A commercial vehicle—also known as a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)—accident often has severe consequences for several reasons. One is the size of commercial vehicles compared to passenger vehicles. The other is the impact of the collision and the speed the cars traveled when the accident occurred.
Due to the nature of commercial vehicle collisions, it is sometimes hard to pinpoint who is the fault party. This difficulty makes it hard for crash victims to file a claim for damages. To help victims identify the responsible party in a collision, our Ohio commercial vehicle accident lawyers discuss the class of persons liable in a CMV crash. Contact us today if you suffer injuries from an accident involving a commercial vehicle.
How Does a Commercial Vehicle Accident Differ From Other Traffic Crashes?
A commercial vehicle includes pickup trucks, box trucks, semi-trucks, vans, coaches, buses, taxicabs, trailers, and travel trailers. Accidents involving these vehicles can result in catastrophic injuries like:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Injuries requiring amputation
The main difference between typical car crashes and commercial vehicle accidents is finding the liable party. In a passenger car accident between two drivers, determining the fault party is not hard. It’s either driver A caused the crash or driver B. Once the fault gets determined, the victim can commence the compensation claim process.
In a commercial vehicle accident, identifying the fault party is a bit more tricky. This is because multiple parties aside the truck driver could also be at fault for the accident. After all, trucks are owned mainly by trucking companies. Therefore, always work with an Ohio car accident lawyer when commencing a claim for a CMV crash.
Who Pays Compensation in a Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident?
Below are the possible parties liable in a commercial vehicle accident.
The Truck Driver
The truck driver is always the first person to look at when considering liability in a CMV collision. Here, it is essential to establish the trucker’s conduct before the accident. For example, were they distracted, did they fall asleep at the wheel, or were they under the influence of drugs or alcohol? If the answer is yes to any preceding questions, the truck driver is solely responsible for the accident.
The Trucking Company
Even if the driver’s negligent actions caused the accident, the trucking company would be liable in some instances. One such instance is where the company hired the driver while fully aware of their reckless driving record. For example, a company that knowingly employs a driver with past DUI convictions will be liable if they cause an accident while impaired. Similarly, if the trucking company fails to maintain their vehicle and an accident occurs, the victim can hold them responsible.
The Cargo Loaders
The third class of responsible parties in a commercial vehicle accident is cargo loaders. A cargo loader is a person who loads goods into a commercial vehicle. If they fail to secure the load adequately, and it causes a spillage accident, the cargo loader would be the liable party.
The Truck Manufacturer
Sometimes, a defective part, like brakes or braking system, can lead to an accident. When this happens, the victim can hold the truck manufacturer liable for the occurrence. First, however, they must show that a design defect, not the truck driver’s negligence, caused the crash.
A third party is a person who created an event that led to an accident. For instance, suppose a semi-truck driver is traveling at legal speed. Then suddenly, a small car traveling above the speed limit overtakes the semi. While trying to avoid the small vehicle, the driver veers into oncoming traffic, leading to a head-on collision.
In such an instance, the small car driver would be liable for the accident. The truck driver will only share liability if there’s proof that they were, for example, distracted at the time of the accident. However, their liability would be less than that of the driver who began the events that caused the collision.
Let Ohio Auto Accident Lawyers Help With Your Commercial Vehicle Accident Case
Identifying the liable party or parties in a CMV crash can seem like a daunting task —especially when dealing with injuries. Thankfully, our Ohio auto accident attorneys can help you determine the appropriate fault party. We have helped several Ohio residents resolve this issue and get compensation, and we can do the same for you. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay us until we win. Contact us today for a free case review.