Two individuals lost their lives after a tractor-trailer veered into the shoulder of Interstate 295 in New Jersey over the weekend. According to news reports, the alleged intoxicated tractor-trailer driver, Eduardo Villasenor-Aguilar, was driving a Freightliner tractor-trailer when it veered into the right shoulder, hitting two individuals who were working on a Honda Civic that was stopped on the shoulder. Villasenor-Aguilar was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated.
A tragedy like this can easily have been prevented and leaves many questioning what is next for the victims’ families. What are their rights?
What Are The Legal Rights For The Truck Accident Victims?
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed at the hands of an intoxicated truck driver, it’s important to reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney to fight for your rights, the sooner, the better. Here’s why.
The employment status of the driver will determine who you can seek damages from. If the driver is employed by a trucking company, in many cases, you can press charges against the company itself, as they are often held liable for the actions of their employees. However, if the driver is an independent contractor, you may be able to sue that individual directly. Also, keep in mind that the trucking company will argue the employee was acting outside the scope of his/her employment, making the company not vicariously liable for the driver’s conduct. This is why an experienced attorney who has faced the trucking companies in court and know their tricks is needed for a claim such as this.
Remember, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations to file a truck accident lawsuit is two years and although that seems a lengthy period of time, the sooner the act, the better. While the family is in mourning, the trucking company already has its experts and lawyers on the accident scene, collecting all the evidence to mount a defense against any possible lawsuit.
This is why you need help. Fellerman & Ciarimboli is here for you.
When A Truck Driver is Intoxicated
While we depend on truck drivers to deliver essential goods across the country, it is an unfortunate reality that in some cases, these drivers are not abiding by the rules of the road. While in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and many parts of the country, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08%, commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard, being found guilty of a DUI at a level of only .04%. For many, this can mean drinking one beer would result in a legal charge.
Not only is driving while intoxicated illegal, but it is also prohibited to:
- Be in a commercial vehicle
- Wait at a terminal or facility
- Inspect or service a commercial vehicle
- Load or unload a vehicle
- Repair a disabled vehicle
Statistics show that less than 4% of truck accident fatalities on U.S. roadways in 2017 involved an impaired truck driver. However, for that 4% of families impacted by such incidents, that number is far too high.
Common Impaired Truck Driver Accidents
Because alcohol causes a delayed reaction time, there are a variety of accidents that can occur as a result of a driver drinking while on the job. These accidents include:
- Blindspot accidents
- Head-on and run-off-road collisions
- Rollovers and rear-end collisions
Any of these incidents can result in severe injury and even death. That’s why you need a strong legal team with a proven track record of success in truck driving accidents.
Contact Our Nationwide Truck Accident Lawyers Today
With Fellerman & Ciarimboli, know your case is our top priority. Board-certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) in truck accident law, partner Ed Ciarimboli has decades of experience fighting for the rights of truck accident victims throughout the nation. As former catastrophic injury counsel to one of the largest delivery companies in the world, Senior Trial Counsel Michael J. O’Neill has litigated catastrophic trucking and commercial motor vehicle cases in over 30 states and knows how these companies operate.
Contact the nationwide truck accident law firm of Fellerman & Ciarimboli today for a free consultation.