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Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Many companies use registered vehicles and trucks for everyday business. These vehicles can be used for a multitude of services and shipments. Commercial vehicles, whether they transport people or goods, can be found on the roads of Tulsa and other regions of the country every day.

In many cases, operating these vehicles necessitates special training and licensing, and driving them demands extra caution. Unfortunately, corporate demands often cause drivers to act rashly, and organizations try to cut costs with “time-saving” measures, increasing the likelihood of accidents because of exhaustion.

Being involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle can be more stressful and complex than other roadway accidents. It may involve multiple parties and strict insurance adjusters.

What Constitutes a Commercial Vehicle?

A commercial vehicle is one that is utilized for business or commercial purposes, typically to transport goods or passengers. When a vehicle is titled or registered to a business, it will likely be deemed a commercial vehicle. This could include company automobiles, fleet vehicles, or other business-related automobiles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a narrower definition and defines a commercial vehicle (CMV) as “any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property,” and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Be designed to transport more than 15 passengers (driver included)
  • Designed for transporting hazardous materials in quantities requiring the vehicle to carry a placard

Not all commercial vehicles will require a special license known as a CDL. Only when those vehicles meet certain requirements are people required to carry a commercial driver’s license. Moreover, some vehicles are commercial vehicles, but they are not subjected to the FMCSA standards and regulations of CMV. One prime example of a commercial vehicle that is not under federal regulations by the FMCSA is taxi cabs.

Who is Liable for a Commercial Vehicle Accident?

Commercial vehicle accidents, such as those involving buses, trucks, taxis, limousines, and other vehicles, can be challenging since they can entail more intricate liability concerns. Because a variety of parties are involved in the maintenance and operation of commercial vehicles, many parties may be held accountable when an accident occurs.

In the case of a commercial vehicle accident, the driver, the operating business, the cargo loaders, or all three, or even the manufacturer, may be held liable for an accident.

Driver liability: If the driver of a commercial vehicle was found to be driving while intoxicated or using distractions, or if they intentionally violated federal hours-of-service regulations, which limit how long commercial drivers may drive without a break, and anyone of these negligent actions led to an accident, then the driver will likely be deemed at fault and held liable for the damages.

Company liability: If the business employed a driver who should not have been on the road (for example, a driver with several traffic violations or an inactive CDL) or failed to arrange regular vehicle inspections, and this negligence resulted in an accident, the company could be held accountable for damages.

Cargo loader liability: If cargo loaders fail to load a vehicle’s cargo properly and securely, and a cargo shift causes an accident, the cargo loaders may be held accountable for damages sustained in the motor vehicle accident.

Manufacturer liability: When a defective part causes a commercial vehicle accident, the manufacturer might be held liable. If the dealer or transportation company was aware of the vehicle problem but did nothing about it, they may be held accountable for any injuries that resulted. When a firm sells a defective product or a driver operates a commercial vehicle with malfunctioning, recalled, or improperly maintained parts, the company or driver will almost certainly be held liable for the accident and damages.

Accidents Involving Delivery Trucks and Delivery Vehicles

As the popularity of online shopping has increased, delivery trucks have grown more ubiquitous on our highways. With so many new delivery trucks on the road, there have been more accidents and casualties.

When a collision happens, delivery trucks and other large commercial vehicles can cause catastrophic injury to passengers in cars. FedEx trucks, Amazon delivery trucks, UPS trucks, and food delivery vehicles are often substantially larger than conventional cars. As a result, delivery trucks collide with passenger automobiles with higher power and force, causing serious injuries to the drivers and passengers.

Accidents involving delivery trucks can occur from a variety of factors. Delivery drivers are frequently hired on the spot to accommodate the growing demand for company vacancies and increased deliveries, which means they may not have had adequate training. Inexperienced drivers are more likely to make errors and cause accidents.

Additionally, it is extremely difficult for larger delivery trucks to make abrupt stops. They may rear-end a car that comes to a sudden stop if they were following too closely and could not stop in time. Road conditions can also cause a delay in stopping time.

Many of these drivers are forced to use their phones while driving for professional purposes. This could cause the motorist to become distracted, potentially resulting in an accident. Texting while driving and eating while driving are two more major distractions for delivery drivers.

Accidents Involving Construction Vehicle

Construction vehicles should never be utilized as a means of transportation, other than from site to site. They should never be used to driving aimlessly along the street. If someone does this, they are breaking the law, and if they cause an injury on the road, they will likely be held liable for all damages.

