As we proceed with our “Commercial Vehicles: Trucks and Vans” series, it’s time to discuss a topic that, unfortunately, many will find relevant—accidents involving commercial vehicles. These incidents pose unique considerations and challenges, both from a legal and a safety perspective, which we’ll explore in this article.
If you are just now joining this series, make sure to catch up by reading the first two articles: “The Dangers of Large Trucks on Nashville Roads” and “Understanding Blind Spots: Safety for All Vehicles“.
Accidents with commercial vehicles like large trucks and vans are inherently different from collisions between personal-use vehicles. The size disparity, the nature of the cargo, and the involvement of corporate entities all contribute to a more complex post-accident scenario. Understanding these differences is crucial for anyone involved, as it can significantly impact the resolution process and the compensation received by victims.
1. Severity of Injuries
Given the size and weight of commercial vehicles, accidents involving them often result in more severe injuries. This can lead to higher medical bills, prolonged recovery times, and increased financial and emotional stress for the victims. The extensive medical treatment often required can be a burden not only financially but also emotionally, affecting the victim’s quality of life and their families.
2. Multiple Parties Involved
Unlike accidents between personal vehicles, commercial vehicle accidents often involve several parties: the driver, the trucking company, the vehicle manufacturer, and the cargo loader. Determining liability among these entities can be complicated. Each party may have varying levels of responsibility, and unraveling this web can be crucial to securing just compensation, making the investigation process intricate and extensive.
3. Federal and State Regulations
Commercial vehicles are subject to a plethora of federal and state regulations, including hours of service, maintenance standards, and cargo restrictions. These regulations can play a significant role in determining liability and the compensation victims may receive. The breach of any of these regulations can be pivotal in a legal claim, necessitating a thorough understanding of the laws governing commercial vehicle operation.
4. Insurance Considerations
Commercial vehicles typically have higher insurance coverage due to the potential for severe damage. Navigating claims with these insurance companies can be challenging, as they often have extensive resources and legal teams. This higher coverage can be a double-edged sword; while it means more funds are available for compensation, it also means the insurance companies will fight harder to minimize payouts.
5. Legal Representation
Given the complexities involved, having experienced legal representation is crucial for victims of commercial vehicle accidents. A knowledgeable attorney can help navigate the intricacies of liability, insurance claims, and regulations to ensure fair compensation. Specialized knowledge of commercial vehicle accidents can make a substantial difference in the outcome of a case, advocating for the victim’s rights and negotiating with multiple parties.
6. Preservation of Evidence
Commercial vehicles often have electronic logging devices (ELDs) and dash cameras that can provide crucial evidence in an accident investigation. Prompt action is necessary to preserve this evidence before it is deleted or overwritten. This digital data can be instrumental in reconstructing the accident and establishing fault, making it essential for victims to act quickly to secure this evidence.
7. Settlement Considerations
The settlement process for commercial vehicle accidents can be lengthy and complex. Victims need to consider current and future medical bills, loss of income, and emotional distress when negotiating a settlement. It’s crucial for victims to have a comprehensive understanding of their current and future needs to ensure they receive a settlement that fully addresses the long-term impacts of the accident.
Accidents involving commercial vehicles present unique challenges and considerations. Being informed and having the right support is essential for navigating the aftermath of such incidents successfully. This article is part of our ongoing series on “Commercial Vehicles: Trucks and Vans.” Stay tuned for more insights and information on this important topic.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, remember that you are not alone. At Stillman & Friedland, we are dedicated to guiding you through every step of the complex process, ensuring you understand your rights and options. Contact our Nashville office at 615-244-2111 for a complimentary, confidential consultation, chat with us, or fill out a form. Let us assess your case at no expense to you.
Because we care. Stay safe out there.