Commercial Vehicle Accidents vs Car Accidents: What Sets Them Apart and Why it Matters
The screeching of brakes, the sound of metal twisting, the feeling of impact – if you or someone you love has ever been involved in a car accident, you know just how physically and emotionally traumatizing this experience can be. And commercial vehicle crashes – such as those involving large semi-trucks – can be all the more devastating.
All car accidents put us at risk for injury, but the significant weight of some commercial vehicles can make these crashes particularly devastating. In addition, the complexities surrounding a commercial vehicle car crash can be difficult to navigate without legal expertise.
What Qualifies as a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is any motor vehicle that is used for commercial purposes, such as transporting goods or passengers for hire. Many commercial vehicles are 18-wheelers, but buses, taxis, rideshare vehicles, and delivery vans – carrying food or other products – also fall into this category.
Unfortunately, these types of accidents are very common. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 415,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2020. Of these crashes, 24 percent caused injury, and 1 percent were fatal. Uber’s most recent safety report communicates that 101 individual motor vehicle fatalities occurred across 91 fatal Uber-related collisions in 2019-2020. Notably, half of these crashes involved risky driving behavior from either the Uber driver or a third party driver.
The Difference Between Commercial Vehicle Car Crashes and Car Crashes
The first and most obvious difference between a commercial vehicle car crash and an automobile collision is the size and weight of most vehicles involved. In some cases, commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This leads to more significant damage in a collision and more severe injuries.
Rideshare vehicles may not create as much physical damage as an 18-wheeler truck, but they can be very complicated from a legal perspective. This is because commercial vehicle crashes involve many more parties than automobile crashes. In a standard car crash, there are typically only two parties involved – the drivers of the vehicles.
With commercial car crashes, there are often many players in the game, including the owner of the transportation company, the owner of any potential cargo, and potentially even the vehicle manufacturers. Because of this, it can be difficult to discern who should be held responsible for redress.
If both the commercial driver and the automobile driver are partially responsible for the collision, a commercial vehicle injury lawyer can help clients navigate the complexities of the situation to ensure that powerful companies don’t take advantage of innocent parties.
Lastly, commercial vehicle drivers are typically subject to various regulations regarding driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance, and driving hours. If a driver violated any of these regulations and caused an accident, you are entitled to payment for damages, but you need to understand Texas law to ensure your rights are protected.
An Experienced Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer Will Be Your Advocate
Commercial vehicle car crashes come in many shapes and sizes, but they are all challenging to resolve. If you were involved in a commercial vehicle accident, it is important you seek out a lawyer who can be your advocate and help you get the compensation you deserve.