Killeen Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
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Legal Representation for Killeen Victims of a Company Vehicle Accident
A company car accident in Killeen is not just another car accident for you or your loved ones. These types of accidents can result in permanent severe personal injuries or even death. Company vehicles may be driven by professional drivers and are insured by commercial policies. Once a crash occurs, representatives from the company and the insurance carrier usually begin investigating the accident within hours, to clean up their mess. Their goal is to pay you as little as they can under the insurance policy. If you were hit by a company car or truck, contact a Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer at The Carlson Law Firm.
Commercial insurance carriers have teams of adjusters and attorneys to protect the company from risk and expense. A Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm is the first step to protecting your rights.
What is a Commercial Vehicle?
Any vehicle titled or registered to a company is a considered a commercial vehicle. This can be a fleet, company car or other vehicles used for business. Vehicles designed to carry more than 15 passengers are also considered commercial vehicles. Employees may also use company vehicles to carry out job-related duties such as, carrying equipment, hauling goods, transporting passengers or for work-related employee transportation.
Examples of Different Company Vehicles
Commercial vehicle accidents can happen anywhere in the city with any kind of vehicles. Company vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, from small cars to enormous trucks. Commercial vehicles include:
- Delivery trucks, vans
- Fleet vehicles
- UPS/Fed-Ex trucks
- Taxi cabs
- Construction company vehicles
- Buses, including city or school buses
- Garbage or dump trucks or street cleaners
- Corporate cars
- Utility and repair company trucks or vans
- Semis, 18-wheelers and other large trucks
Commercial Truck Classification
Commercial trucks tend to be much larger than standard vehicles on the road. The Federal Highway Administration categorizes commercial vehicles by their weight. Commercial vehicles breakdown by the FHA’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR):
Interestingly, a driver does not need a special license to drive vehicles in classes one through six, but federal agencies require a USDOT number and company name on any vehicle over 10,001lbs. In Texas, state law requires a TxDMV number for commercial vehicles under the following instances:
- Operating a vehicle (or combination of vehicles) with a gross weight, registered weight or gross-weight rating exceeding 26,000 pounds.
- Transporting hazardous materials in a quantity that requires placarding.
- Operating a farm vehicle with a gross weight, registered weight or gross weight rating of 48,000 pounds or more.
- Operating a commercial school bus.
- Transporting household goods for compensation, regardless of vehicle weight.
- Operating a vehicle designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver.
As evidenced by their size and weight range, an accident with a company vehicle causes serious personal injuries. An experienced Killeen Company Vehicle Accident Lawyer can help you recoup any losses to your quality of life.
Causes of Company Vehicle Crashes
Company car drivers in Killeen are tasked with a higher care of duty when operating their vehicles. As with any car accident, these accidents can be the result of distracted or drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, speeding or reckless driving, or vehicle defects. In addition, the larger the company vehicle, the greater the force with which it will strike the other vehicle. Large vans and trucks will often cause more serious injuries than cars, although each accident is unique.
Types of Killeen Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Different crashes result in different types of injuries. The speed, the weight of the vehicles, the angle of the crash are all factors in the injuries you may sustain from a commercial vehicle accident when operating a vehicle in Killeen. A qualified Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer can help you through the process of seeking justice after the negligence of a company car driver.
- Rear End Crashes
- Head-On Wrecks
- Side Impact Accidents
Commercial vehicle and truck crashes can have catastrophic consequences for an innocent driver. In some cases, these vehicles carry hazardous chemicals or other dangerous materials. As a result, exposure to these chemicals can exacerbate physical injuries from the initial impact of the crash.
Killeen Commercial Vehicle Accident Injuries
It is important to note, each accident is unique and your injuries can vary depending on the severity of the crash. Injuries stemming from accidents break down into two major categories.
- Impact injuries: typically caused by a person’s body hitting some part of the interior of the car.
- Penetrating injuries: typically cuts or scrapes caused by shattering glass or lose objects flying inside the car on impact.
Some injuries may resolve in a matter of days. However, no matter how insignificant you think your injuries are, an experienced Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer will still recommend seeking medical attention right away. The most common injuries stemming from commercial vehicle accidents in Killeen include:
- Head and brain injuries. A blow, or piercing, of the skull or brain. Examples, concussions or other traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, skull fractures, or lacerations.
- Neck, back or spine injuries. Whiplash is the most common injury suffered in car accidents. Injuries can include herniated discs, spinal cord damage, sprains or strains.
- Chest injuries. The force of an impact does serious harm on the human body. Injuries can include broken ribs, sternum, and injuries to internal organs.
- Burn injuries. fires are a serious concern after a car accident. Burns can be severe or even fatal.
- Soft tissue injuries. Muscles, tendon and ligaments can be stretched or torn in an accident. This type of pain can be long-lasting. Includes deep cuts or wounds to the abdomen from a penetrating trauma to the trunk or lower checks.
- Broken bones injuries. The extreme pain of broken bones may require surgery. These injuries can take a very long time.
