Are you handling your commercial accident claim on your own? Before you do anything, contact a commercial vehicle accident lawyer.
Commercial accidents are different from accidents involving another motorist. You must be aware of commercial regulations to create a cogent case.
Further, attorneys can defend your rights in court and during insurance negotiations. They can also get you a higher settlement.
This article will explain commercial accident cases in greater detail. Let’s explore.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is any vehicle used for commercial purposes. When it comes to commercial transportation, most people think of 18 wheelers. However, commercial vehicles can range from fleet vehicles to semi-trucks. Other types of commercial trucks include:
- Tow trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Delivery cars/trucks
Further, commercial vehicles have specific traits. For instance, a commercial vehicle could have enough space to transport eight or more people in exchange for money. It could also contain a trailer used for transporting goods.
The drivers must meet specific requirements when driving. Since the driver works for the company, the business is to blame if an accident occurs.
Commercial Driver Regulations
First and foremost, all commercial drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A CDL test consists of a driving test and a written exam. Upon issuance, the driver must meet various regulations to maintain the license, such as:
- Regular medical checkups
- Driving certain types of commercial vehicles (depending on CDL classification)
- Staying within the blood-alcohol limit of 0.04%
Additionally, they must adhere to federal regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In addition, they must follow additional mandates under state guidelines.
If drivers violate any of the standards, they’re open to liability. Due to the complexity of the rules and regulations, it can be hard to discern which regulation had been violated.
However, a commercial vehicle accident attorney can conduct an investigation and pinpoint the exact regulation broken. A commercial vehicle accident requires extensive knowledge in commercial law, including state regulations. Only a commercial accident attorney has the necessary expertise to handle these cases.
Drivers must maintain their trucks regularly. All motorists, including drivers, must adhere to duty-to-care laws. This means motorists must obey road rules, drive safely, and maintain their vehicles to prevent accidents.
In the commercial realm, commercial drivers must maintain for the sake of road safety. If they fail to maintain the vehicle and cause a serious accident, you can hold them liable.
Drivers could cut corners or skip crucial maintenance steps to save time or money. In many cases, the drivers must pay for all maintenance costs out of pocket. As a result, they have an incentive to save money wherever possible.
Only a commercial accident lawyer can highlight how the driver failed to maintain the vehicle properly. Plus, you must consider the other parties involved during the maintenance process.
- Example: A parts provider may have sold a defective part that caused a serious accident. Therefore, the parts provider could be held liable.
Commercial accidents call for thorough investigations to shift blame where necessary.
In other cases, the driver may share all of the blame. One example is aggressive driving. Aggressive driving can be in the form of:
- Turning without signaling
- Tailgating dangerously close to vehicles
- Driving slowly on purpose
Commercial drivers tend to be on the road for long hours and are more likely to succumb to road rage. They could make snap judgments that cause accidents.
During an investigation, the driver may minimize their role in the accident or hide their reckless behavior in some way. The company and the driver may also try to blame one another.
A commercial vehicle accident investigation can call for witnesses who saw the negligent behavior and support your case in the process.
In other cases, the driver may be under the influence of a drug. They could take pills (i.e. stimulants) that allow them to drive for longer periods. They could also consume energy drinks or sugary snacks.
The problem is that they can suffer from a sugar crash, causing fatigue. Driving while fatigued is worse than drunk driving.
When it comes to fatigue, companies tend to encourage drivers to forgo rest for the sake of deadlines. Employers could also mandate that employers take infrequent breaks. Even though drivers must take periodic rests by law, companies often ignore the laws.
If a company pressures drivers to break the law, the organization is liable. Therefore, a lawyer should start an investigation to determine if the company broke the law.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
The average settlement depends on a variety of factors, such as:
- Medical costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Liability ratio
If talking about a truck accident, for example, the settlement can range from $60,000 to a million dollars or more. Serious accidents involving debilitating injuries or death can cost millions of dollars.
When it comes to commercial claims, insurance companies will scrutinize the settlements heavily due to the expensive nature of the claims. An attorney can assist if an insurance company tries to lower your settlement without just cause.
The Importance of a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
A commercial vehicle accident lawyer can conduct a comprehensive investigation. Many victims don’t have the investigative experience to strengthen their cases, especially when dealing with commercial claims. Commercial accident attorneys know about commercial law, allowing them to identify offending parties quicker.
If you need a commercial vehicle accident lawyer contact Burriss and Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today.