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Commercial vs Government Vehicles


Florida roads are very busy. With passenger vehicles, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) like tractor-trailers or charter buses, and government vehicles like police cars all sharing the road, accidents do happen with regularity. Crashes that involve a CMV or a government vehicle must be handled differently than a standard car accident under Florida law, and being aware of those procedures can make a difference in the success of your case.

CMV Crashes Require Reporting

Florida’s law defines a commercial vehicle with very specific characteristics, with perhaps the most well known being the required weight of 26,001 pounds or more, and the requirement that it use “special fuel” on the highway. There are many different types of CMVs, but those seen most often on Florida roads are large trucks and passenger coaches. These vehicles are, by definition, large, carrying thousands of pounds in cargo or passenger weight, and the potential for injury is high.

For this and many other reasons, Florida law requires that any vehicle accident involving a CMV must be reported to law enforcement, and a police report filed. This is true even if injuries and damage are minimal – while crashes that involve two private vehicles may be handled without recourse to legal remedies, a crash involving a CMV will more often wind up disputed by insurers or in court. Having a dedicated paper trail may help both parties to a potential lawsuit.

Does Your Government Vehicle Accident Case Waive Sovereign Immunity?

A vehicle accident with a CMV can be difficult to receive compensation from, not least of all because the driver’s employer may get involved in any lawsuit. If you are involved in an accident with a government vehicle, such as a police car, you will often face a different batch of potential problems if you try to seek money damages for your injuries. Many states observe a doctrine known as sovereign immunity, which essentially absolves all government employees of responsibility for negligence.

Florida, however, has waived sovereign immunity in specific situations – namely, cases of personal injury, wrongful death, and a handful of others. The general rule is that if a private person would be liable to the plaintiff for their actions, then so will the government employee who was involved in the accident in question.  This can sometimes be difficult for the average person to figure out, but consulting an attorney can help.

Contact A Tampa Specialized Vehicle Accident Attorney

Whether a commercial motor vehicle or a government vehicle, accident cases involving these conveyances can be somewhat more complex to navigate. A Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help guide you through the legal process and give you the best chance to recover. Call our office today for a free consultation.



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