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How Do Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents Differ From Car Crashes?


Florida’s roads are busy at all times of the year, which unfortunately leads to a reliably high number of auto accidents. Cars, trucks, and commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) can all cause serious injuries in crashes, but the difference between them is that in accidents with CMVs, there are more potential pitfalls and complications to navigate than there are in simple car accident cases. CMV crash cases can be particularly expensive and time-consuming.

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A CMV in Florida is any vehicle that meets three criteria: (1) it is not owned by a governmental entity; (2) it uses ‘special fuel or motor fuel’ on public highways; and (3) it either has 3 or more axles or weighs more than 26,001 pounds. Most large trucks meet this definition, as well as passenger buses and package delivery vehicles like Amazon vans. Under federal law, any vehicle weighing more than 26,001 pounds requires a commercial license to drive, which in turn requires a review of one’s driving history, a written exam, medical and vision tests, and other tests which an applicant must pass.

Along with a commercial driver’s license, driving a CMV also requires a commercial insurance policy. Commercial policies usually have much higher coverage limits, which means that a vehicle’s corporate owners are more likely to be aggressive in defending any claim against the policy. Having an attorney to guide you through the legal process can help to keep aggressive (and low) settlement offers at bay, but it is important to ensure you have the evidence to proceed to trial if you believe it necessary.

Serious Injuries Are More Likely

Another factor that may appear more commonly in CMV accidents than in standard car crashes is the severity of the injuries sustained. While car accidents can be extremely severe, the sheer weight and size of most CMVs is almost guaranteed to cause more significant injuries in many cases. This is relevant because Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that if your injuries do not pass the severity threshold, you may not file suit in court – instead, you would file a claim with your personal injury protection (PIP) insurer.

There are times in which a CMV accident may be easier to process than most; for example, if your crash involved a tractor-trailer, its electronic logging device (ELD) can act like an airplane’s “black box,” providing a wealth of information to aid in accident reconstruction. Most of the time, however, the higher stakes will lead to a more complex and drawn-out endeavor – but an experienced attorney can help.

Contact A Tampa Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

Any vehicle accident can be a traumatic experience, but an accident involving a CMV can be overwhelming both in terms of injury and prosecution. A Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help answer any questions you may have and try to manage any concerns. Call our office today for a free consultation.



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