Dump trucks, a common construction vehicle, are higher off the ground, which increases the likelihood of these trucks tipping over, especially when their backs are lifted off the ground. When these trucks tip over, this can cause serious injuries to other vehicles and possibly pedestrians.

A lot of construction trucks have multiple blind spots, which makes seeing anything straight behind the vehicle difficult for drivers. Low visibility may also influence the truck driver’s decision to make a rapid stop, which could result in a car being crushed beneath the truck’s rear end.

Furthermore, many construction vehicles carry various equipment and debris from a worksite. If the truck is not properly closed or if they fail to secure a tarp over the debris, this can cause spillage into the roadway creating serious hazards for other drivers.

Typically, if someone is injured in an accident with a construction vehicle, the management company will bear most of the liability and fault because they are responsible for keeping these vehicles zones off from regular roadways.

Accidents Involving a Commercial Bus

Buses for public transportation are meant to convey large groups of passengers. They are usually utilized for school bus networks or as part of a city’s transportation network. Buses are nearly always classified as commercial vehicles because of their size and passenger capacity, necessitating additional licenses.

City and private buses are considered common carriers, and as such, have a higher legal duty of care because they provide services to the public for a fee. While non-commercial drivers must use reasonable caution, common carriers must exercise the utmost caution and vigilance to ensure the safety of their passengers and the general public.

Negligence in these situations can be defined as a failure to meet that higher standard of care established. As a result, bus passengers who are injured in a commercial bus accident are subject to particular rules. In the event of a mass transport accident, all bus passengers have the legal right to file a claim against the owner or city agency, as well as their insurance provider.

Commercial Vehicle Accident Statistics

The majority of people killed in large commercial truck crashes are passengers, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Trucks typically weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and have higher ground clearance, causing smaller vehicles to underride trucks in collisions.

In a recent yearly report, the IIHS reported a total of 4,119 individuals were killed in heavy truck accidents.

  • Truck occupants accounted for 16% of these fafalities
  • Car and other passenger vehicle occupants accounted for 67% of the fatalities
  • Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists accounted for 15% of the deaths

The number of people killed in heavy truck accidents increased by 31% in 2019 compared to 2009. According to Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, there were 4,885 large commercial truck accidents in Oklahoma in the latest reporting year. Additionally, there were 114 school bus accidents. Overall, according to the IIHS, Oklahoma is the 8th most dangerous state for drivers, and that is partly due to the number of commercial trucks that pass through the state every day.

Contact the Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Graves McLain PLLC

All accident cases involving commercial vehicles are handled on a no-win, no-fee basis. Graves McLain is only compensated when our clients have been reimbursed. There is no legal charge if there is no recovery. Call us immediately at 918-359-6600 for a free case evaluation. Additionally, potential clients can send us an email or request a free consultation online by filling out the form on our website.

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    Robert S.
    Submitted April 1, 2022

  • Professional, compassionate, and very smooth way

    I have been working with chad McLain for two years. He has helped me get my case resolved in a professional, compassionate, and very smooth way. I wasn’t just a number in this lawsuit which included many others. This firm has made me feel like I was the only one. Amy Cox has also been amazing. She was always so very kind each time I contacted her with questions. Her character shines through, and I’m so thankful she was there for me. I would definitely suggest that anyone who might need a lawyer for a medical lawsuit to choose Graves McLain law firm.

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    Robert S.
    Submitted April 1st, 2022
  • Professional, compassionate, and very smooth way

    I have been working with chad McLain for two years. He has helped me get my case resolved in a professional, compassionate, and very smooth way. I wasn’t just a number in this lawsuit which included many others. This firm has made me feel like I was the only one. Amy Cox has also been amazing. She was always so very kind each time I contacted her with questions. Her character shines through, and I’m so thankful she was there for me. I would definitely suggest that anyone who might need a lawyer for a medical lawsuit to choose Graves McLain law firm.

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    Submitted March 31st, 2022
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    My case just settled and I want to thank Rachel Gussman, Janet, Sonia, Emily, Amy, and Margo. This process was definitely a team effort. When I was involved in a car accident last year, I turned to my friend Rachel for guidance. I was thoroughly impressed with their skills, office staff professionalism and friendliness, communication, and of course, the end results. I highly recommend Graves McLain.

    Kimberly M.
    OKSubmitted December 22nd, 2021
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    Ken T.
    Submitted December 14th, 2021
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