A commercial motor vehicle is any type of vehicle used for transporting goods or paying passengers. Commercial vehicles include large trucks, charter buses, taxi cabs, public buses, and tour buses. The majority of commercial vehicles are large trucks and buses and these types of vehicles tend to cause severe injuries and damages in collisions because of their size and weight. These large vehicles present unique dangers such as buses’ propensity to roll over in accidents and large trucks’ propensity to lose control and jackknife when they are forced to brake suddenly at high speeds.
Liability can be complicated in commercial vehicle accidents because there are different parties involved in commercial vehicles and sometimes more than one party may be responsible for an accident. Parties that may be at fault include the commercial vehicle driver, the driver’s employer, the commercial vehicle owner, a third party contractor, the commercial vehicle manufacturer, or the driver of another vehicle involved in the collision. And insurance companies for each of those parties may be involved as well.
There are federal and state rules and regulations for commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles are heavily regulated in order to keep people safe including drivers, passengers, and other people sharing the road with commercial vehicles. Rules and regulations related to commercial vehicles include vehicle maintenance, special licensing requirements, safety training, drive hour limitations, driver background checks including criminal activity and driving history, vehicle registration, hazardous materials transport, and driving history.
Hiring a commercial vehicle accident attorney
You may wonder if you need to hire an attorney, especially if you are already fielding calls from insurance companies wanting to discuss settlements. The fact is, if you think insurance companies are going to offer you an amount that covers all of your injuries and damages, you are probably mistaken. Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible for their claims and they often want to settle quickly before you higher an attorney and before you discover the extent of your injuries and damages. An attorney will help you in the following ways:
- Help determine liability, especially when there are a number of possible defendants.
- Investigate compliance with the above mentioned rules and regulations.
- Gather facts and evidence that support your case including any noncompliance with regulations that help support a claim of negligence.
- Help you determine the extent of your injuries and damages including hiring medical experts to conduct an independent medical exam. Attorneys will help you see the big picture to consider the short term, but also your future financial expenses which may include long term care, future lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and ongoing medical bills.
- Present your case to insurance companies in negotiations so they understand and appreciate their liability exposure. Insurance companies do not like to take their chances with jury awards.
- Take your case to trial when insurance companies are offering unreasonable settlements that do not fairly compensate you.