What If I Crash While Crossing a NJ Bridge or Overpass?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on February 5, 2024  in Car Accident News. Updated on February 26, 2024

sunset image of the Ben Franklin BridgeBridge and overpass crashes may happen due to many types of negligence. For example, a driver traveling too fast on a bridge during winter may hit a patch of black ice. The driver in this situation could quickly lose control and hit one or more nearby vehicles. If you get into a crash while crossing a bridge or overpass in New Jersey, who may be liable for your damages?

At Lynch Law Firm, PC, we have helped victims injured in many different types of crashes, and we have recovered millions in compensation for their damages.

Below we discuss more about accidents that happen on bridges and overpasses, including some of the most common causes and who may be liable for your medical costs, lost wages and other damages.

If you suffer injuries caused by another driver’s negligence, we have a team of experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers committed to helping you. Contact our law offices as soon after your crash as possible. Your initial case review is completely free, and there are no upfront costs if we represent you.

Request a FREE case review today. (800) 518-0508

What Are Some Common Causes of Bridges and Overpass Crashes in New Jersey?

Common causes of crashes on bridges and overpasses include:

  • Driver negligence, such as speeding, reckless behavior, going too fast for the weather
  • Defective, weak, absent or poorly designed bridge barriers or guardrails
  • Black ice, snow, rain and other types of weather that may make the roads unsafe
  • Poorly maintained vehicles, such as a tire blowout on a commercial truck
  • Bridges that collapse due to poor maintenance or faulty engineering
  • Badly designed on-ramps where vehicles enter or exit a bridge

Who May Be Liable for a Crash on a Bridge or Overpass?

First responders and crash scene investigators will need to determine who or what caused the crash. Since New Jersey is a no-fault state, you will need to seek compensation through your car insurance first, regardless of who caused the crash.

That said, determining liability is still vital to your claim. If your injuries are severe, you may be able to claim additional pain and suffering damages. Liable parties may include:

  • Negligent motorists
  • Truck driver and/or their company
  • Local or state agencies if poor maintenance led to the crash
  • And others

What Are Some of the Biggest Crash Risks on an Overpass or Bridge?

Crashes can happen anywhere. But on a bridge or overpass, space is more confined. There are also unique circumstances that can increase the risk of a crash, such as:

Bridge Barrier Side Impact Crashes

Guardrails are intended to help prevent vehicles from going over the side of bridges and overpasses. However, these barriers may not always be strong enough. Some vehicles are too big and heavy, such as large commercial trucks. Even if the barriers hold, the occupants of these vehicles can sustain serious injuries in a side-impact collision.

Bridge Multi-Vehicle Chain Reaction Crashes

Bridges, and especially overpasses are smaller areas, which can increase the risk of a multi-vehicle chain reaction crash. A distracted driver speeding across a bridge, for instance, may end up rear-ending another vehicle, forcing it into another one. Unfortunately, because the space is more confined, there is very little room to be able to take evasive driving actions to avoid a crash.

Vehicles Forced Over a Bridge or Overpass in a Crash

An especially dangerous crash risk on a bridge or overpass is where one vehicle hits another, forcing it over a bridge or overpass. Depending on the location, size and age of a bridge, drivers could be forced into a body of water or another road.

Overpasses are especially dangerous in winter as they freeze up faster than major roadways during a storm. Even in warmer weather, they can become slick during light or heavy rainfall.

Bridge or Overpass Collapse

While much less likely to occur, there have been crashes caused by bridge or overpass collapses in New Jersey. The Burlington County Route 70 bridge in New Jersey is a well-known bridge collapse that occured in July 2004. This incident was the result of flooding caused by over 13 inches of rainfall in a single 24-hour period.

More recently, New Jersey commuters were impacted by the frequently-traveled I-95 bridge collapse in northeast Philly that happened in June 2023. This collapse was caused by the intense heat of a semi-truck tanker fire that happened below the bridge.

What If You Are Involved in an Out-of-State Bridge Crash?

Filing a claim for damages can seem confusing if, for instance, you are a New Jersey driver and crash while crossing into Philly from the Ben Franklin Bridge.

New Jersey drivers involved in out-of-state crashes often have questions about this situation, such as:

  • In which state and court do I file a claim?
  • Do I need a New Jersey lawyer or a Pennsylvania lawyer?
  • Which statute of limitations may apply?

Fortunately in this situation, both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a two-year filing deadline. Both states are also choice no-fault insurance states. What this means is that your personal injury protection insurance covers the costs of any medical treatment you need initially. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also be able to file for non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. If you find yourself in this situation, you may still be able to file a claim against the at-fault party for these damages.

Your claim would have to be filed in the state where it occurred. So if you are a Pennsylvania driver and your crash happened on the New Jersey side, you should seek legal help from a New Jersey attorney.

How Can I Avoid Being Involved in a Crash on a New Jersey Bridge or Overpass?

You can reduce your risk of being involved in a crash on a New Jersey bridge or overpass by driving defensively. What this means is taking your legal duty as a driver seriously by:

  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Staying alert for potential hazards, such as a speeding driver
  • Being aware of weather and road conditions and adjusting your driving accordingly
  • Following traffic laws (i.e. not speeding, tailgating and other types of reckless driving behaviors that could lead to a crash)
  • Putting more distance between you and other drivers who are going too fast, weaving in and out of lanes, or engaging in other unsafe driving behaviors

Contact Our Trusted Personal Injury Law Firm Today

At Lynch Law Firm, PC, our number one priority is client satisfaction. We work tirelessly every day to hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions and recover the full compensation our clients need to move forward.

Not sure if you have a case? Call our law office to request a FREE case review. We can review your situation, answer your legal questions and determine if you may have a case. There is zero cost for this. There is also no upfront cost if you choose our firm to represent you. We only get paid if we win your case and recover compensation either through a settlement or jury-awarded verdict.

Deadlines apply so be sure you call for legal help soon after your crash.

Experienced Lawyers Fighting for You. (800) 518-0508

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

Trusted By:

  • trusted by sponsors
  • trusted by sponsors
  • trusted by sponsors
  • trusted by sponsors
*No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court.