Car Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles

What You Need to Know About Commercial Truck Accident Law

Every state in the US has laws governing the use of commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it’s important that you understand your legal rights and obligations. This article will provide some insight into truck accident law to help you better navigate this difficult situation.

There are certain criteria that must be met in order for a commercial vehicle driver to be held liable in a truck accident. The commercial driver must have been negligent and their negligence must have caused the accident. This means that they did something wrong, such as speeding, driving while distracted, or failing to obey traffic signals/laws.

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it’s important that you seek medical attention and contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you understand the relevant laws and make sure that your rights are protected.

Truck accidents often involve complex legal issues and insurance claims. Commercial vehicle drivers carry special insurance policies to cover the damages their vehicles may cause in an accident. Your lawyer can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries, what insurance policies may be applicable, and how to pursue compensation for your losses.

There are certain laws that govern truck accidents that you should be aware of. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific regulations in place for commercial vehicle drivers and operators. 

Commercial vehicles must adhere to certain safety standards and minimum insurance coverage requirements. Truck drivers are required to keep a log of their hours that they have driven and are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours in a 14 hour period.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it’s important that you understand your legal rights and obligations. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the compensation that you deserve.

Truck Accident Statistics

In the United States, there were approximately 4,678 large truck crashes in 2018, resulting in 3,986 total fatalities and 108,000 injuries. The majority of these fatalities (72%) were occupants of other vehicles involved in the crash. Unsurprisingly, alcohol impairment is a factor in many of these collisions; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 16% of fatal crashes involving large trucks involved an impaired truck driver.

Large trucks accounted for 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes 4% of all registered vehicles 10% of total vehicle miles traveled. [1]

Truck Accident Statistics

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver error, mechanical failure, and environmental conditions. Driver errors are often the most common cause of truck accidents due to the large size and weight of commercial vehicles, which require more complex maneuvering in order to navigate safely.

Common driving errors that contribute to truck accidents include speeding, failing to check blind spots, and failing to adequately maintain the vehicle. Mechanical failures can also contribute to truck accidents, as can environmental hazards such as poor road conditions or inclement weather.

In addition to the factors listed above, there are other important considerations when it comes to truck accidents. For instance, fatigue is a major contributor to truck accidents. In fact, drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of such incidents; truck drivers often work long hours and can become fatigued on the road. Distractions such as cell phones and other devices can also lead to truck accidents.

Trucking companies pushing deadlines and having their trucks on the road for long hours can also be a factor in commercial vehicle accidents. To avoid such incidents, state and federal regulations dictate how many hours per day and week truck drivers can be on the road, as well as other safety regulations that should be followed.

Standards for Truck Driver Conduct

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established a number of regulations to ensure that commercial vehicle drivers are operating safely on roads and highways.

These include hours-of-service rules, which dictate how long a driver can be on duty and driving in a given day; requirements for pre-trip inspections; and drug and alcohol testing standards. States may also have their own set of laws governing truck drivers, and these should be consulted in the event of an accident.

Liability in Truck Accident Cases

When it comes to liability in truck accident cases, the question of who is responsible for the damages can be complex. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, both the driver of the commercial vehicle and their employer may be held liable. In many cases, a third party – such as a parts manufacturer or a mechanic – may also be liable.

Who Are the Defendants?

In a truck accident claim, the defendants are typically the commercial vehicle driver, their employer, and any third parties involved in the accident. The driver may be held liable for their role in causing or contributing to the accident, while their employer may be held liable for failing to properly maintain their vehicles or follow safety regulations. Third parties may include the manufacturer of any faulty parts involved in the accident or a mechanic who failed to properly repair the vehicle.

Most Common Types of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are becoming increasingly more common due to the large number of commercial vehicles on the roads. There are several types of truck accidents that occur, and an understanding of these different types can help prepare drivers for what to expect if they find themselves involved in a crash.

The following are some of the most common types of commercial truck and heavy vehicle accidents:

Most Common Types of Truck Accidents

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

One of the key issues to consider in truck accident cases is whether the driver involved was an employee or an independent contractor. Employers are typically liable for injuries caused by their employees, while independent contractors may not be held liable in the same way.

If a driver is classified as an employee, then their employer can be held responsible for any negligence that led to the accident. However, if a driver is deemed to be an independent contractor, then their employer may not be held liable for any negligence.

Common Injuries with Truck Accident Victims

Due to the sheer size of commercial vehicles, severe injuries are common when a truck is involved in an accident. Common injuries sustained by truck accident victims include:

Common Injuries with Truck Accident Victims

Wrongful Death in Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Wrongful death in a commercial vehicle accident is a particularly tragic event. When a loved one dies due to the negligence of another, families are left devastated and often unsure of where to turn for help. It is important to understand liability laws when it comes to wrongful death in commercial vehicle accidents, as this can be an important factor in determining compensation for survivors.

When someone dies as a result of a truck accident, their family may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and other damages. In some cases, punitive damages may also be available if the driver or employer acted with gross negligence.

Just the Stats

The majority of deaths in large-truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles (71%), followed by truck occupants (17%), and non-occupants, primarily pedestrians and bicyclists (12%). [1]

Types of Commercial Vehicles in Truck Accidents

The majority of heavy truck accidents involve large commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, tankers, tow trucks, flatbeds, dump trucks, and delivery trucks.

These vehicles are often much larger than the passenger cars with which they share the road, allowing for easier maneuverability and heavier loads.

Due to their size, these types of trucks can cause significant damage in the event of an accident, making it important for drivers to use caution when sharing the road with them.

Types of Commercial Vehicles in Truck Accidents

Insurance Companies and the Commercial Trucking Industry

Insurance companies are an integral part of the commercial trucking industry. In the event of a truck accident, the insurance company is responsible for paying out any claims or damages that have been determined to be due by law.

As such, insurance companies have a vested interest in ensuring that commercial truck drivers are properly trained and that they follow all safety regulations.

Insurance companies often employ highly experienced lawyers who specialize in this area of the law.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

What If the Driver's Acts Were Intentional?

In some cases, the driver of a commercial vehicle may act intentionally or with gross negligence in order to cause an accident. This can be difficult to prove, and the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. If the driver’s acts are found to be intentional, then they can be held liable for any resulting damage or injuries. Additionally, their employer may also be held liable if it can be proven that they knew of any dangerous or negligent actions taken by the driver.

The Bottom Line

Car accidents involving commercial vehicles can be complicated and require a thorough understanding of both state and federal laws. It is important to understand who can be held liable in these cases, as well as how to determine if the driver was an employee or independent contractor.

Knowing these details can help ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to for any damages or injuries sustained in a truck accident.

If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, then contact our experienced commercial truck accident lawyers at Goldberg & Loren by calling us at 1-800-731-4878 or fill out the form for a free consultation.

The Bottom Line


[1] Large Trucks – Injury Facts. (2023, April 25). Injury Facts.

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