Commercial Vehicle Accident

Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Big rig semi truck blue wolf of roadsHave you or a loved one been hurt or killed in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, such as a truck, tractor-trailer, limousine, Uber cab or bus? You may be legally entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. At the Bart Bernard Law Firm, we are here to help victims of commercial vehicle accidents so that they can get back to living their lives.

Commercial vehicle drivers are held to the highest road safety standards, and many hard-working drivers meet this standard day in and day out. But one moment’s negligence can lead to a lifetime of devastating consequences for motorists who share the road with them. If you believe another driver’s negligent behavior contributed to your crash, we invite you to contact the Bart Bernard Law Firm right away. Let our knowledge and years of experience go to work for you and your family and help you get back on your feet during this difficult time.

Commercial vehicles are hidden in plain site; in a short morning commute, we may not even notice as we pass a dozen commercial vehicles like buses, ambulances, tow trucks, taxis, and tractor trailers. These vehicles may blend into the scenery but they account for approximately 10% of the motor vehicle crash deaths, numerous injuries, and loss of property, income, and livelihood for victims.

Remember that the clock is always ticking when it comes to civil litigation, and if too much time passes you may lose your right to sue. Call us today for a free consultation and find out what your case is worth.

What is a commercial vehicle?

Under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), a commercial vehicle is a motor vehicle that meets the gross vehicle weight given for the type of vehicle it is or that is used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), to transport more than eight passengers for compensation, or to transport hazardous materials.

There are actually two different sections of the CFR that define what is a commercial vehicle; one section sets a higher weight limit or number of passengers and this determines which drivers need a commercial drivers license (CDL). The other section applies to smaller vehicles or those that carry fewer passengers and vehicles under this section do not need a CDL for operation but must still comply with commercial vehicle regulations.

The federal laws may seem confusing but what this means practically is that there are commercial vehicles all around, they tend to be very large (and therefore carrying a greater mass and force than a passenger vehicle in an accident), and they often carry passengers. Some of the examples include:

  • Tractor-trailers
  • 18 wheelers
  • Bus
  • Taxis
  • Limos
  • Community transportation vans
  • Ambulances
  • Utility trucks
  • Pickups
  • Tow trucks

The Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm is experienced in all types of commercial vehicle accidents so you can rest assured that your case is in good hands while you focus on recovery. We have a history of recovering top compensation for accident victims and are ready to speak with you for a free case evaluation.

Types of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Traffic fatalities and non-fatal injuries are on the rise in Louisiana and according to 2015 Louisiana traffic data, truck accidents make up a large proportion of those crashes. Throughout the year, Louisiana roads saw nearly 700 fatal crashes – a 5 percent increase from 2014 – resulting in 752 fatalities. These fatalities were up 1.6% from 2014. In addition, 78,800 people were injured – a more than 8 percent increase from the previous year – and there were 119,400 property damage-only crashes.

In 2015, of the 698 fatal crashes, just over 8 percent involved large trucks. More than 43 percent involved light trucks or vans. Less than one percent involved buses. Twenty-six percent of fatal crashes involved pick-up trucks. Many of these light trucks or vans and pick-up trucks fall under the federal commercial vehicle regulations.

The types of accidents common among semi trucks or tractor-trailers may be familiar to most people: jackknifing, rollovers, tire blowouts, and t-bone collisions, to name a few. But other types of commercial vehicles are prone to specific types of accidents as well. For example:

  • Improper loading of flatbed trucks can cause the load to shift and throw the vehicle off-balance and lead to a rollover or collision
  • Dump trucks can be limited by impaired visibility, leading to collisions with vehicles and passengers that the driver cannot see well
  • Federal laws limit the amount of time a commercial vehicle driver is allowed to drive without a break; when these break times are skipped, overly tired drivers pose a risk to other motorists
  • According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), other factors leading to commercial vehicle accidents include mechanical failure, distracted driving, improper turning, improper loading of cargo, road conditions, driver impairment, recklessness, and speeding.

Each type of commercial vehicle accident raises its own factual, practical, and legal issues. At the Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm, we have a comprehensive knowledge of the issues that these types of accidents raise and are prepared to protect your rights throughout the process.

Liability for commercial vehicle accidents

There are many potential causes – and many potentially liable parties – in an accident involving a commercial vehicle. The first question is who or what caused the accident. When the cause is related to the commercial vehicle or the driver – as government statistics indicated is often the case – the next question is who is liable for the vehicle or driver?

When the driver or his vehicle is at fault, liability can fall on the driver personally, his employer, the truck’s owner, the company that leased the truck or trailer, the company that loaded the cargo, or the entity that performed repairs or maintenance, just to name a few of the possibilities.

The law recognizes an injury victim’s right to be made whole. In the case of a serious accident, the victim or his or her loved ones may be entitled to recover for past and future medical expenses and lost wages, property damage, disfigurement and disability, emotional distress, and in the most extreme cases, funeral expenses and wrongful death compensation.

Louisiana commercial vehicle accident lawyer

Bart Bernard is a leading Louisiana commercial vehicle accident lawyer. Our work on behalf of injury victims has earned us a spot in the selective and elite Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum. Whether you were injured by a large truck or another commercial vehicle, call us for a free case evaluation.

Additional commercial vehicle accident resources

  1. LSU Data Reports, 2015 Louisiana Traffic Records Data Report, http://datareports.lsu.edu/Reports/SpecialReports/2015_FactBook.pdf
  2. Code of Federal Regulations (Cornell University Law School), Section 383.5 Definitions, https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/383.5
  3. Code of Federal Regulations (Cornell University Law School), Section 390.5 Definitions, https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/390.5
  4. Donlen, CMV Regulations and Guidelines: Stay in DOT Compliance with the Ever-Changing Regulation Landscape, http://www.donlen.com/blog/dot-compliance-cmv-regulations
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