How Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles Are Different

What is a Commercial Vehicle?

The term “commercial vehicle” can have a lot of different meanings. A commercial vehicle could be someone’s company car, a taxi cab, a delivery van, a tow truck, a semi-truck, a hotel shuttle, or even a piece of construction equipment that also is a vehicle. Basically, a commercial vehicle is a vehicle operated for commercial purposes. It doesn’t necessarily have to be driven by someone holding a commercial driver’s license, but often may be. Usually a commercial vehicle is owned by a business or operated for business purposes, and is covered by a commercial liability insurance policy.

How is a Commercial Vehicle Accident Different?

There are some ways that a car crash involving a commercial vehicle can be different than one involving someone driving their own personal vehicle on their personal time. For the most part, the process of investigating the crash and filing a lawsuit, if necessary, is the same. However, some different legal principles can be involved when it comes to determining who should be responsible to compensate you for your injuries and damages incurred caused by the crash.

In a crash involving two personal vehicles, the at-fault driver is the person you pursue a claim against. But when a commercial vehicle is involved, you may need to pursue a claim against the driver’s employer, if he or she was driving while doing business for his or her employer, or you may have to pursue a claim against the company that owns the vehicle if that entity is different than the driver’s employer.

If the driver was a truck driver, bus driver, taxi driver, or some other kind of driver who has to maintain a commercial driver’s license, there may be particular sets of rules that driver has to follow. For example, truck drivers under federal regulation are only allowed to drive for so many hours per day. If the trucker exceeded the allowed number of hours and crashed into you because he or she was tired, that opens up an additional way that you may be able to prove your case for negligence and convince an insurance company or a jury to award you compensation.

Recovery in Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Because commercial vehicles often are larger and heavier than your personal vehicle, damage to your car and injuries to your person can be much greater in this kind of crash than in other types of motor vehicle accidents. You may have significant medical expenses that you’re worried about paying, and your car may be heavily damaged or totaled. If you had to pursue a claim against an individual driver who only has the minimum insurance coverage required by the state, you could be in a bad spot in terms of financial recovery. However, commercial liability policies often have much higher limits. If you are successful in making a claim against a commercial policy, the odds of being fully compensated are better.

The types of damages you may be able to recover include:

– Medical bills
– Lost wages
– Property damage
– Pain and suffering
– Emotional distress
– Loss of normal life
– Disability or disfigurement

If you have been injured in an auto accident involving a commercial vehicle, please call the Northland Injury Law firm at 816-400-4878 for a free consultation. An experienced attorney will be prepared to help you weigh your options and determine the appropriate course of action.

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