Understanding Commercial & Ordinary Vehicle Accidents - AA Law

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What Makes Commercial Vehicle Crashes Different from Others?

December 5, 2023 Alan Ahdoot
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Commercial vehicle accidents present unique challenges compared to regular car crashes. From complex regulations to increased severity, understanding these differences is crucial. Having the contact information of a commercial vehicle accident lawyer at your fingertips is just as important.

In this blog, we break down what sets commercial vehicle accidents apart and provide insights to navigate the aftermath. Stay informed to protect your rights on the road.

What is Considered A Commercial Vehicle in California?

According to Section 260 of the California Vehicle Code, a commercial vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle used for transporting persons for hire or primarily for the transportation of property.

This encompasses various vehicles like:

  • Buses
  • Semi-trucks
  • 18-wheelers
  • Big rigs
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Cargo vans
  • Delivery trucks
  • Construction vehicles
  • Tow trucks
  • Garbage trucks

Understanding this broad classification is essential, as it outlines the diverse range of vehicles subject to commercial regulations, impacting licensing, safety standards, and potential liabilities in the event of accidents.

Commercial Vehicle Crashes vs. Car Accidents

Accidents involving commercial vehicles deviate significantly from typical car crashes, primarily due to the diverse array of liable parties, distinct legal considerations, and the nature of injuries sustained.

Possible Liable Parties

Car accidents typically involve two primary parties: the drivers. Liability hinges on driver negligence, encompassing actions like speeding, distracted driving, intoxication, or road rage. In some cases, government agencies might be liable for inadequate road maintenance.

In contrast, commercial vehicle accidents may involve multiple parties:

  • Commercial Vehicle Driver: Liable for violations such as traffic offenses, driving under the influence, or neglecting maintenance.
  • Driver’s Employer: Responsible for negligent hiring, inadequate training, or setting unrealistic schedules leading to driver fatigue.
  • Vehicle Owner: Liable for poor maintenance, overloading, or disregarding safety standards.
  • Commercial Vehicle Repair Shop: Liable for negligent maintenance, improper repairs, or oversight of critical issues.
  • Vehicle Manufacturer: Liable for design flaws, manufacturing defects, or failure to address known issues.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for victims seeking compensation, given the multitude of potentially liable parties in commercial vehicle accidents.

A commercial truck is a vehicle that can cause a more serious accident than a car.
Commercial vehicle crashes may involve more parties and cause more severe injuries. 

Injuries Sustained

Common injuries in car accidents include the following:

  • Whiplash from sudden deceleration
  • Fractures resulting from the impact
  • Burns or abrasions from airbag deployment
  • Soft tissue injuries like sprains or strains
  • Head injuries ranging from concussions to traumatic brain injuries
  • Chest injuries involving broken ribs or internal organ damage
  • Abdominal injuries occurring from impact with the steering wheel
  • Psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression

On the other hand, common injuries in commercial vehicle crashes are often more severe due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. These include catastrophic injuries, such as:

  • Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and severe fractures
  • Crush injuries resulting from the immense force of impact
  • Burns resulting from hazardous materials
  • Severe whiplash and soft tissue injuries

The substantial weight difference between trucks and other vehicles heightens the likelihood of fatal injuries. 

Statistics on commercial vehicle crashes reveal that in 2021, 5,788 individuals lost their lives in large truck accidents. Regrettably, victims of truck accidents frequently confront prolonged rehabilitation and substantial medical expenses.

Related Laws

Car drivers must generally be 18 or older, hold a valid driver’s license, pass written, practical, and vision tests, and provide proof of insurance and residency.

On the other hand, commercial truck drivers face stricter rules, needing a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), undergoing regular medical exams, and submitting proof of such exams every two years. They also undergo regular vehicle inspections and road tests. 

In California, commercial truck drivers must also follow Hours of Service regulations, limiting driving to 11 hours with a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours. 

Additionally, commercial trucks adhere to size and weight limits, with specific regulations varying by state.

Contact a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer

You have the right to consult with a commercial vehicle crash lawyer after an accident. Adamson Ahdoot’s attorneys specialize in handling complex cases involving both truck and car accidents. We offer free consultations in English and Spanish.

With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our civil litigation law firm provides unmatched expertise to support your claim. Contact us at (800) 310-1606 or visit our website for a free consultation.

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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