Commercial Vehicle Accidents vs. Car Accidents: Know the Facts

A commercial vehicle driver in a neon yellow vest sits in his truck and uses his cell phone during a rest break.

Road accidents are terrifying, regardless of the types of vehicles involved. However, falling victim to a collision with a commercial vehicle can be even scarier. After a crash with a typical commuter car, the actionable steps are clear: tend to any injuries, take the other driver’s insurance information, and call the police. 

But is the protocol the same if you’re involved in an accident with a truck or a bus? Not necessarily. Navigating your way through a crash with a commercial vehicle can be confusing. 

It’s essential to call commercial truck accident attorneys if you’re involved in a commercial vehicle collision in Atlanta, GA. Here are a few key differences between an industrial vehicle accident and a car accident — and why you’ll want to consider specialized legal help if you or a loved one is involved in one of these unfortunate events.

What is a Commercial Vehicle?

Commercial vehicles are used for business purposes, like transporting products or a large number of passengers. They have a specific function outside of casual, private transportation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines a commercial motor vehicle as:

  • Having a gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) and is not used to carry passengers for compensation
  • Used to transport hazardous material in an amount requiring signage under federal regulations.

A few examples of commercial vehicles are: 

  • School buses
  • Dump trucks
  • Garbage trucks
  • Vans
  • Trailers
  • Box trucks
  • Flatbed Trucks
  • Refrigerator trucks
  • Big rigs
  • Gas tankers
  • Ambulances
  • Fire Trucks
  • Public transit buses
  • Delivery trucks
  • Postal trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Construction vehicles
  • Utility trucks

Businesses and their employees own and operate these vehicles. Many large companies use fleets of trucks to transport goods all across the U.S.A. They can also vary widely in size and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

Commercial Vehicle Accidents vs. Car Accidents

A white box truck is shown crashed into the guard rail on a highway.

Commercial Accidents Cause Greater Damage

The larger the vehicle, the higher the property damage in a collision. As previously mentioned, commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Trucks this heavy will cause severe damage to any car in their path. In a vehicular crash, the smaller vehicle takes on the worst of the impact. This means the average 4000-pound vehicle could be totaled entirely by a bus or truck. Truck accidents are common on roads in Atlanta. Their size and ample blindspots can result in several different types of accidents. 

Significant property damage also often means greater physical harm. Injuries from a truck accident are usually more severe than those from a collision between two cars. Common road injuries include whiplash, breaks, sprains, head trauma, and back injuries. Victims and their families are often stuck with expensive medical bills, creating debt and stress. 

Above all is the possibility that physical trauma can be permanent. Truck accident victims may miss work due to lifelong injuries, affecting their financial security. If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial vehicle accident, speak to an attorney who accepts wrongful death lawsuits before filing your claim.

A collision with a commercial truck could also be fatal. Drivers are more likely to perish in a wreck involving a commercial vehicle than with another car. If you’ve lost a loved one in a commercial vehicle accident, get help from an experienced attorney who will help build a solid case for your family’s compensation.

Commercial Vehicles have Greater Insurance Policies

Commercial vehicles have more substantial insurance due to their size and driver qualification requirements. The FMCSA requires commercial vehicle policies that can cost more than 50 times the average insurance policy on a standard car. The lowest insurance premium involving non-hazardous vehicles over 10,001 pounds is $750,000. This is because a truck of this size could potentially inflict damages of equal cost. 

Certain insurance plans for commercial vehicles are worth millions of dollars. If a truck under one of these expensive policies it at fault in a crash, the business it belongs to could end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. Companies with commercial fleets will do anything to avoid liability if you are involved in a crash with one of their vehicles.

In a truck accident lawsuit, businesses will use their best lawyers and insurance experts to use tactics in an attempt to reduce their liability and blame you, the victim. If they are successful, they may be able to reduce or deny your claim. Don’t be intimidated by their tactics; make sure you and your claim are taken seriously and hire a commercial accident lawyer.

Commercial Vehicles Have Greater Regulations

Commercial trucks are required to register with the FMCSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Trucks fall subject to many more regulations than cars do. These include but are not limited to:

  • Emission standards
  • Routing regulations
  • Registration and insurance
  • Passenger regulations
  • Special training requirements
  • Commercial driver’s license standards
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Annual inspections

Increased regulation makes it difficult in certain cases to determine the cause or liable party in an accident. If you’re not working with an experienced truck accident attorney, you may not know how to utilize this information to help your claim.

A middle aged woman in a red and blue flannel sits in her living room looking over paperwork that is spread on her coffee table.

A Commercial Collision Means Greater Legal Hassle

Trying to resolve an accident with another non-commercial vehicle is less complicated. People involved in minor accidents know to share their insurance information and call the police if property damage is severe. No driver is ready at a moment’s notice to effectively defend themselves in court — especially if they are responsible for the accident.

Companies with commercial vehicles understand they could lose thousands or even millions of dollars if they are found liable for a collision. That’s why they invest in sophisticated legal teams to protect their bottom line. They will work to make sure you are held liable for a truck accident and prevent you from receiving compensation for your suffering. 

Contacting a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney

Taking on a large company on your own can be overwhelming. Successfully proving your claim and getting the compensation you deserve takes experience and vast resources. That’s why you should contact a law firm that has both. Fried Goldberg LLC has over 100 years of combined experience in truck accident cases. Over 95% of our caseload is devoted to commercial vehicle and trucking accidents. Contact our attorneys at 877-591-1801 or fill out this short web form for a free consultation.

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