If you were involved in a commercial vehicle accident in the Columbus, Ohio area, Babin Law, LLC has years of experience dealing with these types of situations. Our experienced legal team may be able to help you to determine who to go after for the compensation you deserve.
When you are driving on the road, you try to be as careful as possible. But unfortunately, there is no accounting for the cars around you. Other drivers may break traffic rules, they may drive distracted, they may be speeding, or they may be engaging in another type of behavior that endangers those around them.
At best, getting into an auto accident is an inconvenience. At worst, involved parties can end up with life threatening injuries.
A car accident is even more complicated if a commercial vehicle is involved. Then you must determine who is responsible. Is it the driver? The company that hired the driver? Or is a third party to blame?
What Qualifies as a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is defined by the DMV as “a vehicle which is used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.”
It is a self-propelled or towed vehicle used to transport goods or passengers with any of the following properties:
- A gross weight of rating of 26,001 points or more
- Seats to transport more than eight passengers for money
- Seats to transport more than 15 passengers, not for money
- A bed or trailer to transport a large quantity of hazardous materials
Examples of commercial vehicles include:
- A passenger vehicle
- A cement mixer
- A passenger bus
- An ice cream truck
- A box truck
- A limousine
- A cargo van
- A pickup truck
- A sports utility vehicle
Not all of these types of vehicles would necessarily be considered commercial vehicles in every situation. It depends on how they are being used.
Who is Responsible for a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
There are several different parties that may be responsible for a commercial vehicle accident. These include the following:
The Driver: The driver will be responsible for the accident if he or she exhibited dangerous driving behavior such as speeding, disobeying traffic signs and lights, driving while intoxicated, and more. Note, even if the driver is responsible, the employee’s company may cover all or part of the damages.
The Employer: The company that the driver works for may be at fault for the accident if any of the following apply:
- The driver was asked to work a long shift and was too fatigued to be driving
- The vehicle the driver was driving was not properly maintained and a maintenance issue caused the accident
- The driver was not properly trained
The Maintenance Company: If the employer complied with regularly scheduled maintenance but the maintenance company did not thoroughly inspect and repair the vehicle, they may be liable for the accident.
The Vehicle Manufacturer: If the accident was caused by faulty equipment on the commercial vehicle, the manufacturer of those parts may be to blame.
A Third Party: If the car was carrying a load that was not loaded correctly, and the load caused the accident, the company responsible for loading the vehicle could be responsible. This may be the driver’s employer, or it could be a third-party freight company.
The City or A Contractor: An accident can also be caused by poor road conditions like potholes or debris on the road. If this is the case, the city or a contractor may be liable for damages.
Ohio Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Drivers of commercial vehicles must adhere to certain regulations that go beyond what is expected of other types of drivers. These include the following:
- If a commercial vehicle driver is guilty of serious traffic violations within three years, he or she may have their license revoked. Two offenses may result in a 60-day revocation and three or more can result in a 120-day revocation. Offenses include lane violations, driving without a CMV license, speeding, and any violation involving a fatality.
- A police officer may issue an out of service order to a commercial driver and their vehicle. If the order is violated, the driver may have his or her license revoked for 180 days. This will increase for second and third offenses. An employer that permits the violation may be fined up to $10,000.
- Commercial drivers must stop or slow down at railroad crossings and may not proceed unless the driver determines there is clearance to do so. Failure to adhere to this rule can result in a 60-day license revocation that increases for second and third offenses.
- A commercial driver may have his or her license disqualified if they commit a major offense such as a chemical test refusal, driving intoxicated, a hit and run, or using the vehicle in commission of a felony. If the driver commits these offenses in a vehicle with hazardous materials, disqualification increases to three years. Subsequent offenses and the use of the vehicle to distribute or produce controlled substances may result in a lifetime disqualification.
Additionally, all commercial vehicle drivers must be at least 18 years old and must have a valid Ohio driver’s license. They must pass the CDL driving exam and they must hold a medical certificate showing they are healthy enough to operate a CMV.
How Babin Law May Be Able to Help With Your Ohio Commercial Vehicle Accident
A commercial vehicle claim can get complicated. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault for the accident. And, if it comes to it, going against big business can be intimidating. Having a reliable lawyer on your side may help tip the scales in your favor.
Babin Law, LLC has years of experience dealing with personal injury claims. We are dedicated to giving each of our clients the individualized attention they deserve. We will work diligently to get you the best possible outcome for your claim.
If you were injured in an accident, don’t let negligent companies and drivers get away with it. Call Babin Law to schedule a free evaluation. If we're able to take on your case, we will see to it that justice is served.