Tragedy occurred Tuesday, in the early morning hours, when a pedestrian in South Brunswick was hit by two tractor-trailers. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the accident shut down part of Route 1 for nearly five hours and backed up rush-hour traffic almost three miles.
This incident is still under investigation and the name of the victim has yet to be released, but the unfortunate event serves as a reminder of how dangerous semi-trucks can be.
Why Tractor-Trailers Are So Dangerous
Tractor-trailers are large, heavy, and difficult to control. A fully-loaded big rig can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, 20 times the weight of the average car. And because of their heaviness, tractor-trailers require much more time and distance to come to a complete stop than the average passenger vehicle. Traveling at 55 mph on dry pavement and with good brakes, it takes a semi-truck six seconds and nearly two football fields (600 feet, not counting the end zones) to come to a full stop. Considering this, it’s easy to imagine a truck driver being unable to stop in time to avoid a pedestrian or another vehicle.
Another reason semi-trucks can be so dangerous is that many trucking companies encourage their drivers to speed or drive fatigued in order to make deliveries on time. Such practices are illegal, and commercial interests should never put lives in undue danger.
What Families Can Do After a Truck Accident Death
If you lost a loved one in a tractor-trailer accident, whether as a pedestrian or as the occupant of a passenger vehicle, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties.
When a victim’s death is caused by the reckless, negligent, or intentional behavior of another party or parties, the victim’s family can seek compensation for the following losses and damages through a civil lawsuit:
- Funeral and burial costs.
- Hospital bills.
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before death.
- Loss of future income.
- Loss of future benefits, such as medical benefits and retirement.
- Loss of affection, companionship, guidance, marital consortium, etc.
- Loss of household duties the deceased performed, such as childcare, vehicle and property maintenance, bookkeeping, etc.
A tractor-trailer wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated for two main reasons. One, multiple parties may be involved, including the truck’s driver, the owner of the truck, the trucking company, the owner of the freight, the manufacturer of the truck or part of the truck (tires, brakes, etc.), the party charged with maintaining or repairing the truck, and the party charged with designing and maintaining the roadway where the accident occurred. Two, these suits involve large, powerful insurance companies and their lawyers. For a victim’s family to get settlement or verdict they deserve, they’re going to need an experienced legal team to fight for them.
If you have any questions about truck accidents in South Brunswick, please call Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., at (609) 240-0040 for more information.