Accidents involving commercial vehicles such as public transit vehicles are relatively rare. This category includes school buses, mass transit vehicles, commuter and AMTRAK trains, subway cars, airplanes, charter buses, etc. When they do occur, however, accidents of this nature can often be far more severe in scope than most others.
Buses, for example, carry a large number of people and very rarely have seatbelts. This creates the potential for scores of victims in the event of an accident. The injuries sustained can often be severe. In addition, many injuries resulting from commercial vehicle accidents involve victims other than the passengers of the commercial vehicle.
For these reasons and more, commercial vehicles and the companies that operate them are held to stricter standards than the average vehicle on the road. The for-profit companies that operate some of these vehicles have a responsibility to protect public safety, and therefore must follow certain rules and regulations designated for such vehicles. In the event that one or more of these laws has been violated by the commercial vehicle operator or their company, they can be held at fault if this violation resulted in an accident.
Our Georgia commercial vehicle accident lawyers are experienced in dealing with claims such as these.
Commercial vehicle accidents present unique legal challenges due to involving business or governmental entities, which often have greater resources to work with in fighting a claim. Such controlling organizations can begin investigating and dealing with the accident while the victims and their families are still recovering. This can put victims at an unfair disadvantage.
At the same time, commercial vehicles must abide by specific laws and regulations in exchange for sharing the roads with passenger vehicles, due to being so much larger and heavier (up to 80,000 pounds in some instances). In the event that the commercial vehicle driver or its company violates a federal regulation, they can be held accountable, more so than otherwise. Some of these unique regulations include:
- Federal safety regulations regarding motor carriers: safe operation requirements for commercial vehicle operators
- Hazardous materials regulation: regulations referring to the safe transport of hazardous materials, including secure packaging, trained personnel, proper communication regarding the materials, as well as various operational requirements
- “Hours-of-Service”: regulations relating to driver alertness
Corporate liability refers to the responsibility of the corporation in question to oversee conditions that will prevent an accident, such as proper supervision and regular truck maintenance.