Who is Liable for a Commercial Vehicle Crash?
When an employee is acting as an agent for the company, the company is, generally, responsible for the actions of their employees. This means that when a company vehicle is involved in an accident, the driver and the company may be liable for damages. The driver may be responsible if negligence played a role in the accident. In addition, employers may be liable for:
- Negligent supervision
- Negligent hiring practices
- Failing to verify proper licensing/ certification
- Improperly properly train drivers
- Poor vehicle maintenance
If an employee is using a company car for personal business at the time of the accident, the company owner can still be held liable in this situation. A car owner is required to use due care when allowing someone to drive the vehicle. An expert Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer can find out if the company failed to check the employee’s driving record or should have known that the employee had medical or other conditions that impacted the operation of the vehicle. Our firm can help you hold a company liable for negligent entrustment of the vehicle.
Respondeat Superior Liability
The phrase respondeat superior is a Latin term that lawyers sometimes use. The term may be “translated” as:
If an employee:
- Is at fault for an accident (or an incident); and
- Was doing work for a company at the time of the accident/incident (lawyers will often refer to this as “acting within the scope of employment”); then
- The employer may be held liable for damages arising from the accident/incident.
Our Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyers will establish whether there was any negligence on the part of the driver, as well as examining the company. The business could be liable for damages related to their supervision.
What Acts are Within The Scope Of Employment?
An expert Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer can help you determine what constitutes an act committed within the scope of employment. Without proper experience, this can be an extremely difficult task. Fortunately, courts have adopted a number of factors to help resolve this issue. Although each state’s laws may differ, common factors can include:
- The intent of the employee
- Nature, time, and place of the employee’s conduct
- Type of work the employee was hired to do
- Incidental acts the employer should reasonably expect the employee to do
- Amount of freedom allowed to the employee in performing his or her duties, and
- Length of time consumed in the personal activity
The vehicle operator can be held liable when:
- The damages were intentional, or the driver was doing something he was not employed to do: If a commercial truck driver should be en route to his delivery destination, but they stop for a reason that is outside the scope of employment and ends up causing a crash, the driver may be held liable.
- The driver is independently contracted to do work for the company: If the driver is not directly considered an employee of the company that he is driving for, then the driver will usually be held accountable for the damages. For example, a large company may not want to get involved in employing truck drivers and purchasing their own trucks for their employees to drive. Instead, they can write up contracts with a third party trucking company and get the same results. Liability would fall on the driver, or possibly the company that the driver is actually employed by.
What To Do If You Are Hit By a Company Car or Truck
Car accidents are increasing every year in Killeen. Along with our growing our economy, the number of company vehicles on the road is increasing. Nonetheless, there are steps to take to protect your legal rights after a Killeen commercial vehicle accident:
- Your health comes first: Seek appropriate medical attention for your injuries. Always call 9-1-1 after an accident, they will make sure you receive proper medical attention and will file incident reports.
- Document the scene: If you’re able to, document the scene of the crash. Take photographs of everything you see, no detail is too small. Depending on the severity of the crash, companies may send someone out to the scene to start cleaning up the mess, in an attempt to hide evidence. If you’re unable to document the scene yourself, contact an attorney. An attorney will dispatch an investigator to the scene immediately.
- Do not talk to anyone: The company’s claims adjuster may also contact you, who began to protect the trucking company’s interests right after your accident. The designated investigator collects evidence to defend or minimize the claim.
- Contact a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney: A commercial adjuster may attempt to steer you away from hiring a Killeen Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer because they know that if you have an attorney, you are more likely to receive a larger settlement. An attorney will protect your rights and will ensure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries and losses.
A Killeen Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you were hit by a company car or truck, we’re the firm for you. We know all too well that accidents can add a whole lot of stress to your life. However, this stress is not limited to physical pain. It also presents as outstanding medical bills, financial distress, and emotional suffering. Fortunately for innocent truck accident victims, there is help out there for you that can lift a significant amount of strain off of an overwhelmed victim of negligence. Make sure you’ve got an experienced Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer on your side.
Your involvement in a company vehicle accident can turn your life upside-down. Suffering an injury or even the death of a loved one can cause you physical and emotional distress. To further this distress, the costs of medical treatment, loss of wages and vehicle repair can pile up and cause you to find yourself in financial trouble. As the victim of a company car accident, you have a right to seek compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a company vehicle accident in the Killeen area, you need a Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer that will provide you with representation backed by the financial and legal resources necessary to win your case.
We have been protecting the rights of injured victims across the nation for over 40 years. At The Carlson Law Firm, our first priority is your health and well-being. First, we will ensure that you receive proper medical treatment for any injuries you sustained. While that is taking place, behind the scenes we will investigate the incident. We maintain a staff that includes private investigators that will go out into the field and investigate on your behalf. Once we have all the evidence and documentation we feel necessary, a Killeen commercial vehicle accident lawyer will begin the process of pursuing your claim.
With The Carlson Law Firm, you’ll have an entire team on your side.