So often, car accidents result in substantial vehicle damage, critical injury, and sometimes even death. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 5,096 fatal collisions involving large trucks or buses across the United States in 2018.
What Are Commercial Vehicles?
A commercial vehicle is an automobile that is used in the course of doing business. Every industry currently in the market relies on commercial vehicles for a variety of things, such as receiving product or part shipments or delivering products or services to customers.
The following types of motor vehicles are frequently used for commercial purposes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and other U.S. states:
- Large 18-wheelers
- Smaller delivery trucks
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Concrete mixing trucks
- Chemical transport trucks
- Pickup trucks
- Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services
- Cargo vans
- Company-issued cars
- Commercial SUVs
Generally, any vehicle used for a commercial purpose is considered a commercial vehicle, despite whether or not the vehicle was designed or purchased with business use in mind. Even personal vehicles can be considered commercial for a period of time if they are used for work, e.g., in the case of pizza delivery drivers or salespersons who travel using their own vehicle.
An injury attorney well-versed in commercial collision law will review your case to determine what the driver who caused your accident was doing at the time of the collision and if the vehicle they were driving qualifies as a commercial vehicle.
What Causes Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
Commercial vehicle accidents can be caused by nearly any issue that would also cause a collision between two or more personal or passenger vehicles. However, some commercial drivers are at a higher risk of causing or becoming involved in an accident.
The most commonly seen issues that cause or contribute to commercial motor vehicle crashes are:
- Drowsy, drunk, or drugged driving. Driving fatigued is as dangerous and reckless as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. All of these result in motor impairment and delayed response time, which can be extremely dangerous on the road.
- Inadequate experience and/or training. Many commercial vehicle operators have not been properly trained nor do they have the required amount of experience to safely operate the vehicle. This is often the fault of the company who hired them without thorough background checks or allowed them on the road in a commercial vehicle with minimal training.
- Vehicle malfunction. In some cases, a commercial accident is caused by vehicle malfunction, such as a blown tire or brakes that give out. This may be the result of companies cutting corners on vehicle maintenance in an attempt to trim overhead costs.
The Consequences of Commercial Crashes
Commercial motor vehicle collisions are often serious due to the overall size and weight of large trucks and vans used for many types of businesses. Often, commercial truck accidents and other business-related crashes are devastating, resulting in the critical injury or death of one or more involved passengers.
Holding Companies Responsible for Gross Negligence
Massachusetts and New Hampshire law provides for the remedy of damages caused by a commercial vehicle collision via filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Initially, you should explore what the insurance provider of the company who caused your accident is able to offer you. You may be able to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the insurer without ever having to step foot in a courtroom. However, many insurance companies work to ensure any settlement offered to an accident victim is the absolute bare minimum.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
If the insurance carrier of the business who is responsible for the collision does not offer you a fair or reasonable settlement, you are not obligated to accept it. Instead, you can choose to pursue litigation and allow a judge to decide if the company who caused the accident was at fault, to what degree, and how much compensation you should receive.
Common Challenges in Commercial Collision Cases
There are numerous challenges faced by victims of commercial motor vehicle accidents, such as:
- Going up against large companies and their legal teams. Many companies that employ commercial vehicle drivers are large and have expansive legal teams on hand to handle accident claims.
- Obtaining evidence that hasn’t been tampered with. Often, businesses will delete or hide records that could prove their guilt, such as shredding paper driver logs or recording over the black box.
- Proving the relationship between third parties and the accident. It may be difficult to link a third party to your collision, like the mechanic that worked on the truck whose brakes went out moments before they slammed into the back of your vehicle.
It’s important to work with a seasoned provider of comprehensive legal services if you want the best chances of a successful verdict in your case. Your accident lawyer should have specific experience representing clients like you and have an established track record of settlements they’ve won.
Get Experienced Legal Help with Your Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Today
Were you or someone you care for involved in a commercial motor vehicle collision? Don’t hesitate to act as quickly as possible to secure trustworthy legal representation. You can be confident that the entity responsible for your accident will do their best to cover up or draw attention away from evidence that suggests they or their employee(s) were in any way at fault.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have extensive experience working with victims of commercial vehicle accidents and can help advocate for your right to compensation for the damages you incurred. Contact us today for your consultation at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.