A growing segment of personal injury cases involve commercial vehicles. Traditionally, the most common type of commercial vehicle is a semi-truck, often referred to as an 18-wheeler. These large vehicles are involved in numerous crashes each year and can cause catastrophic injury and death. However, the main reason for this increase in commercial vehicle accidents is the rise of ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The commercial category actually encompasses a wide range of vehicles including taxis, school buses, public buses, delivery vans, moving trucks, and tanker trucks.
There are several important distinctions between commercial vehicles and personal ones that can have an impact on a personal injury claim. For example, commercial trucks must comply with a special set of federal and state regulations, drivers must meet certain qualifications, and some commercial vehicles must meet set standards and pass inspections.
There may also be special factual questions that need to be given particular attention when determining what caused a crash involving commercial vehicles. For example, was the driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Did driver fatigue play a role in the accident? What kind of professional training or certifications did the driver of the commercial vehicle receive? Was the vehicle equipment up to the mandated standards? What speed was the vehicle traveling and was that speed safe for the conditions? What was the vehicle’s assigned schedule for delivery? Was all cargo properly secured? The company employing the commercial driver will likely have an investigator at the scene or involved very early to obtain information. The vehicle itself may have a data recorder that could provide answers to some of these questions, especially regarding location, speed, and other specifics.
Numerous factors differentiate commercial vehicle accidents from the typical automobile accident and they each require special consideration. It is important that you have an experienced attorney involved right away to protect your rights, preserve and gather evidence, and find a qualified expert to analyze the facts of the accident. If you have been involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle please call our office right away at 651-493-0426 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.