Key Factors In A Florida Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident Case
An accident involving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on Florida roads can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. In Florida in particular, law enforcement have a particular set of protocols that they use to investigate every reported CMV accident, simply because these crashes are often more complex than the average traffic accident between two individual passenger vehicles.
Specific Types of Vehicles
CMVs are vehicles that, at least in Florida, meet three specific criteria: (1) it must use ‘special fuel’ or motor fuel on state highways; (2) it must weigh at least 26,001 pounds or have at least 3 axles; and (3) it must not be owned or operated by any kind of government agency or entity. These criteria include many common commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, passenger buses or trains, box trucks, and oil tankers, among others.
Accidents happen that involve CMVs with relative regularity simply because these vehicles are generally large and move as fast or faster than cars. In the instances where the accident can be laid at the fault of the CMV driver, it is often because they are either speeding or simply may not see a smaller vehicle next to them. However, because of the corporate interests that usually own and operate CMVs, law enforcement has protocols in place to safeguard everyone’s interests.
What Does Law Enforcement Look For?
If law enforcement is alerted to an accident involving a CMV, they will always be required to file a police report, and to attempt to make it as thorough as possible. The major potential types of evidence that will be at least mentioned in the report if found include:
- Witness statements;
- Surveillance footage;
- Logs & hours of service records;
- Maintenance reports;
- Driver testing for substance use; and
- Any other factor that may be deemed relevant in establishing the facts of the crash.
In addition, law enforcement will note any facts that are objective that may go toward establishing fault – for example, if a CMV driver is intoxicated or fatigued, the officer may mention that in the report, despite its truth being potentially helpful to the plaintiff. However, the police report itself is not generally sufficient evidence to establish liability on its own – an experienced attorney may be required.
Contact A Tampa CMV Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle, a knowledgeable Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group may be able to help you leverage the police report and other evidence into recovering damages for the harm you have suffered. Contact our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.