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Was I hurt by a commercial vehicle? Why does that matter?

In this blog, we often discuss commercial vehicle accidents and liability because these are often the most catastrophic types of collisions on the road, due mostly to the size of commercial vehicles. Further, liability can prove to be quite complicated thanks to state and federal regulations as well as ownership and operating practices.

Despite the fact that we often talk about commercial vehicles in the context of trucking accidents, there are many different types of commercial vehicles. Being able to identify a commercial vehicle as such can have a crucial impact on what happens in the aftermath of a crash.

Basically speaking, a commercial vehicle is one that used primarily to transport a certain number of people and/or amount of goods. These vehicles often weigh tens of thousands of pounds because of their cargo and the fact that they need to be big enough to transport large quantities of passengers and materials. These specifications are defined by the Department of Transportation.

You should note that there are many different types of vehicles that fit this description besides tractor trailers. Other types of commercial vehicles include:

  • Buses
  • Vans
  • Mail and package delivery trucks
  • Limos 
  • Trailers

If you are in an accident with these other types of vehicles, you may not realize right away that they are commercial vehicles. However, this will be a critical detail.

In these crashes, the potential for catastrophic damage and injuries is quite high, which means you will likely have questions about filing a legal claim. These claims will be different from other motor vehicle accident claims because the liable party may not be as obvious.

Commercial vehicles can be operated by someone who is in violation of rules that only apply to commercial drivers, of which you may be unaware. They can also be owned by a completely different party and maintained by yet another party. In these claims, there may be a lot of finger pointing and blame shifting in an effort to shield parties from liability.

Considering the fact that damage is often worse and claims are often more complicated in accidents involving commercial vehicles, legal guidance can be especially helpful for victims of these crashes and family members seeking compensation. 

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