Brian White | August 10, 2022 | Truck Accidents
There are several ways to define “commercial motor vehicle.”
Section 621.001 of the Texas Transportation Code states a commercial motor vehicle is :
- A vehicle other than a motorcycle
- Used or designed to transport property or for delivery purposes
Section 548.001 of the Texas Transportation Code states a commercial motor vehicle is a self-propelled or towed vehicle. It does not include farm vehicles.
The vehicle can be one with a gross weight rating, registered weight, or gross weight of less than 48,000 pounds. A commercial vehicle can also be defined as one used to transport cargo or passengers on a public highway.
The other possible requirements include one of the following:
- The vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials. The materials require a placard according to the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act;
- The vehicle is a school activity bus defined in Section 541.201 or is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver;
- The vehicle is a school activity bus defined in Section 514.201 with a gross weight rating, registered weight, or gross weight; OR,
- The vehicle is a combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating, registered weight, or gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines commercial motor vehicles in §390.5 as:
- Self-propelled or towed motor vehicles;
- Used in interstate commerce on a highway to transport property or passengers, when;
- The vehicle’s gross weight rating or gross vehicle weight is 10,0001 pounds or more, including the gross combination weight or weight rating;
- The vehicle is used or designed to transport passengers for compensation (eight or more people, including the driver);
- The vehicle is used or designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) without compensation; OR,
- The vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials that require a placard according to 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.
Generally, most large trucks and delivery vehicles fall within the definition of a commercial motor vehicle. That would include semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, big rigs, and tractor-trailers. However, it includes dump trucks, bucket trucks, and freight trucks. It may also include smaller delivery trucks and large vans.
Commercial Motor Vehicles Cause Devastating Traffic Accidents
Traffic accidents involving commercial trucks generally result in life-threatening and catastrophic injuries. Consistently, over three-fourths of the fatalities and injuries in large truck accidents are people in other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists.
The size and weight of these vehicles make them deadly weapons in a collision. Commercial motor vehicle accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Complete and partial paralysis
- Fractures and broken bones
- Severe burns, scarring, and disfigurement
- Crushing injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Nerve damage and soft tissue injuries
Victims may sustain permanent impairments. Their insurance may prevent them from returning to work or ordinary activities. As a result, their quality of life may be significantly diminished because of their injuries.
Victims sustain intense pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. They also incur substantial economic damages. Medical bills, lost wages, and other financial damages could total hundreds or millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, trucking companies and their insurance providers fight truck accident claims. They try to minimize the value of the victim’s damages to avoid paying high-dollar claims.
Truck accident lawyers fight these companies. They help accident victims recover the money they deserve.
Accident Claims Involving Commercial Motor Vehicles Can Be Complicated
Accidents involving commercial trucks are complicated personal injury cases. These cases often involve multiple parties who could be liable for damages. Therefore, sorting out liability could be challenging.
Often, truck accident lawyers hire accident reconstructionists and commercial truck experts to assist with the accident investigation. The expert witnesses use the evidence obtained to determine how the truck crash occurred. That information helps them identify each party who could be liable for damages.
Furthermore, there could be multiple government agencies involved in the accident investigation. The agencies may or may not share information and evidence freely.
Therefore, a truck accident lawyer conducts an independent investigation. They also monitor the investigations by various government entities.
Common causes of commercial motor vehicle accidents include:
- Driver negligence, such as impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, failing to obey traffic laws, fatigued or tired driving, and reckless driving
- Failing to inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles
- Hiring inexperienced drivers and/or failing to train drivers
- Defective truck parts or systems
- Failing to conduct required drug and alcohol tests for truck drivers
- Allowing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in excess of the maximum hours of service
- Negligent hiring practices and truck company negligence
Insurance companies and trucking companies may rush to settle claims with accident victims. The companies may believe they can settle quickly for a much lower amount if the victims are unaware of the severity of their injuries.
Do not accept a settlement offer for a truck accident claim without legal advice. Discuss the case with an experienced accident attorney.
Do not wait to contact a lawyer. The statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing truck accident claims. Therefore, it is best to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact the Houston Truck Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054