Camden County Truck Accidents Caused by Unsafe Lane Changes
Lane changes by trucks can be intentional, such as when a driver merges, passes, or attempts to turn, or unintentional, like when a trucker drifts out of their lane into the paths of other vehicles. Particularly in the latter case, these lane change maneuvers are often not performed safely by truck drivers, potentially resulting in Camden County truck accidents caused by unsafe lane changes.
Due to the sheer size and weight of a truck, the injuries sustained by the driver of a passenger vehicle in a crash can be severe. If you are hurt in a truck accident caused by an unsafe lane change, a qualified truck accident attorney could help you recover damages for your losses.
Common Causes of Unsafe Lane Change Accidents
Various factors can affect the likelihood of a lane change/merge (LCM) crash. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the top contributing factor is driver distraction. In fact, not only did the subject vehicle driver did not see the other vehicle before impact in most cases studied, but a majority of the time no avoidance maneuver was initiated.
Other causes of Camden County truck accidents caused by unsafe lane changes include aggressive driving, failure to yield, fatigue, and speeding. Often, truck drivers are on tight schedules, and these time pressures may cause them to drive more aggressively to reach their destination sooner. In the same vein, many truck accidents stem from a truck driver failing to yield to other traffic before a lane change. Sometimes, the error is caused because they did not check their blind spot.
As with other types of truck accidents, fatigue can impact a driver’s abilities. Specifically, it can result in slower reaction times and decreased concentration, which can contribute to unsafe lane change. Finally, changing lanes when traveling at a high rate of speed can be especially dangerous.
In an accident involving a truck, many parties could be liable for injuries sustained by victims, including the driver, company they work for, and the vehicle manufacturer. In order to have a claim, a plaintiff must establish fault on the part of the defendant or defendants.
Most truck accident cases involve a claim of negligence. Truck drivers on the roads have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner to avoid injuries, and when they do not, a plaintiff may have a cause of action for negligence.
To establish that a driver is negligent in a truck crash, a plaintiff must prove four elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached the duty
- The defendant’s breach of their duty caused the accident
- The plaintiff suffered monetary damages
Like many states, New Jersey follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which means that if a plaintiff’s own negligence also contributed to the damages incurred, they can still recover as long as they are not found to be more than 50 percent at fault. The amount of damage recoverable, however, will be reduced proportionately by the percentage of the plaintiff’s negligence.
Recoverable Damages in Truck Accident Cases
Victims of Camden County truck accidents caused by unsafe lane changes may seek compensatory damages, which are intended to make the plaintiff whole following an accident. These types of damages include medical expenses, property damage, loss of income, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
In addition, a court may assign punitive damages under New Jersey’s Punitive Damages Act in order to punish a defendant found to have behaved in a particularly egregious manner. Punitive damages in New Jersey are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, whichever is greater.
Consulting a Camden County Truck Accident Attorney
Camden County truck accidents caused by unsafe lane changes can have fatal consequences. If you suffer an injury in an accident caused by a truck driver’s unsafe lane change, you should not have to pay for someone else’s careless behavior. An experienced Camden County truck accident attorney could help you understand your rights—and fight for them. Call today.