Accidents involving commercial vehicles often result in serious injury due to the size and volume of the vehicles involved. In addition, there are usually insurance issues to deal with including liability, heath and even health care providers. Commercial vehicle accidents tend to be more comprehensive from both a legal and financial standpoint due to it’s heavily regulated industry, the investigation requirements and aggressive representation of the commercial company and the driver of the commercial vehicle.
Accidents happen every day due to a variety of differing elements, including:
• Reckless driving/negligence
• Inexperienced drivers
• Poor weather conditions
• Unsafe roadways
• A defect in the vehicle
• Inadequate vehicle repairs
• Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Commercial vehicle drivers have many more responsibilities on the roadways than your average driver of a personal vehicle. Depending on what is being transported, there are different certification and licensing requirements that a commercial driver must possess. Along with these documents they must have logs recording drive time and mileage, vehicle inspection, tire log and other records demonstrating compliance with USDOT regulations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are two departments that oversee commercial vehicles and large truck safety.
What constitutes a commercial vehicle?
Commercial vehicles are motor vehicles that either carries passengers or goods, including but not limited to the following:
• Semi trucks (lorry) and trailers
• Delivery trucks
• Box trucks
• Safety vehicles
• Construction vehicles
Commercial driver accidents stem from a number of different reasons including:
• Commercial driver fatigue
• Commercial driver negligence
• Drug use
• Driving while under the influence—drunk driving
• Commercial vehicle equipment failures—brakes or tires
• Failure to break or unexpected braking
• Reckless driving or speeding
• Weather and road conditions
• Load shifts
• Improper road/shoulder pull-overs
What do I do after being involved in a commercial vehicle accident?
If you or someone you know has been involved in a commercial vehicle accident the first step to take is call 911. Commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 lbs and personal vehicles, even large SUVs, cannot withstand the sort of impact delivered from such massive vehicles. It is important to get an evaluation immediately after the accident. Secondly, call the police. They will determine if the commercial driver was following any and all regulations as well as who was at fault in the accident.
Next, avoid saying anything. Often times when the two drivers speak directly after the accident, words get misconstrued and can come back to haunt you. Avoid talking to anyone but medical and police personnel. Finally, take pictures. Most people these days have a camera on their mobile devices. Taking a few pictures of the scene, the vehicles, the driver of the commercial vehicle and any witnesses can only help build your case. Do not hesitate to take these small steps.
In order to succeed in a commercial litigation, the proper representation must have a complete understanding of the laws and procedures regarding these types of commercial motor vehicle accidents.
A detailed investigation of the accident’s circumstances and thorough documentation regarding injuries suffered along with a complete diagnosis is a necessary tool your representation must have. Most importantly, your representation must have the ability to comprehensively display these facts, as well as others, into a presentation that can and will be properly heard. The four steps listed above will aid your Colorado attorney in properly representing you and your claim.
Commercial vehicle accidents are often substantial, involving multiple vehicles, heavy damage and can even involve fatalities. Contact an experienced Colorado accident attorney that is seasoned in personal injury, truck accidents and/or wrongful death cases. Such an attorney will be able to give you the aggressive representation needed to ensure the proper compensation and recovery you deserve. Do not take the insurance and big trucking companies alone; contact an experienced truck accident attorney today!