Car accidents are scary, expensive, and even traumatic. This is even more true when you’re involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle.
When you’re trying to recover or make sure a loved one is ok, the complex legal situation of commercial accidents is probably the last thing on your mind – but in order to get the full compensation you deserve, you’ll need an experienced commercial accident attorney on your side.
When someone says ‘commercial vehicle’, you might instantly picture large trucks or tractor-trailers. But in Florida law, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle used by a business that weighs 5 tons or more, can carry 15+ people, or is transporting hazardous materials. This includes delivery vans, construction vehicles, school buses, garbage trucks, and more.
Because commercial vehicles are much larger and heavier than the average car, they’re more likely to cause extensive and even life-threatening injuries.
Common commercial vehicle accidents include jackknifing, rollovers, under- and overrides, and cargo loss.
As you may know, all drivers in Florida are required to carry PIP insurance, which covers up to $10,000 in accident-related expenses. If you’re involved in a commercial accident, your first strategy will usually be to turn to this coverage from your own insurance company and that of the individual driver.
However, if the vehicle was being used for a commercial purpose when the accident occurred, you can also seek damages from the driver’s employer. Since they were responsible for hiring the person who caused the accident, they can be held accountable for any injuries you sustained.
There is another third party who can be liable in commercial vehicle accidents: the owner or manufacturer of the vehicle itself. You can hold them accountable for a portion of your costs if you can prove that the vehicle was not properly maintained or otherwise contributed to your accident.
When you get in an accident with another driver, you can often handle it with a quick conversation and a call to your insurance company. This is not the case in commercial vehicle accidents.
First of all, it’s unlikely that you’ll be dealing with the individual driver. Large commercial companies may have a team of highly experienced accident lawyers who are trained to minimize liability as much as possible.
You’re also sure to encounter more complex insurance regulations. In the aftermath of your accident, you might hear from the commercial company’s insurance company or claims adjuster as they attempt to make a quick settlement.
Never talk to these representatives without consulting with a car accident attorney first. They may attempt to twist your words, minimize your injuries, or get you to admit other information that will lessen your future claim.
On the plus side, commercial companies often have better record-keeping and higher standards for their drivers than the average person. You may be able to access company driving records, cell phone data, and even data-collection boxes (similar to the black box on an airplane) that can help you prove the circumstances of your accident.
You should always consult an experienced car accident attorney to help you get the full compensation you deserve. But if you’re involved in a commercial vehicle accident, it’s even more important to seek out legal advice.
Commercial vehicle accidents are severe and involve multiple parties. Our team of experts will work with you to untangle the circumstances of the accident and hold every liable party accountable.
You deserve to get back on the road to normal life – and Snedaker Law will help you get there by seeking coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Give us a call today: