A commercial motor vehicle is one that is used to transport goods and generally requires a special license. Commercial vehicles include big rigs and delivery trucks. Car accidents involving commercial vehicles can be particularly dangerous due to the sheer size and weight of the commercial vehicles. Many different factors can cause collisions between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles.
If you have been injured in a commercial car accident, contact California attorney Johann Hall right away. As an experienced attorney who has successfully handled many commercial car accident cases for his clients, attorney Johann Hall will fight for the compensation you deserve.
One of the common causes of commercial car accidents is distracted driving. A driver can be distracted by any number of things, such as the use of a cell phone (either by talking on the phone while driving or texting), eating or drinking, and using a navigation system or changing a radio station. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, distracted driving was a contributing factor in motor vehicle collisions that resulted in 3,450 deaths in the year 2016.
Distracted driving is dangerous, to begin with, but when you are driving a commercial vehicle or driving a passenger vehicle near a commercial vehicle, it can be especially dangerous. For drivers of commercial vehicles, one particularly dangerous form of distracted driving occurs when a driver is overworked and overtired. Some companies have certain requirements for their drivers to meet involving long routes and long hours, and if the driver is not properly rested between trips, the driver may become distracted on the road—or even fall asleep—due to their exhaustion. This can be extremely dangerous for these drivers and those in the vehicles around them.
Commercial Vehicle Operators with Insufficient Training
Under federal law, there are certain requirements that drivers of commercial vehicles must meet before they can legally operate these vehicles on the roadway. One of these requirements is that the driver must have a specialized license, called a commercial driver’s license. There are three different license classes, Class A, B, and C. The main difference between these three types of licenses is the weight restrictions on the vehicles.
Additionally, there are eligibility requirements in order to get a commercial driving license, which includes an age minimum of 21 along with a requirement that the driver has no disqualifying criminal offenses on their record. A driver seeking their commercial vehicle license must also pass a road skills test.
Beyond just the minimum requirements to operate a commercial vehicle, the company that the driver works for typically has their own training program and requirements for employment as a driver. If the company has failed to adequately train their employees, and an employee therefore causes a motor vehicle accident, the company itself may be liable for the accident along with the driver. Additionally, there may also be a liability on the part of the company for negligent hiring if it is later determined that the driver did not have the necessary license or meet the minimum standards to operate a commercial vehicle.
Equipment Malfunction and Overloading of the Commercial Vehicle
Another way for the commercial company to be liable for a car accident involving one of its employees is if it has been determined that the vehicle equipment wrongfully malfunctioned as a result of failing to adhere to regulations regarding maintenance of the vehicle. Collisions resulting from equipment malfunction may be caused by tire blowouts or faulty brakes, or some other type of malfunction. If regular maintenance has not been performed, if proven, this could also be a contributing factor to prove liability on the part of the commercial company.
Additionally, there are certain requirements for loading commercial vehicles, including the total weight of the goods or other items being carried. If the commercial vehicle had been overloaded with items to the extent that the vehicle was over the weight limit or if the items were not loaded properly into the commercial vehicle, this is another instance in which the commercial company may be at least partially at fault for the collision.
If you have been injured in a collision involving a commercial vehicle in the state of California, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will determine if you have a claim for damages and also ensure that you file your case against all parties that may be responsible. Call California commercial car accident attorney Johann Hall today to get started pursuing your case.