Safely sharing the road with large trucks, passenger buses, and other commercial vehicles can be a real challenge, as state commercial vehicle accident statistics well show. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), there are more than 40,000 commercial vehicle crashes in the state each year, which results Commercial Vehicle Accidents and What You Need to Know in thousands of serious injuries and fatalities.

Commercial vehicle accidents often lead to personal injury—or even wrongful death—lawsuits. However, accident and injury claims involving commercial vehicles tend to be more complex than those involving two traditional passenger vehicles. This is due to a number of factors, including the severity of the accident and injuries, as well as the potential for multiple defendants. If you're considering pursuing compensation for injuries sustained in a collision with a commercial vehicle, here's what you should know.

Types of Commercial Vehicles

The term “commercial vehicles” can be used to describe a number of different types of vehicles used for commercial purposes, including public services vehicles, business vehicles, and transportation vehicles. Examples of common types of commercial vehicles include:

  • Semi-trucks
  • Big-rigs
  • 18-wheelers
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Street sweepers
  • Garbage trucks
  • Mail trucks
  • Police vehicles
  • Ambulances
  • Fire trucks
  • Delivery vehicles
  • Construction vehicles
  • Taxis
  • Ridesharing services
  • Airport and hotel shuttles

Kinds of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Collisions between commercial and passenger vehicles often result in the following types of accidents:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Rear-end accidents
  • T-bone or side-impact crashes
  • Rollover accidents
  • Underride accidents
  • Collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists

Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Crashes

Commercial vehicle accidents are often caused by some form of negligence on the part of the commercial driver or the trucking company they work for. Common negligence-related causes of commercial vehicle crashes include:

  • Drowsy driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Commercial driver error or inexperience
  • Unbalanced or improperly loaded cargo
  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Equipment failure
  • Improper trucking company hiring or retention practices
  • Insufficient training or supervision

Injuries Associated With Commercial Vehicle Accidents

When a large commercial vehicle collides with a much smaller passenger vehicle, the injuries sustained—usually by the driver and occupants of the passenger vehicle—can be catastrophic or even deadly. Some of the most common injuries associated with commercial vehicle accidents include:

  • Contusions, lacerations, abrasions, and other soft-tissue injuries
  • Broken or crushed bones
  • Internal bleeding or organ damage
  • Burns
  • Amputations
  • Brain injuries, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries, including partial or total paralysis
  • Death

Potentially Liable Parties

Determining who to name as a defendant in a commercial vehicle accident case can be difficult, especially if multiple parties share the responsibility for the accident. Parties who may be potentially liable in this type of case include:

  • A commercial driver who was drowsy, distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving recklessly, unsafely loading cargo, or violating federal hours-of-service regulations.
  • A trucking company who hires a driver without verifying his qualifications and safety record, provides insufficient training or supervision, or encourages drivers to violate state or federal regulations.
  • The designer or manufacturer of a defectively designed or manufactured vehicle component that fails, resulting in an accident.

Compensation Available in Commercial Vehicle Crash Cases

Victims fortunate enough to survive a commercial vehicle accident often require long-term medical and assisted care services. The cost of such care can add up quickly. Fortunately, accident victims can seek compensation for past, current and future medical expenses related to the crash, as well as:

  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • And more

Protect Your Rights: Consult an Attorney

If you were seriously injured in a commercial vehicle accident, there's far too much at stake to simply go it alone. The knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys with Cullen and Hemphill, PLC, can help you protect your rights and explore your options for compensation. Don't wait—contact Cullen and Hemphill, PLC, today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.

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