Who is Liable in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?

Holding at-fault drivers responsible after a car accident can be challenging. Even when you know who was responsible for causing your injuries, drivers and their insurance companies often try to evade liability or put some of the blame on you to avoid having to pay full compensation. When a commercial vehicle is involved, though, liability can become even more difficult to navigate. A commercial vehicle is any type of motor vehicle that is used to transport goods – a major example is delivery trucks and vans, like UPS trucks. Because drivers are presumably on the clock at the time of the accident, you may be wondering if the company they work for is responsible for responding to your claim. Liability depends entirely on the circumstances of your unique situation.

Types of Commercial Vehicles

When you get into an accident, the first step toward determining liability is to first identify whether the at-fault driver is driving a commercial vehicle.

Common types of commercial vehicles include:

  • Large trucks, like semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and more that are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Delivery vehicles, including UPS trucks, Amazon trucks, postal service vans, and more that are often seen in residential neighborhoods dropping off packages
  • Buses, which are used to transport individuals like schoolchildren and tour groups
  • Rideshare vehicles, which are managed by major companies including Uber and Lyft and function like taxis to transport riders to their desired destinations

Independent Contractors Vs. Employees

The most important factor that can determine who is responsible for a commercial vehicle accident is whether the at-fault driver is considered a company employee or an independent contractor. As long as the accident was unintentional and occurred during job duties, companies are generally responsible for accidents caused by employees. This means that you would file a claim against the company, who is required to compensate you for your injuries.

If the driver is considered an independent contractor, as many delivery and rideshare drivers are, the driver and their personal insurance company are responsible.

However, even if drivers are considered employees, their companies may attempt to prove that the driver’s negligence caused the accident to avoid liability.

Drivers can take full responsibility if the following actions are proven to have caused your accident:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Distracted or reckless driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Poor judgment calls
  • Intentionally trying to harm the victim

How a Lawyer Can Help

Because each situation is unique, you need an experienced car accident lawyer who can investigate your accident to determine who is to be held responsible for your injuries. Your injuries may have accrued expenses including medical bills such as hospital stays, prescription medications, and surgery costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. A lawyer can build your case and seek justice on your behalf to recover these damages and more.

Putting Our Clients First

After an accident, you may be at the lowest point of your life. Suffering from injuries can be a painful and lonely process, and on top of that, you may have accrued damages that include expensive medical bills and property damage. You may feel like you’re drowning with no way out. Our personal injury lawyers are here to extend a helping hand. For more than 10 years, Alex Yadgarov & Associates have devoted our firm to helping injured clients pick themselves up and move forward with their lives. We provide the legal counsel needed to move your claim forward and achieve optimal results that include the compensation you need to heal. You shouldn’t have to pay the price for another party’s negligence.

If you’re suffering from injuries after an accident caused by negligence, call Alex Yadgarov & Associates today at (718) 276-2800, or contact us online for a free consultation. Our personal injury attorneys are committed to putting our clients first, and if you’re unable to visit us, we’ll come to you.