Bringing Skill and Compassion to Represent You After a Life-Altering Car Crash
When your life has been altered, perhaps even tragically, by an accident with a commercial shuttle, large van, rental truck, trailer or pickup, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses. Commercial vehicle accident cases are often complex, however, as they depend on a variety of factors related not just to the particulars of the accident, but also to the vehicles and drivers involved, the road and weather conditions at the time of the accident, applicable state and federal laws, and more. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to find a skilled and compassionate commercial vehicle accident lawyer like the attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger who can represent you in the pursuit of justice.
Finding a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney Who Will Fight For You
Not all commercial wrecks involve 18-wheelers. In fact, commercial vehicle accidents represent a broad category of crashes, and can include:
- Taxicabs and ride share vehicles
- Complimentary hotel shuttles
- Courier delivery trucks
- Company delivery vehicles
- Horse and dog trainer and show trailers
- Rental trucks
- Company employee shuttles
- Band tour buses
- Church, private school or nonprofit vehicles to transport members to events
- Tow trucks
- Company vehicles
Some of these vehicles do not require the driver to have a commercial driver’s license. While some are operated for compensation, others are not. These vehicles and their operators must be in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). In addition, some state and local statutes apply to these types of vehicles.
As you would expect, drivers of commercial vehicles are often in a hurry on the road. They are subject to quotas, time constraints, and other limitations of their jobs that push them to make up time when they’re behind the wheel. When drivers of any type of vehicle speed or disregard road safety rules, they increase their chances of causing an accident. Unfortunately, the consequences are far more severe when a commercial vehicle is involved in a crash. This makes it even more imperative to find a commercial vehicle accident attorney who will pursue your claim to maximize the amount of compensation that you deserve after an accident.
It is widely known that driving or riding in a car is surprisingly dangerous — “surprisingly” in the sense that so many of us still choose to get into our cars each day, despite sobering statistics regarding the likelihood of an accident occurring. But driving (or riding in a car, bus or commuter vehicle) is a way of life in most areas of the country; electing not to drive or be a passenger simply isn’t an option for most people. This means we must do our best to minimize the chance of an accident each and every time we get behind the wheel.
Even for the most careful and defensive of drivers, however, the risks of driving are still relatively high. According to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, there were no “deathless days” in Texas in 2017 — meaning, at least one death (and usually far more than one) caused by a roadway crash occurred every single day of the year. There was an average of 10 traffic accident fatalities per day across the state in 2018, and even more troubling, fatalities resulting from accidents involving drivers who were under the influence of alcohol accounted for 26% of the total number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes.
When commercial vehicles are involved in an accident, they cause more extensive injuries and are more deadly than other vehicles, simply due to their significantly larger sizes and heavier weights. Many commercial vehicles require far more stopping time than the average car or lightweight truck or van; they also require more space and care to navigate corners, construction zones, and other potential road hazards. When a smaller car or truck is involved in a crash with a much larger commercial vehicle, there’s just no contest. Add in drivers who are fatigued, distracted, or under the influence, and the results are often catastrophic.
A Commercial Vehicle Accident Law Firm with a Proven Track Record
After you or a loved one have been involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, you may wonder about your rights, what steps you should take and when, and whether there is any legal statute of limitations that could affect your case. A reputable commercial vehicle accident law firm like Slack Davis Sanger will have attorneys with combined decades of experience in and deep knowledge of this area of the law. Slack Davis Sanger’s commercial accident attorneys have comprehensive knowledge surrounding the laws regulating commercial vehicles, as well as legal precedents that have previously been established by related cases.
One complicating factor in accidents involving commercial vehicles is the fact that the term “commercial vehicle” is actually somewhat broader than many drivers realize. According to federal regulations, the term “commercial vehicle” can include vehicles that aren’t operated for compensation and can even include vehicles that don’t require the driver to carry a commercial driver’s license.
In cases of accidents involving commercial vehicles that are licensed to travel interstate routes, the term “commercial vehicle” includes any vehicle that fits at least one of the following criteria:
- Having a minimum gross or combined vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds
- Having been used or designed to transport eight or more passengers (driver included) in exchange for compensation
- Having been used or designed to transport 15 or more passengers (driver not included), not in exchange for compensation
- Being used to transport hazardous materials in sufficient quantity as to require a placard
If your accident involved a commercial vehicle operated solely within the state of Texas, the applicable laws may be a bit different. For example, according to Texas state law, the gross or combined vehicle weight rating for commercial vehicles is 26,001 pounds rather than just 10,001. The state of Texas defines tow trucks as commercial vehicles regardless of their weight, however, whereas farm vehicles are designated as commercial vehicles only if they weigh a minimum of 48,000 pounds.
Still, no matter which set of laws applies to your particular accident, the definition of a commercial vehicle is still quite a bit broader than many drivers on the road may realize — including, in certain cases, the drivers of commercial vehicles themselves. This is a problem because, if a vehicle fits the legal definition of a commercial vehicle, the driver is required by law to operate the vehicle in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These include such requirements as putting the vehicle through scheduled maintenance and having it inspected before and after each trip, as well as the driver having to comply with hours-of-service limits and other requirements.
A Skilled Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer Can Determine Who Is at Fault
If a driver of a commercial vehicle is involved in a roadway accident that results in someone’s injury or death, the question of whether the person behind the wheel was operating in compliance with legal regulations becomes a major focus of the case. Both insurance companies and accident attorneys will investigate this question extensively, along with other important elements, including:
- Roadway and weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Whether any driver involved was fatigued, distracted, or under the influence of any substance
- Whether negligence was involved — either on the part of a driver or on the part of the company owning the commercial vehicle, if applicable
All of these factors are central to a commercial vehicle accident case, because they will help establish which driver or other entity was at fault in the crash. Determining who was at fault is the basis for determining what type of compensation is merited, how much, and to whom.
Accidents with Commercial Vehicles Can Significantly Alter Quality of Life
Someone who has been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle might sustain significant injuries that result in staggering medical bills, or even long-term or permanent disability. The victim might miss extensive amounts of work due to injuries and recovery time or even lose the ability to work at all in the future. The potential for extensive and ongoing emotional pain and suffering is also an important consideration in determining what compensation an accident victim might deserve after a crash.
All of these same factors apply to the surviving family members of victims who lost their lives in roadway accidents. In these types of cases — family members who are suing for compensation after the loss of a loved one in a catastrophic accident — emotional pain and suffering may take center stage, even ahead of medical bills and other, more quantifiable losses. After all, financial losses can be devastating, but it’s hard to attach a dollar amount to the devastation caused by the loss of a loved one, which is a heartbreak that might never be repaired. This is yet another reason why it is so important to choose your commercial vehicle accident attorney carefully.
Slack Davis Sanger Can Advocate For Your Interests After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
When searching for the right commercial vehicle accident law firm to handle your case, there are several factors to take into consideration. These include more obvious elements, such as depth of legal knowledge and experience and a track record of successful settlements and litigation. But less quantifiable aspects, such as listening skills, warmth, trustworthiness, and compassion, should also be taken into account.
There is a reason the accident attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger are leaders in personal injury law. They have decades of experience in settling these types of cases out of court, as well as litigating them in court if necessary, and securing the best possible outcomes for their clients. Equally importantly, the attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger possess a deep sense of compassion for the losses their clients have experienced and the unique challenges they face in the ensuing months and years after the accident.
These, combined with an extensive understanding of commercial vehicle and roadway laws, as well as other legal issues affecting these lawsuits, make the attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger uniquely qualified to handle even the most complex of cases.