Commercial vehicles are very much a part of the landscape of the US highways. Wherever you’re driving to, you’re likely to see a large number of commercial vehicles on the road, and it’s also likely that you’ll come into relatively close contact with them, especially when overtaking.
Of course, commercial vehicles are generally considerably larger than standard cars, and as a result, accidents involving these types of vehicles, such as freight-carriers, buses and large trucks, occur on a regular basis.
If you, or someone close to you, has been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, then it’s likely that you’ll be entitled to compensation. As a result, it’s advisable to seek advice from a professional attorney, preferably one who specializes in this field.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents: How These Differ to Standard Automobile Accidents
1. Who is sued? In a standard automobile accident, liability is relatively straightforward. This is not the case, however, for commercial vehicle accidents, and all depends on the person identified as directly responsible for the accident.
If the driver of the vehicle acted in a negligent manner, then liability is likely to automatically fall on them. However, other considerations come into play, such as: a) who owns the vehicle, b) whose responsibility is it to maintain that vehicle and even c) whose goods are in the truck at the time of the accident.
2. Independent contractors. If the person driving the vehicle was an independent contractor (without a formal employer), then the liability would certainly fall with the driver. However, your attorney is likely to investigate further, to see if there is a corporation who could be held accountable for the accident, in order to maximize your compensation. This all very much depends on the nature of the contract drawn up between driver and company.
3. Suing the company, not the driver. You may find that your attorney chooses to sue only the company, not the driver. This may seem like a strange choice, but remember, your attorney is seeking to secure the best possible compensation for you, and compensation is not the same as justice. You may feel aggrieved that the driver of the commercial vehicle has ‘got away with it’, but your attorney will want to focus on getting you the best possible financial compensation to help you cope with the after-effects of your accident.
4. Observing the laws. In order to receive the compensation you deserve, your attorney will be focusing on trying to prove that the driver of the commercial vehicle was violating traffic laws, or acting in a negligent manner. If possible, remember as many details as you can about the incident, as your attorney may be able to use these in court.
Steps to Take After an Injury or Accident Involving a Commercial Vehicle
If you or a loved one have had an accident involving a commercial vehicle, then it’s important to act as quickly as possible. Get in touch with a local attorney, preferably one who specializes in accidents with commercial vehicles, and start working towards getting the compensation that you deserve.