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What Exactly Is A Commercial Motor Vehicle?


Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) make up a significant chunk of Florida’s highway traffic on any given day. Most of them make it safely to their destination with minimum issue, but sometimes, accidents do occur. When another driver has been involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, it can sometimes be confusing whether or not a vehicle actually qualifies as a CMV and if so, how to proceed seeking compensation from them. Understanding the nature of this classification can make a world of difference.

Definitions May Vary

A commercial motor vehicle is defined differently under U.S. federal law than it is under state laws, though the criteria are similar. In Florida, a CMV is a vehicle that meets three criteria:

  • It is not owned or operated by a government entity;
  • It uses “special fuel” or “motor fuel” when on public highways; and
  • Weighs 26,001 pounds or more or has 3 or more axles, regardless of weight.

The weight limit in particular is quite high compared to federal regulations (only 10,001 pounds or more are required under federal law), but the fact remains that whether state or federal, these criteria include quite a few commercial vehicles, from large tractor-trailers to passenger buses to delivery vehicles. If you have been involved in an accident where one of these struck your car or truck, your injuries are likely to be severe.

Multiple Defendants Possible

After an accident involving a CMV, a person may not know how to proceed, particularly if their injuries are serious. One familiar hallmark of CMV cases is that it is often possible to file suit against multiple defendants – the driver of the vehicle is usually the first one, but in cases where the vehicle is not owned by the driver, the driver’s employer is a common defendant as well. An employer may be liable due to vicarious liability (which, with some exceptions, renders an employer liable for the torts of their employees within the scope of their employment), or another cause of action like negligent hiring may apply.

Be advised that regardless of the number of defendants, the statute of limitations for an auto accident case is only two years – and while this can sound like a long period of time, it will go by extremely fast, particularly since the discovery period for a suit against a large corporation can take up a lot of time. In general, the sooner you consult a legal professional, the better.

Contact A Tampa Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident with a CMV, you have the right to seek compensation for what you have been through. A Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you try to get your life back on track. Contact our office today for a free consultation.

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