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How does the type of vehicle involved in an accident impact the case?

When most people think of commercial vehicles, they usually think of 18-wheelers. However, there is a broad spectrum of commercial vehicles ranging from smaller delivery vans to large 18-wheelers.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the aspects of how your case could change based on the type of truck involved.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • In what ways does the type of vehicle impact my case?
  • What are the different kinds of commercial vehicles?
  • Why does the type of vehicle matter?

The type of vehicle matters when strategizing your case

The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have been handling truck accident cases for 25 years. Each truck accident case we handle is unique, and the causes of action we are able to assert and litigation strategy we use will depend on a number of factors. The type of commercial vehicle that caused the accident is one of the factors that will determine how your case is handled. The main reason?

Different types of commercial vehicles are subject to different rules and regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety. For example, the limits on hours of service (consecutive drive time) are different depending on whether the vehicle is transporting cargo or is a commercial passenger vehicle. There are also different safety requirements and regulations depending on the type of vehicle. For instance, some commercial vehicles are required to have underride guards, while other commercial vehicles are not.

If this concept is new to you, don’t be the least bit embarrassed. Plenty of lawyers haven’t spent the hours we have crawling through the regulations to learn what is and isn’t legal.

Why do these differences matter to your case?

Your attorney will need to know how each type of truck can impact your claim in various ways.

Litigation Strategy. First of all, the type of insurance policy the owner of the vehicle has will determine the strategy we use. Commercial insurance policies are much larger than regular insurance policies, and as a result, accident victims are able to recover larger damages awards. Insurers aren’t simply going to roll over and hand you the money you deserve simply because they have it. In smaller personal injury cases, we would budget less of our time because they’re not as complicated. With these accidents, we know we’re in for the long haul.

Further, whom we hire as “expert witnesses” can mean life and death for your case. As we noted above, the rules about each specific type of truck vary greatly. Courts allow victims to employ individuals with the background and education in a specific area to explain to the jury the ins-and-outs of a particular area. With different trucks, you’ll need different experts. For example, an engineer who was a safety manager for a hazardous materials trucking company might be a perfect fit in a toxic spill case, but he likely wouldn’t be in a dump truck case. Finding the right people with the right background is critical.

Who we sue and for what. The type of commercial vehicle will also determine the different causes of action that we can assert against which person or company responsible. You likely already know that you can file a legal action against the trucking company, but there are other potential parties involved. For example, if an accident victim rear-ends an 18-wheeler that is required by law to have an underride guard, and the underride guard is defective and because of the defect, the victim’s injuries are much more severe. That victim may have a products liability claim against the manufacturer and distributor of the defective underride guard. Another example is if the truck was required to have an underride guard, but the maintenance company removed it and did not replace it. In that case, and accident victim would not have a products liability claim, but he or she would likely have a negligence claim against the maintenance company.

But what happens if the truck is a dump truck? Dump trucks are not required to have underride guards. So you can see that the type of truck involved greatly impacts the legal strategy used in a truck accident case.

Recovery amounts. The type of vehicle and the company that owns will greatly influence the amount of damages an injured person is able to recover. For example, if the commercial vehicle that injures you is a city-owned garbage truck, the amount of damages you can recover from the government entity that owns it is capped by the Texas Tort Claims Act. On the other hand, if a dump truck owned by a private company causes the exact same damages, the amount you can collect is not limited and you will likely be able to recover a greater amount of compensation. The larger the insurance policy is, the larger your potential recovery may be. A heavy 18-wheeler likely has a high-value insurance policy, but a smaller delivery van may or may not have a commercial insurance policy.

How the trucking industry stacks the deck in their favor Read More >

Why you should consider calling Grossman Law Offices

If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck or other type of commercial vehicle, it is important to hire an attorney that has experience handling a variety of commercial truck cases and is knowledgeable about the rules and regulations applicable to all the different types of vehicles. It would be devastating to your case if you hire an inexperienced attorney who misses a key nuance and as a result disregards an important cause of action or potentially liable party. A small mistake could potentially cost an accident victim thousands or even millions of dollars in recovery.

No matter what kind of truck was involved in the collision, call us at (855) 326-0000. We’re here twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

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