Accidents Involving Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) In Florida
The term ‘commercial motor vehicle’ (CMV) may be alien to the average person, and yet they are all over Florida roads every day of the week. Most law defines them as vehicles that transport goods or passengers, though both Florida and U.S. federal law impose additional requirements to do with weight and the number of axles. If you, in a private vehicle, are involved in an auto accident with a CMV, it can be much more confusing and time-consuming to obtain compensation than it would ordinarily be with another private actor. An experienced attorney may be able to help.
Which Vehicles Qualify As CMVs?
Florida defines a CMV as a vehicle that has 3 or more axles or weighs more than 26,001 pounds gross vehicle weight. It also requires that the vehicle use “special fuel or motor fuel” on state highways, though the majority of large trucks and passenger conveyances already do this. While it does not specify that this definition applies both to vehicles carrying passengers and goods, it is generally understood to do that, as vehicles like Greyhound buses have been classified as CMVs in past cases.
The most commonly seen examples of CMVs on Florida roads are tourist buses and semi-trucks, and both types of vehicles are often seen featuring in accident reports. Both of these types of conveyances are generally large, with a lot of moving parts, and if a private automobile is involved in an accident with either of these vehicles, it is likely that any injuries will be quite severe. It is important to be aware that while it is possible to recover for the harm you suffered, doing so may involve a few more steps than one might think.
If you believe that you have been injured due to the negligence of a CMV driver, the first thing to be aware of is that Florida is a no-fault state for purposes of auto insurance. What this means is that if your injuries are minor, state law prevents your filing suit to try and recover compensation. Rather, you are expected to seek reimbursement for medical bills from the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that every Florida driver is required to carry. If your injuries are sufficiently severe, however, you may file suit in court as with any other case.
If you are permitted to file suit, it may be worth your while to consult an attorney simply because state and federal law on CMVs intersect in ways that may be confusing. The federal statute, for example, requires that the CMV have been involved in interstate commerce, while Florida’s law does not require this. An experienced legal professional can help to clear up exactly which law applies to your accident and how best to proceed with seeking compensation.
Contact A Tampa Commercial Motor Vehicle Attorney
Being involved in an auto accident is always a difficult and frightening experience, and if the other vehicle involved is a CMV, the odds are higher that your injuries are severe. A Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help ensure your questions are answered, and protect your interests during the legal process. Contact our office today for a free consultation.