Somerset County is conveniently located about half way between New York City and Philadelphia and the drive time is about one hour to either city from Somerset County. Because of its proximity to these two major cities, there is a lot of commercial vehicle traffic that makes its way through Somerset County as they transport people and goods from one city to the next. When there is a heavier concentration of commercial vehicles in a particular area, it makes sense that there is also a heavier concentration of commercial vehicle accidents.
Commercial vehicle accident cases are different from car accidents between two passenger vehicles. Commercial vehicle accidents typically involve specially licensed professionals who drive for an employer that is in the business of transporting goods or people. Insurance policies are different for commercial vehicles and their policy limits are often higher. Better coverage is a good thing, but commercial vehicle companies and their insurance carriers also often have more resources (money and attorneys) to protect their interests in an effort to minimize their payouts in settlement agreements and jury awards.
Types of commercial vehicles
A vehicle is designated as commercial when it is used primarily for transporting goods or services for hire, meaning that just about any type of vehicle can be a commercial vehicle, but the most common types of commercial vehicles include the following:
- Public buses and other types of mass transit
- Charter buses
- Shuttle buses
- Long distance carriers such as tractor trailers
- Delivery vehicles
- Taxi cabs
When a commercial vehicle causes an accident, liability may fall on the driver, employer, vehicle owner, or vehicle manufacturer, depending on cause of accident. Liability may fall on more than one of those parties depending on the circumstances of the accident. In some cases, other parties may be liable such as government entities or people responsible for road maintenance when dangerous road conditions caused or contributed to the accident.
Rules and regulations violations
Commercial vehicles are subject to many federal and state rules and regulations in order to ensure that commercial vehicles and their drivers are operating as safely as possible on our roads. Types of regulations include limitations on drive hours to avoid driver fatigue, cargo securing regulations, vehicle maintenance and safety checks, proper training and licensing for drivers, required safety equipment, and hazardous material transport procedures.
Commercial vehicle injuries
Injuries can be severe in any type of motor vehicle accident, but when large commercial vehicles such as buses and semis are involved, there is a much greater likelihood of catastrophic injuries. The heaviest vehicles can weigh 80,000 pounds and more for oversized loads. 80,000 pounds with a long brake time, especially when driving at high rates of speed, often leads to crushing impacts.