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Can A Passenger Carrier Be A Commercial Motor Vehicle?


Most of the time, when one discusses commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), they are discussing large vehicles that haul goods, such as tractor-trailers. However, what the average person may not be aware of is that passenger vehicles may also fall under this category, meaning that the same rules for CMV accidents can apply to them. If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial passenger vehicle, know that you have the right to file suit against the vehicle’s driver and owner in the same manner as one would with any other CMV.

Varied Definitions

The term ‘commercial motor vehicle’ has both a federal and a state definition. While some factors are the same, the federal definition does vary from many states’, including Florida’s. In Florida, a CMV is any vehicle not owned or operated by a governmental entity that meets two additional criteria: (1) it uses “special” or motor fuel on highways; and (2) it has either a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more, or at least three axles, regardless of weight.

In addition, there are two major factors that affect whether a passenger vehicle ultimately falls into the CMV category: “for-hire” transportation or lack thereof, and the question of engaging in interstate commerce. In general, a passenger carrier is engaging in interstate commerce – and is thus a CMV – if they transport passengers between states, between countries, or between the U.S. and any of its territories and possessions. In terms of being “for-hire,” any entity that receives compensation of any kind in exchange for transporting passengers qualifies.

A Good Attorney Helps To Build Your Case

What all this boils down to is that several vehicles that carry exclusively passengers (or passengers plus their luggage) do qualify as CMVs. As a result, a plaintiff injured in a bus or boat accident should be able to file suit against the driver – and in most cases, the employer – for the damage they have suffered. Passenger CMVs are generally large, and the likelihood of injury is higher than it might be in a crash involving a standard-sized automobile. However, it is not always easy to find the right evidence to establish your claim.

Keep in mind that in these types of cases, it is possible to join additional defendants to your case if new evidence comes to light. A proper investigation of this type of accident scene takes time, and if it comes out that more than one defendant might have played a role in causing your injuries, you have the right to add them to the case if it is deemed appropriate. If you find the right attorney, you can get any concerns about your case managed.

Contact A Tampa CMV Accident Attorney

CMV accident cases can be difficult to navigate, simply because one may not have any idea what they can and cannot do. A Tampa CMV accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you handle any questions you may have about seeking the compensation you deserve. Call our office today for a free consultation.



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