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Accidents in Company Vehicles

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Commercial vehicle accidents can be very serious and result in severe injuries. From large semi-trucks to regular-sized company cars and other vehicles, these cases can present several challenges if you need to pursue a claim for your injuries. An experienced Fort Lauderdale commercial vehicle accident lawyer can help you understand your options and navigate the complex claims process that arises when dealing with corporate entities and commercial insurance carriers.

If you’ve incurred injuries in a commercial vehicle accident, Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer David Fuchs is prepared to help you. He has assisted many clients in fighting for the compensation they deserve for over 30 years. If you’ve been injured and would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, call David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 568-3636, or reach out through the online form.

What is a Commercial Vehicle?

Commercial vehicles are generally defined as being used for business as opposed to private purposes. Florida Statute 320.01 (25), however, specifically defines a commercial vehicle as:

  • Not being owned or operated by a government entity
  • A vehicle that uses special fuel on public highways
  • Has a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Has three or more axles, regardless of weight
  • When used in combination has a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more

This definition focuses almost exclusively on size and weight. The definition of a commercial vehicle listed in the Broward County Code is perhaps more helpful. It defines a commercial vehicle as “any vehicle designed, intended, or used for transportation of people, goods, or things, other than private passenger vehicles and recreational vehicles.”

Common Types of Commercial Vehicles

The Broward County Code includes several examples of commercial vehicles:

  • Semi-truck
  • Buses and vehicles designed to carry 10 or more people
  • Dump trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Utility vehicles
  • Any vehicle with a business name displayed on it

Most people would consider a semi-truck or bus to be a commercial vehicle, but there are many other commercial vehicles that people tend to overlook:

  • Hotel shuttle vans
  • Company cars
  • Utility vans
  • Pick-up trucks

It’s important to also note that many commercial vehicles don’t look like commercial vehicles. You may be hit by someone who’s driving their company car while doing their job, or their job may require them to use their personal vehicle. Whatever the case, accidents in these situations require special consideration, and should be handled by an experienced Fort Lauderdale commercial vehicle accident lawyer.

Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Most accidents in commercial vehicles are the result of simple negligence, either on the part of the driver or the company who owns the vehicle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that commercial drivers and shift workers are among those most likely to drive while drowsy. In addition to drowsy driving, other common underlying factors in commercial vehicle accidents include:

  • Mechanical failures due to poor maintenance
  • Lack of driver training or experience in operating large vehicles
  • Distracted driving
  • Cargo shifting or breaking loose
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Use of over-the-counter medications

Of course, commercial drivers are no different than anyone else and are just as likely to perform illegal maneuvers, speed, and otherwise drive unsafely. Whatever the case, you may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been injured in a commercial vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault. Contact an attorney at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. to learn more.

Commercial Vehicle Crash Statistics

Commercial vehicle accidents happen more often than you might think. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 44,000 commercial vehicle accidents in the state of Florida in 2018. Almost 4,500 of those accidents occurred in Broward County alone.

Perhaps even more alarming, fatalities involving large trucks (the category of which includes many commercial vehicles) appear to be on the rise. In an October 2018 press release, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 2017 saw a nine percent increase in fatal accidents involving large trucks. This includes an increase of almost six percent involving semi-trucks, and an increase of more than 18 percent involving single-unit trucks.

Why Commercial Vehicle Accidents are Unique

It’s important to understand that commercial vehicle accidents differ from typical car accident cases in several important ways. The first difference is the fact that commercial vehicle accidents often present a much greater risk of serious injury due to the large size and heavy weight of many vehicles. Not only are you more likely to be injured, but your injuries are also more likely to be severe.

More importantly, commercial vehicle accidents typically require that you pursue the corporate entity and their commercial insurance carrier if you need to make a claim. While insurance companies are never easy to deal with, the claim process may become even more complicated in the context of a commercial vehicle accident. The business may have set up its corporate structure specifically to shield itself from claims, and may not even be responsible for owning and operating the vehicle. They will work closely with their lawyers to dispute your claim and make sure they don’t have to pay more than the absolute minimum.

Commercial vehicle accidents also raise a number of unique issues, due to the fact that the driver of the vehicle was likely driving as part of his job. Some of the issues that should be investigated to ensure that you are properly compensated for your claim include:

  • Was the driver properly trained?
  • Did the driver have the necessary license or other certifications to operate the vehicle?
  • Does the company regularly provide additional training to its drivers to ensure that they are driving safely?
  • Does the company adequately supervise its drivers? Does it promptly respond to complaints concerning unsafe driving and take appropriate corrective action?
  • Does the company encourage unsafe driving practices?
  • Was the vehicle properly and regularly maintained?

The unfortunate reality in many commercial vehicle accidents is that the company values its profitability over your safety.

Contact a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer for Help

If you’ve been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, your first priority should be on your health and recovery. However, you shouldn’t have to bear the cost of someone else’s negligence. Don’t jeopardize your future by thinking that the driver’s company will do the right thing or will fairly compensate you for your injuries. You need someone who is on your side and will fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. The David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. provides representation to victims of commercial vehicle accidents to ensure that they get a fair result. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, call (954) 568-3636 today, or reach out through the online form.

If you cannot come to the Fort Lauderdale office, accident attorney David I. Fuchs will send a representative to see you. His staff speaks English and Spanish. Se habla Inglés y Español.

Llame a David Fuchs abogado de accidentes en la Fort Lauderdale. Ofrece consultas gratuitas.