New Jersey residents will often find themselves driving around big rigs, which rightfully make them anxious. An 18-wheeler weighs some 80,000 pounds while the average passenger vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds. Drivers should know that truck accidents are frequently reported. Below are the five most cited reasons for them.

First is driver error, including distracted driving, DUI and fatigued driving. Studies show that errors are on the part of passenger vehicle drivers about 81% of the time. Second is the failure to maintain a vehicle. Truckers are often more negligent in this area since there is a rule that they inspect their rig before a shift and fill out a maintenance report.

The third factor is equipment failure. Of course, this may be linked to irregular maintenance, but it can also be the fault of manufacturers that made a defective part. Truck manufacturers, the company that sold the truck and the installer of that defective part may all be implicated as well.

Inclement weather is the fourth leading cause of accidents as many truckers have little experience driving on wet, snowy and icy roads. Hard braking, in particular, may lead to a jackknifing or hydroplaning incident. Lastly, cargo loaders may cause an accident in which, for instance, the truck tips over because the cargo weight exceeded industry-specific standards.

Whatever their cause, truck crashes can result in catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries. Those who survive a crash and were clearly not at fault may be able to pursue a third-party insurance claim. Since New Jersey is a no-fault state, there are limitations as to who can file a claim, so victims may want to speak with a lawyer before the two-year statute of limitations runs out. An attorney may help with proving the defendant’s negligence or recklessness before negotiations begin.