Grant Cogan* Auto accidents are a regrettable but everyday occurence. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, an estimated 200,000 car accidents are recorded in Florida annually, with an average of 650 crashes per day, many of which involve commercial vehicles.
The issues regarding compensation for auto accidents can lead to complications, including the added complexities involved where commercial vehicles are involved.
Getting compensation if you’re involved in a road collision with another motorist can also be a time-consuming process. However, with help from a reliable attorney, obtaining damages is relatively straightforward.
If another driver hits your car, their insurers should cover your costs, including any medical expenses which you’ve incurred as well as damages for your suffering and pain. Filing a personal injury claim in many cases will enable you to come to a suitable settlement with their insurer.
Yet, if you’ve had an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you’ll probably find that the process of obtaining compensation is a lot more complex.
Determining who is responsible for paying you compensation for damages is often harder. A skilled Orlando injury attorney can tell you what you can expect in this situation, however, here we’ll give you a greater insight into what may happen during your dealings with the commercial driver’s insurers.
What Is The Definition Of A Commercial Vehicle?
The term “commercial vehicle” is used to describe any bus, truck, van or car operated for commercial purposes. The vehicle is part of a business and being driven for business purposes. Some common examples of commercial vehicles found on Florida’s roads include:
- Car rental shuttles
- Lyft and Uber vehicles
- Moving companies
- Hotel shuttles
- Delivery trucks such as those operated by FedEx or UPS
- Food trucks
What Does Commercial Vehicle Insurance Cover?
Like other drivers on Florida’s roads, commercial drivers also have personal auto insurance.
The company that employs the driver will also have insurance cover called commercial auto insurance. This type of coverage is similar to standard personal auto policies with similar provisions for comprehensive and collision insurance together with underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
If you’re involved in an incident involving a commercial vehicle it isn’t too different to making a claim if you’re involved in any other type of automobile accident. Usually, damage to property is covered by collision insurance, however, if the other vehicle’s driver has been injured and medical damages are being claimed, the commercial auto insurance policy’s liability coverage will usually cover the claim.
Must I File Against The Company Or The Driver?
Knowing which insurer you need to file your claim against is often confusing. If you’re involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may be able to file a claim against several entities or people, including:
- The vehicle’s driver – since the driver is responsible for the incident, customarily you would file against the driver’s personal auto coverage.
- The employer of the driver – since employers have liability for their employees’ negligent actions you could make a claim against the driver’s employer as long as they were driving for purposes of their job.
- The vehicle’s owner – employers don’t always own commercial vehicles but under Florida law, a victim can pursue the owner of any vehicle that has been involved in an accident.
- Individual lessees – commercial vehicles are sometimes used for delivering goods between two locations on a rental basis. A claim may be filed against the person who has leased the vehicle together with the company which owned the goods that were being delivered.
How Do I Make A Claim?
Since it’s quite complicated to recover damages from an auto accident involving a commercial vehicle, hiring an experienced Florida auto accident attorney is always a sound idea as they can help you determine which entity you should file your claim against and help you to structure a case so that you can obtain maximum compensation for any injuries or suffering that you’ve experienced.
Grant Cogan is a freelance writer handling consumer and legal issues, including a focus upon auto accidents.