Reasons to Hire a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Managing an insurance claim in a passenger vehicle crash can be time-consuming and complicated, but liability is typically straightforward. The at-fault party’s insurer is responsible for the property damage and/or medical expenses of those in the other vehicle.
When a commercial vehicle is involved in a crash, the complexities are compounded and may require the help of a commercial vehicle accident lawyer.
First, there are myriad types of commercial vehicles: 18-wheelers, catering vans, hearses, passenger buses, limousines, pickup trucks, cement mixers, tow trucks, refrigerated trucks, front-loaders, garbage trucks, ice cream trucks, pump trucks, motor homes, flatbeds, cargo vans, car carriers, delivery vans, wheelchair vans, agricultural trucks, sport utility vehicles and on and on.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that occupants of passenger vehicles comprise the majority of deaths involving large truck crashes.
This is mainly due to trucks out-weighing passenger vehicles by up to 30 times as well as being taller, which can result in passenger vehicles “under-riding trucks in crashes.”
Trucks and similar commercial vehicles take longer to brake, with loaded tractor-trailers requiring 20 to 40 percent more space to stop, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
When the commercial vehicle is responsible for a crash, it’s not uncommon for multiple parties to share the responsibility for liability. One commercial vehicle accident lawsuit can involve the trucking company, the vehicle’s manufacturer, the person or company leasing the vehicle, the person or company who performs the vehicle’s maintenance and the company that loaded the goods or freight onto the vehicle.
For this reason, if involved in this type of crash, it’s imperative to hire a commercial vehicle accident lawyer.
Just as doctors have specialties, so do lawyers. Commercial vehicle accident lawyers are well-versed in the trucking industry’s complex regulations and have the know-how to navigate the system to achieve the most favorable outcome for people injured in commercial vehicle accidents.
Without the expertise of a commercial vehicle accident lawyer, an accident victim risks getting much less than they are entitled to or having a claim denied altogether.
For example, it’s not uncommon for commercial truck drivers to exceed the daily maximum of 11 hours at a stretch and/or the weekly seven-day max of 77 hours. Commercial vehicles are overseen by both federal and state guidelines, the latter of which vary from state to state.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is tasked with regulating things like the number of hours that truck drivers can drive in a week, the rules of interstate commerce and the laws for inspecting, maintaining and repairing commercial vehicles.
For fiscal year 2017, the agency had an operating budget of a whopping $794.2 million.
And while the federal government sets size regulations for commercial motor vehicles, semi-trailers connected to truck tractors that have been lawfully operated as of Dec. 1, 1982, are grandfathered by state to different maximum lengths. States also set their own height maximums, which typically range from 13 feet, six inches to 14 feet, with exceptions granted for lower clearance on particular roads, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck crash, contact the commercial vehicle accident lawyers at McDonald Worley today for a FREE case evaluation.