Many people don’t stop to think about the different types of cars they interact with on the road. To most people, the type of vehicle is obvious and not very important.
Louisiana law does make distinctions about the types of vehicles using a variety of criteria. In particular, the weight of the vehicle and the type of cargo it transports are used as classification factors. The overall function of the vehicle matters, too.
Under Lousiana law, commercial vehicles are cars, trucks, vans, and SUV’s that are used as business vehicles. Automobiles used by religious schools, churches, and religious orders are not included in this category. You’ve probably seen them while driving. They’re the vehicles with “commercial” on the license plate.
Commercial vehicles are titled or registered to a commercial company. Drivers of commercial vehicles must have a commercial driver’s license instead of a personal driver’s license.
How a vehicle is classified and the licensing of the driver becomes important when there’s a car wreck. Insurance, laws, and regulations will vary depending on how a vehicle is categorized.
Louisiana’s commercial vehicle category includes trucks that are larger than personal pickup trucks. This covers company trucks, 18-wheelers, construction vehicles, delivery trucks, and oil tankers. To put things in perspective, your average passenger car weighs about 5,000 pounds. Commercial vehicles are heavy. Light trucks are 6000 pounds. The largest 18-wheelers are a whopping 33,000 pounds. A car can’t contend with the sheer size and force of a commercial vehicle.
These types of accidents have declined since their peak in the 1970s. But, they still cause thousands of fatalities every year.
According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 3,649 fatal crashes nationwide from large trucks. By these numbers, roughly 11 fatal trucking accidents happened every day. That same year, there were 379,000 trucking crashes with property damage. It’s hard to ignore how dangerous (and costly!) getting on the road with these trucks can be. Anywhere commercial utility or delivery vehicles operate, an accident can happen. It is challenging to know whether an accident is from human or mechanical error. It’s even harder to determine who is at fault. An experienced accident investigator like L. Clayton Burgess can help you.
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Commercial vehicle accidents are extremely dangerous.
Additionally, vehicles with these traits also require a Louisiana commercial driver’s license:
Like regular car accidents, commercial vehicle accidents are often caused by driver errors. These are things like excessive speed or driving while fatigued. Unlike regular accidents, there may be other factors at play. Trucking companies may use faulty equipment or violate safety laws for profitability.
Long-haul trucking is a federally regulated industry. This adds a layer of complexity to the investigation of trucking accidents. Federal law requires a multitude of checks, regulations, and documentation. Extra regulations mean investigations take more time. Legal teams will take their time going through records and safety regulations. This also includes the driver’s background. State law also comes into play with commercial vehicle accidents. State and federal regulations are not identical. They may vary depending on the type of truck and the type of cargo it was carrying. On top of all this confusion are the insurance companies. Trucks often drive across state lines. This means they are often insured by more than one insurance carrier. Determining fault in a commercial vehicle accident isn’t always a simple task. Having a team of experienced attorneys and legal staff on your side can be invaluable.
Have you suffered an injury in a commercial vehicle accident as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian? If so, you may be eligible to recover damages like medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Outcomes of personal injury claims depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Negligent drivers, truck owners, manufacturers, government agencies, or other third parties could be accountable for your losses. This includes things like medical bills, lost income, or pain and suffering.