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Commercial Vehicle Crash Claims Can Be Complicated

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2017 | Library, Traffic Accidents

Every day in the DC area, we share the road with commercial vehicles of all sizes. Generally, commercial vehicles are bigger and heavier than the average car; so when traffic accidents occur with commercial vehicles, those in smaller vehicles generally suffer serious injuries. Commercial vehicles in Virginia are responsible for 4% of all crashes, about 5% of all traffic injuries, and they account for over 10% of all traffic fatalities statewide, according to Virginia DMV. Although commercial vehicles are only responsible for a small percentage of accidents on our roadways, they can be devastating due to the physical injuries, emotional trauma, and the financial burden they cause. This is why our law firm aggressively and passionately fights for victims of commercial vehicle accidents in DC and throughout Virginia.

Types of Commercial Vehicle Accidents We Handle

There are a wide variety of commercial vehicles on our roads, ranging from smaller cars to box trucks to semis and heavy construction vehicles. Some of the different types of commercial vehicle accident claims our law firm handles include:

Heavy equipment vehicles, including:

  • Garbage trucks
  • Recycling trucks
  • Construction vehicles
  • Cement trucks
  • Dump trucks

Public services vehicles, including:

  • Snowplows
  • Street sweepers
  • Road work vehicles
  • Utility trucks
  • Mail trucks

Emergency response vehicles, including:

  • Fire trucks
  • Police vehicles
  • Ambulances

Delivery vehicles or box trucks, including:

  • UPS trucks
  • FedEx trucks
  • Grocery stores and other food delivery service vehicles
  • Local business trucks

Other business vehicles, including:

  • Landscaping trucks
  • Heating and cooling trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Oil and gas trucks
  • Coal trucks
  • Plumbing vans
  • Food trucks
  • Moving trucks

Self-moving trucks, including:

  • U-Haul
  • Ryder
  • Penske
  • Budget
  • Other self-moving companies

People transportation vehicles, including:

  • Taxis
  • Rideshares (Uber and Lyft)
  • Limousines
  • Airport and hotel shuttles

Many of these commercial vehicles are familiar sites in our communities and are generally safe to share the road with; however, accidents involving these types of vehicles occur from time to time. Although no one ever sets out to cause a crash, negligence by a driver or a company often comes into play and is frequently a factor in commercial vehicle collisions.

Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

When drivers of commercial vehicles make improper lane changes, follow too closely, or violate traffic laws in other ways, accidents can occur. Some of the main causes of commercial vehicle crashes include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Mechanical problems
  • Unsecured cargo and unbalanced cargo

Inexperienced commercial drivers are often a major cause of these accidents because they are generally unfamiliar with blind spots on commercial vehicles, aren’t aware of the dangers of operating commercial vehicles on crowded and narrow streets, are GPS reliant, and/or they feel pressured by their employers to move quickly. In addition, some drivers operating commercial vehicles don’t actually hold a Commercial Driver’s License, which means they don’t have the experience needed to drive such vehicles.

When accidents occur with commercial vehicles—whether they are head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, side impact crashes, or rollover accidents—motorists in smaller vehicles as well as pedestrians and bicyclists hit by commercial vehicles are often the ones to suffer serious injuries. The types of injuries that can result from commercial vehicle accidents can range from broken bones that may be treatable to life-altering brain injuries—even death.

What Victims of Commercial Vehicle Accidents Need to Know

From the immediate aftermath to the days and weeks following a crash, victims of commercial vehicle accidents often have many questions, such as:

  • What should I expect after an accident involving a commercial vehicle? Insurance companies that represent commercial vehicles will be looking for ways to minimize injury claim payouts. Therefore, it is wise for you know about their tricks and tactics and how they operate following a crash.
  • Who do I sue after a commercial vehicle accident? Several potential defendants could be liable for the crash and your injuries, from a distracted driver to a negligent employer and even other parties, such as a maintenance company or the vehicle manufacturer.
  • What types of compensation are available after a crash with a commercial vehicle?The potential compensation a victim of a crash may receive can include past, current, and future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and even out-of-pocket costs related to the crash.
  • What should I know about the laws surrounding these types of claims? It is important to know that victims of commercial vehicle accidents generally have two years to file an injury claim in order to make a financial recovery (this is known as the statute of limitations.) Also, if the accident took place in Virginia, the law of contributory negligence applies. This means that if you were even one percent at fault for the crash,  you will not be awarded compensation.
  • How can an attorney help with my case? Victims of commercial vehicle accidents often don’t know if they need an attorney, how to find the right lawyer for their case, when they should contact an attorney and what an attorney can do for them. Experienced attorneys know how to negotiate with insurance giants and know what injury claims are worth to ensure fair compensation is obtained.

Zealously Representing Victims of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Because being in a commercial vehicle accident can be complicated due to the big companies involved as well as the potential for multiple liable parties, it is best to at least speak with an attorney about your claim before pursuing it alone. Our law firm has decades of experience successfully handling these types of cases, and we offer free, initial consultations. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by picking up the phone and giving us a call. We would love to help you seek justice or at least be able to inform you of your rights so that you can collect the compensation you need and deserve.