What Makes a Commercial Vehicle Accident Different?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tom Metier with Metier Law Firm.
Commercial vehicle accidents might seem similar to standard vehicle accidents at first glance, but they are vastly different. This is why it is particularly important to find an attorney who handles commercial vehicle accidents if you or a loved one were injured by a large truck or semi. These attorneys understand the key differences between standard accidents and those that occur with commercial vehicles, and they have the resources necessary to obtain evidence and effectively litigate a case. If you or a loved one suffered due to an accident with an 18-wheeler or semi truck, reach out to a commercial vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for recovery.
Some of the key differences between commercial vehicle accidents and standard vehicle accidents include:
- Potential causes: While truck drivers are subject to the same risks, errors, and distractions as drivers of standard passenger vehicles, they face additional challenges as well. Truck drivers work long shifts and are often on the road for hours at a time. Fatigued driving is one of the biggest risks for commercial vehicle drivers, especially when their employers pressure them to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. This is not the only FMCSA violation that can lead to accidents, and unfortunately, trucking companies have been known to pressure their drivers to commit these violations in the interest of increased profit. While passenger vehicle drivers can certainly cause an accident by engaging in unsafe driving practices near a large commercial vehicle, it’s important to remember that truck drivers are held to a higher level of responsibility due to the sheer size, weight, and power of the vehicles they operate.
- Severity: The severity of commercial vehicle accidents and the injuries sustained therein tends to be more extreme than other types of accidents. Due to the immense size, weight, and velocity at which these vehicles travel, it is not surprising that any kind of collision can have catastrophic results. Most commercial vehicles far outweigh passenger vehicles and are almost always going to come out on top in the event of an accident. This also means that the damages accident victims and their families suffer can be devastating, even compared to normal car wrecks.
- Types of evidence: The types of evidence available in a commercial vehicle accident differs significantly from that of a standard passenger vehicle accident. Commercial vehicles are required to keep detailed driving logs regarding when and where they departed, rested, and arrived. While these logs can certainly be falsified, an experienced truck accident attorney will know how to identify a false driving log. Additionally, there is a device called a “black box” embedded in the cab of most modern trucks that tracks a variety of data, including the driver’s speed at the time of the accident and behavior after. In fact, some large trucks even have cameras mounted in the cab to monitor the driver and their conduct. Unfortunately, all of this evidence can be impossible for the average person to obtain; it usually takes significant pressure from an experienced attorney to collect the evidence needed to prove the case.
- Financial and legal advantage: Whenever someone is involved in a commercial vehicle accident, it is essential to remember that these companies have access to their own legal and insurance teams who will arrive at the scene of the accident before anyone else. These teams know how to spin the accident in whatever way will reduce or eliminate liability for the company, even if it means using unscrupulous tactics. It is also important to remember that insurance companies make their money by reducing and denying as many claims as possible to hold onto their premiums. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will receive a fair settlement after a commercial vehicle accident without the help of a truck accident lawyer. Bringing your own attorney into the mix is a great way to level the playing field and ensure you don’t fall prey to the financial and legal advantage of a commercial vehicle company.
To learn more about what makes a commercial vehicle accident different, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a truck accident attorney.