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Being involved in any form of accident shouldn’t be taken lightly, but in an accident involving a commercial vehicle accident and a passenger vehicle, it is far more likely for the occupants in the passenger vehicle to be seriously injured or killed in the accident.
What is a Commercial Motor Vehicle?
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a commercial motor vehicle is any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on the interstate highway. According to federal safety regulations, a commercial vehicle is one that:
- Has a gross weight rating of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more;
- Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation;
- Is used in transporting material found by the secretary if transportation to be hazardous;
- Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, not used to transport passengers for compensation.
Texas is home to some of the most dangerous roads in the nation, and the growth in the transportation business is expected to grow annually by double digits for the next serval years. Hundreds of thousands of drivers are involved in commercial motor vehicle accidents each year and many of these incidents result in injuries or even death.
Although there was a decrease in the overall fatal accident rate in both 2017 and 2018, deaths in commercial vehicle accidents are on the rides. Given the extreme weight of 18-wheelers trailers, the aftermath of an accident is quite ugly. Large commercial trucks are roughly 20-30 times the size of passenger vehicles by weight. Therefore, injuries after a commercial vehicle accident can lead to catastrophic injuries.
Common Injuries from a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Head injuries seem to have the most common injury that one can face when they have been involved in a commercial accident. Because of the velocity that commercial vehicles travel at, head injuries can range from mild concussions to injuries with longer-lasting effects, like a traumatic brain injury. Such injuries may require surgery or rehabilitation, making it even more stressful on top of recuperating. Even if it is considered a “minor head injury” there is no such thing as a head injury being too small.
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury can include:
- Personality changes
- Language issues
- Memory issues
After a commercial vehicle accident, especially those carrying fuel or other combustible/hazardous materials, there is a possibility that the collision can cause the gas line to ignite. If the trucker is unable to get away from the explosion or fire, there is a risk of burns to occur.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can include temporary or long-term paralysis of the lower body. The three main regions of a person’s spine are:
- Cervical spine (neck and upper back)
- Thoracic spine (mid-back- about the same level as your lungs)
- Lumbar spine (lower back)
Many times, these types of injuries can be severe and often require months or years of treatment, including physical therapy. That’s why injuries that occur high up on a person’s spine-especially near the neck- are so dangerous. They could result in quadriplegia or paralysis from the neck down.
Back and Neck injuries
Individuals who face serious injuries in truck accidents often face millions of dollars in medical bills over the course of their lives. You shouldn’t have to stress about how you will manage to pay your medical bills as you are trying to physically recover from the accident.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries after a commercial accident. Whiplash is a neck sprain or strain and typically heals within a few weeks with medical treatment but occasionally it can become more serious, resulting in chronic neck pain.
Symptoms may include:
- Neck pain, specifically when you move your neck
- Pain in the shoulders, upper back, or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms.
The blunt of force trauma that is found in a commercial vehicle accident can easily lead to broken or completely shattered bones. A complete crushed bone or one that is broken into more than two pieces is common in these accidents because of the massive force of impact.
What are Some of the Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
A study conducted by the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined the reasons for serious crashes involving a commercial vehicle. While it is unlikely that one factor is the determining factor for all commercial vehicle accidents, there are common trends.
Some of the common causes of commercial vehicle accidents include:
- Running out of travel lane, either into another lane or off the road (32%);
- Colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s lane (22%);
- Loss of vehicle control due to traveling too fast for current conditions, vehicle systems failure cargo shift, poor road conditions, or other reasons (29%)
Insurance Companies in Favor of Trucking Companies
The insurance company for the trucking company will be at the scene of the accident. Their job is to investigate the accident to give you, the victim, the least amount of money that they need to pay you. The defense of truck accident cases frequently centers n efforts to shift responsibility from the driver or company to the plaintiff or other third parties.
Remember it is their job to save commercial vehicle money by paying you less. You shouldn’t have to stress about the monetary portion of the accident. Contact our office and we can help.
Who is Liable in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, any of the following parties may be held liable for a commercial vehicle accident:
- The commercial vehicle driver;
- The driver’s employer;
- The company that owns or leases the vehicle;
- The vehicle’s manufacturer or the manufacturer of a certain vehicle part.
As mentioned earlier, liability all depends on the circumstances of your own incident and can be difficult to pinpoint who exactly is responsible for an accident involving a commercial vehicle accident. Contact our office today to discuss what your legal options look like and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
What to do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
As you would in a passenger car accident, it is important to take the right steps to protect your rights after an accident involving a commercial vehicle. Make sure you do the following:
- Remain at the scene. If you leave the accident scene, it is considered a hit-and-run.
- Check on all drivers and passengers. It is important to check on others to see if they need medical attention.
- Contact the police and exchange information. The police must be called in order to file a police report if there is evidence of property damage, injury, or death.
- Inform your insurance company. Explain the details of the accident to your insurance and obtain the police report.
- Take pictures. Photographic evidence may help determine who is at fault for the accident.
- Seek medical attention and keep track of medical treatment. Keep a record of all appointments, medications, and treatments. In addition, make note of how your injuries have impacted your life.
Commercial vehicle accidents can be complicated but taking these steps can ensure your rights are protected.
How can The Carlson Law Firm Help?
If you or someone you love has been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, contact us today. After 45 years, The Carlson Law Firm has successfully represented victims and has the resources and team to fight for you. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
We care. We can help.