Determining liability in a vehicle crash is often straightforward. While every crash is different, most are caused by human error. It is often true that one driver made a mistake, caused a crash and is to blame for the damages they cause.
However, when it comes to crashes involving commercial vehicles, things can be much more complicated. In contrast to crashes involving two passenger vehicles, commercial vehicle accidents involve professional drivers who work for trucking companies or other carriers. Commercial vehicle crashes are further complicated by the many rules and regulations involving the trucking and transportation industries and the requirements of commercial vehicle drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial vehicle crash, you need an attorney who has a proven track record of handling these cases. At Guajardo & Marks, we have the experience, the knowledge and the resources available to get results for our clients.
Examples of Commercial Vehicles
Commercial vehicles typically carry goods or passengers from one location to another. While the types of vehicles used vary greatly, here are a few common examples:
- Box trucks
These vehicles are typically, though not always, heavier than standard vehicles and are usually owned by private businesses.
Who is Responsible for Commercial Vehicle Crashes?
Determining the fault in a commercial vehicle crash can be complicated and generally requires the skills of an experienced attorney. Obviously, either driver (the CMV operator or the driver of the other car) could potentially be responsible for the crash.
In cases where the driver of the passenger vehicle is not responsible, liability could fall exclusively on the driver or it could be placed on other parties, such as the employer of the CMV driver or the manufacturer of the CMV. In many circumstances, all or some of these parties might share the blame. Here are some of the things attorneys look for when determining liability in commercial vehicle crashes.
- The driver: Drivers of commercial vehicles have a very clear responsibility to other drivers. They are operating large vehicles that can do significant damage. Drivers are trained to operate their vehicle with safety as their top priority. If a driver is distracted, drowsy or negligent in any other way, they could be held responsible for crashes they cause.
- The trucking company: Trucking companies also have a responsibility to all drivers. They need to keep their fleet in proper working order and make sure their employees don’t pose a threat to others. Trucking companies that hire negligent drivers or put their drivers at risk through dangerous practices could be held responsible for commercial vehicle crashes.
- The vehicle manufacturer: If a faulty vehicle part contributes to a commercial vehicle crash, the manufacturer of the vehicle or vehicle part could be to blame for damages in that crash.
There are often several contributing factors involved in one single vehicle crash. For example, if a trucking company knew that their employee was working too many hours or had a serious medical condition, and the driver fell asleep behind the wheel, liability might be shared by both the driver and the driver’s employer.
When Large Companies Spring into Action
Trucking companies have systems set into place to deal with accidents involving their trucks and drivers. They sometimes deploy a representative to the scene of a crash to look for ways to reduce the legal liability of their drivers.
These companies also have large legal teams and insurers who are well-equipped to act after a collision. That is one of the key reasons why a victim in a commercial vehicle crash should retain the services of a skilled, experienced commercial vehicle crash lawyer. Your attorney will stand up for your best interests in the face of large companies, so it is best to make sure that they have experience with these types of cases.
What to Do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Take these steps if you are involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle:
- Make sure that everyone involved is okay.
- Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries.
- Contact the police so they can respond to the scene of collision.
- Avoid talking at length to anyone but the police. Remember that what you say following a crash might later be used against you.
- Gather the contact information of anyone who witnessed the crash.
- If possible, take pictures of the scene of the crash.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
In the hours, days and weeks that follow the collision, keep copies of everything related to the crash, including medical bills, prescription medication costs, police reports and vehicle repair bills. These documents will be useful when building a case and determining the extent of the damages you have suffered.
Contact Guajardo & Marks
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a commercial vehicle crash, contact Guajardo & Marks to learn more about your legal options. Our firm has years of experience handling these types of cases. We know what it takes to build a case for our clients and to make sure that they get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We earn no fee unless we win your case.