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How are North Carolina Commercial Vehicle Collisions Different from Car Accidents?

January 7, 2024

At Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A., our Charlotte personal injury attorneys represent injury victims and families who have lost their loved ones in car accidents and commercial vehicle collisions caused by negligence throughout North Carolina.

In most cases, auto accidents caused by negligence typically involve one liable party: the driver who caused the crash while speeding, impaired, distracted, or otherwise operating his or her vehicle recklessly.

However, commercial vehicle crashes involve semi-trucks, buses, delivery vans, and other vehicles used for business purposes and often involve multiple liable parties, making them very different from car accidents.

Commercial Vehicle Collisions Different from Car Accidents

Critical Distinctions Between Commercial Vehicle Collisions and Car Accidents in North Carolina

The initial unique difference is that commercial vehicles are subject to specific federal and state regulations that do not apply to regular passenger cars. These regulations, like those set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), govern aspects like driver qualifications, hours of service, maintenance, and weight limits.

Other differences include:

  • The Potential for Serious Injuries

Due to their size and weight, commercial vehicles often cause more severe injuries and property damage than typical car accidents. The occupants of smaller vehicles involved in collisions with commercial vehicles are at a higher risk of injury.

  • Multiple Parties Involved

Commercial vehicle collisions may involve multiple parties, including the driver, the trucking company, the vehicle owner, maintenance contractors, and others. Determining liability and responsibility for damages is often more complex than in car accidents.

  • Driver Qualifications

Commercial drivers must meet specific qualifications, including obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in North Carolina and adhering to specific medical and training requirements. Violations of these qualifications can impact liability in a collision.

  • Hours of Service Regulations

Commercial drivers are subject to hours of service regulations, which dictate the amount of time they can spend driving and require mandatory rest periods. Violations of these regulations can lead to fatigue-related accidents.

  • Employer Liability

In commercial vehicle collisions, the driver’s employer — usually the trucking company — may be held liable for the actions of their employees, which typically does not apply in car accidents.

  • Investigation and Evidence

Due to the complexity of commercial vehicle collisions, investigations often involve a more thorough examination of evidence, including driver logs, maintenance records, black box data, and compliance with safety regulations.

  • Insurance Coverage

Commercial insurance policies typically cover commercial vehicles, which may have higher coverage limits than personal auto insurance policies. This can affect the potential compensation available to victims of a commercial vehicle collision.

Have You Been Injured in a North Carolina Commercial Vehicle Accident?

If you were injured in a commercial vehicle crash caused by negligence in North Carolina, our truck accident attorneys in Charlotte at Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt want to hear your story during a free consultation by calling 704-377-3737 or contacting us online.

We can help you navigate the complexities associated with commercial vehicle collisions and help you and your family pursue appropriate compensation. We provide unique legal services tailored to each client’s needs and do not get paid unless you do.

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Because every case is different, the description of awards and issues previously managed by our law firm does not guarantee a similar outcome in current or future cases.