Skilled Lawyers Advocating for Clients with Injuries from Turnpike Accidents in New Jersey
The New Jersey Turnpike, the portion of Interstate 95 that passes through the Garden State, connects major cities, accommodates thousands of commuters, and serves as a vital artery for a significant number of commercial transportation vehicles. Spanning 122 miles, the NJ Turnpike connects the Delaware Memorial Bridge in the southwest of New Jersey all the way up to Bergen County in northeast New Jersey, where it ends at the George Washington Bridge, passing over the Hudson River into New York City. As a major commercial route connecting the Washington DC area to the New York metropolitan area, the Turnpike also acts as a critical connection for commuters between cities like Philadelphia, Trenton, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Newark, Secaucus, Perth Amboy, Fort Lee, and more. As a result, the NJ Turnpike experiences more congestion than many other interstates in America, making it no stranger to the daily danger of car accidents.
Sometimes, these accidents involve inconvenient fender benders, extending the hurried commute of frustrated motorists. Other times, accidents on the NJ Turnpike are very serious in nature and even deadly. Accidents involving high speeds, distracted drivers, or large trucks can result in significant injuries, property damages, and medical bills to victims.
If you ever find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident, you will probably be anxious, stressed, and possibly flustered, among other emotions. It is very helpful to have an idea of what steps you should take immediately following an accident so you don’t forget to protect your physical, financial, and legal interests if that moment ever comes.
Factors Contributing to a High Accident Rate on the NJ Turnpike
The volume of traffic on the NJ Turnpike naturally contributes to the large number of motor vehicle accidents on this roadway, which consistently holds a spot as a highway with the highest number of accidents in New Jersey each year. The constant presence of commercial vehicles on the Turnpike, mixed among the commuters and tourists, contributes to the severity of many NJ Turnpike accidents, with large trucks posing a threat to the smaller vehicles around them. Speeding and distracted driving are two of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents on the Turnpike. When a speeding or distracted driving accident involves a tractor-trailer, semi-truck, or other large commercial vehicle, the resulting injuries to victims can be catastrophic and fatal.
Driver fatigue, especially among long-haul commercial drivers running on little sleep and tight deadlines, is another common cause of accidents on the Turnpike. A driver may doze off or simply lack adequate reaction time due to their fatigue.
Unfortunately, aggressive driving, which can involve a driver weaving in and out of lanes and/or tailgating other vehicles, is another common cause of accidents on the NJ Turnpike. There are numerous exits along the Turnpike with individuals getting on and off the highway and attempting to get over multiple lanes at a time. This can result in accidents if another driver responds in an aggressive manner, the driver misses another car in their blind spot, or cuts off another vehicle that lacks enough time and distances to avoid a collision. Add to this mix drivers texting or looking down at their phones while driving and it is easy to see how there are bountiful opportunities for disaster.
Assessing Injuries Following NJ Turnpike Crashes
As wide as accidents can range in their severity on the Turnpike, the resulting injuries also span the gamut from minor to fatal. The most common injury experienced by an NJ Turnpike accident victim is whiplash. Experiencing a sudden impact, even from a small fender bender or rear-end collision, can result in whip lash to passengers as they are thrown forward and backward with the velocity of the collision. Whiplash can result in neck injuries ranging from a minor neck strain to cervical sprain and herniated disks.
The most severe injuries involving the head and neck are traumatic brain injuries. The vast majority of motor vehicle fatalities involve a TBI, leading to swelling and hemorrhaging that is deadly. Internal injuries like internal bleeding or organ damages, as well as bone fractures are also very common injuries.
Suggested Procedures Post-Collision on the New Jersey Turnpike
Immediately following an accident on the NJ Turnpike, pull over and out of traffic if you can do so safely. Do not worry about keeping your car in exactly the same position to show law enforcement or take photos. The most important thing to do is to minimize any additional risk of harm to yourself, your passengers, or other motorists. If you cannot safely move your vehicle either due to your location, the vehicle being immobilized, or your injuries, then turn on your hazard lights and try to move yourself to safety, even if that means leaving your vehicle.
Your next step should be to call the police. Even if you or your passengers do not have any injuries, a police report will be an important document to have for recovering compensation for your damages. Exchange information with the other driver, including their name, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate number, and insurance information. This information should also be included in the police report. While you are at the scene of the accident, if you are able to do so physically, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and if there were other cars, trucks, motorcycles or vehicles affected, be sure to photograph their damages as well. You’ll also want to have photographic images and evidence of the area where the accident happened. If there is any relevant signage, like a yield sign, take a photo of that too.
If you think there is any chance you may have been injured, even if it is a minor injury, you should also seek medical attention right away. It is not uncommon for injuries to show initial symptoms in the day(s) following an accident. Make sure to report any and all symptoms to your medical professional and request any necessary imaging tests like x-rays, MRI, or CAT scans to document your injuries. If your symptoms or pain change or worse, update your medical professional right away.
Understanding NJ Insurance Options after a Turnpike Accident
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, but that does not mean that you cannot recover damages from an accident caused by the negligence of another driver. Initially, you will process your claim through your insurance. If your policy does not cover the full amount of your damages, then your ability to recover more depends on who was negligent in causing the accident and what type of policy you have. When you take out a car insurance policy in New Jersey, you can choose between a Basic plan and a Standard plan. If you choose a Standard plan, then you will elect either a limited right to sue or an unlimited right to sue. Only individuals who suffered significant injuries can recover damages under a limited right to sue. Significant injuries include disfigurement, permanent injury, loss of a baby in utero, or the death of an injury victim.
On the other hand, if you have a policy with an unlimited right to sue, then there is no limitation on the damages you can collect. You may even be able to recover damages for pain and suffering.
Let Cohen & Riechelson Review Your Claim if You Were Injured in an Accident on the NJ Turnpike
In order to determine if you have a viable claim for compensation, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey personal injury lawyer. At Cohen & Riechelson, our talented legal team of injury attorneys can help you determine which party involved in the accident was negligent in causing the accident and whether you will be able to recover compensation from that individual based on the factors involved in your case, including the details of your insurance policy and evidence of your injuries and damages. If you had an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike in Ridgefield, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Mansfield, Hamilton, Robbinsville, Bordentown, or any other town running through the NJ Turnpike, don’t hesitate to contact our firm. For a complimentary consultation regarding your case, please call us today at (609) 528-2596.