel truck or a camper type vehicle used for recreational purposes owned by an individual or by husband and wife who are residents of the same household, not customarily used in the occupation, profession or business of the insured other than farming or ranching. An automobile owned by a farm family copartnership or corporation, which is principally garaged on a farm or ranch and otherwise meets the definitions contained in this section, shall be considered a private passenger automobile owned by two or more relatives resident in the same household.
Since a truck doesn’t fall into this category, what does this mean as far as securing payment for medical bills? Hopefully, the injured party or someone in his or her family purchased Extended Medical coverage as part of the insurance policy. Bills would be submitted through that avenue or passed on to health insurance.
In many cases, drivers of passenger vehicles have limited their right to sue to save money on their automobile insurance coverage. You may want to take a look at our article that describes the verbal threshold in more detail.
In short, the limitation on lawsuit option only allows injury victims to recover for non-economic losses under certain restrictions. Notwithstanding, the verbal threshold does not apply to collisions where the driver at fault was operating a commercial vehicle.
Were you injured in an accident with a truck? At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have represented a number of parties involved in collisions with big rigs. Give our office a call to set up a meeting to learn how we can assist you.