At Labrum Law, we have represented clients in many types of car accidents. One of the more complicated types of cases we handle is when an individual is in an accident with a commercial vehicle. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, trust the Nashville-area commercial car accident lawyers at Labrum Law to handle your case. Call us at (615) 338-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our clients do not owe us a fee unless we win their case.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is basically any type of company vehicle, ranging from large trucks to corporate sedans. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the most common types of commercial vehicles:
- 18-wheelers or large trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Moving trucks
- Company cars
What Causes Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
Like any type of car accident, there are countless potential causes. However, unlike passenger vehicle accidents, commercial vehicle drivers have additional stressors and factors that may be more likely to cause accidents.
Most drivers of passenger vehicles are only behind the wheel to commute to work, drive to the grocery store, and take care of other errands and responsibilities. On the other hand, drivers of commercial vehicles are often driving as their full-time job, which means they are spending many hours at a time operating these large vehicles.
Despite regulations prohibiting driving while fatigued, truck drivers operate large vehicles while drowsy all the time. When a commercial driver is sleepy, their decision-making capabilities and reaction times are impaired, and sometimes it even causes them to nod off and lose control of the vehicle. Look for signs of driver fatigue including extremely high or low speeds, crossing the center line, or going over the rumble strips on the highway, and other erratic behavior. Be sure to drive defensively and do not assume the driver can see you.
No matter how qualified or professional a driver appears to be, distractions are unfortunately a common part of driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system.
Drivers of large commercial vehicles, like eighteen-wheelers, are driving for eight to ten hours per day, so from time to time, distractions like these are likely. Similarly, some commercial vehicles are not as heavily regulated, and the drivers are not necessarily as well trained or disciplined as others. If you believe you suffered an accident with a commercial driver due to the driver's negligence, contact Labrum Law as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights and ensure they remain protected.
Large commercial vehicles tend to have larger blind spots than smaller passenger vehicles. Be aware of your proximity to trucks and vans, and when in doubt, assume they cannot see you and safely stay out of their blind spots. When a truck driver cannot see cars alongside them, they may try to change lanes and run into the smaller vehicle.
Maintenance and Equipment Failures
The companies that own or operate these vehicles are responsible for making sure they are roadworthy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration promulgates regulations that require large carriers to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control. Further, vehicles cannot be operated in a way that is likely to lead to a breakdown or accident. Despite these regulations, equipment failures are a regular occurrence. Some common maintenance and equipment failures include tire blowouts, engine failures, and shifting and oversized loads.
Are Commercial Vehicle Cases More Complicated Than Typical Car Accidents?
Accidents with commercial vehicles tend to be more complex than a standard car accident for a number of reasons. If you were in an accident and believe the at-fault driver was a commercial vehicle, consider working with a Nashville commercial car accident attorney at Labrum Law to help you seek the maximum compensation available.
Multiple Parties Involved
One reason commercial vehicle accidents tend to be complicated is that there are more parties involved in the case. In a typical fender bender, there may only be two parties: the plaintiff who was hit and the defendant who hit them. In a commercial vehicle case, there are likely to be more parties for a couple of reasons.
First, the accidents can be larger in scale. For instance, in the case of a tractor-trailer accident on the highway, there may be multiple vehicles involved, leading to a pile-up. In these cases, it can be difficult to assign fault to any of these parties because it is not clear what started the accident.
Second, there may be additional parties involved, such as the commercial vehicle's owner or the driver's employer. When a driver causes an accident on the job, the employer can be liable for the driver's actions. To identify all of the potentially liable parties, it is in the victim's interest to consider contacting an experienced attorney who can explain their legal rights.
Multiple Insurance Policies
Another reason commercial vehicle accidents can be complicated is that there may be numerous applicable liability insurance policies. Reading and interpreting insurance policies is difficult for those unfamiliar with these types of documents, which is where Labrum Law can help. We have faced off with larger insurers in the past, taking on their team of insurance lawyers. We work hard to make sure our clients get a fair deal that compensates them for their injuries and losses.
What to Do If You Experienced an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle
Consider following these steps after a commercial vehicle accident:
- Go to the Doctor
Always seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you do not immediately feel the symptoms. If you end up seeking compensation from the driver, their employer, or the insurance companies, you will want a medical record to help link your injuries to the accident.
2. Document the Accident
Immediately after an accident, your memory might begin to get foggy. Write down everything you can remember from the accident, especially the details about how it happened. As you begin to negotiate with insurance companies, you will want to be sure you have documentation that identifies your account of the event.
- Contact a Commercial Car Accident Lawyer
Many victims struggle with the decision to contact a commercial car accident lawyer. You may already have extensive medical bills and property damage causing astronomical debt. Our experienced attorneys know the tactics insurance companies use to reduce your settlement and convince you to settle for less than you deserve under the law. Consulting with a commercial car accident lawyer will allow you to know your rights and make the most informed decision possible. At Labrum Law, we do not charge our clients unless we win their case.
Call the Experienced Commercial Car Accident Lawyers at Labrum Law for a Free Consultation Today
At Labrum Law, we proudly represent victims of car accidents. We help our clients by handling their cases from start to finish, giving them peace of mind that we have their best interests at heart. If you or your close family member has been hurt by a commercial driver's negligence, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Reach our office at (615) 338-9500 or contact us online.