Accident With a Commercial Vehicle: What You Should Know
When you get into an accident with a commercial vehicle, the other party may be an employee driving a marked or unmarked company car or van, a long-haul trucker driving a semi-truck, or a construction supervisor traveling to or from a job site. In any of these examples, you can seek damages from the employer if its employee caused the accident while performing a work-related task during work hours or if the vehicle was owned by the employer.
Colorado law requires employers have insurance coverage for such incidents, but sometimes these cases are not as straightforward as they appear. While you have the right to seek compensation for an accident that the other driver caused, you could face some challenges that are not so apparent. Here's what you should know if you have been in an accident with a commercial vehicle in Boulder, Weld, or Fort Collins.Defining What a Commercial Vehicle Is in Colorado
When accidents with a commercial vehicle are mentioned, what mostly comes to mind are large, heavy trucks, such as 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers, carrying tons of cargo up and down Colorado's highways and open roads. However, this is only one kind of commercial vehicle.
Per the Colorado General Assembly, state law defines a commercial vehicle as any vehicle used in commerce that weighs at least 16,001 pounds and is self-propelled, towed, or designed to carry 16 or more passengers. Also, the state considers any vehicles used to commercially transport other vehicles or hazardous materials as commercial vehicles. Additionally, as long as a vehicle is owned or used by a business, it is typically covered under what is known as a commercial insurance policy.
Therefore, a commercial vehicle accident in Colorado can involve any of the following:
- Bus coaches
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Cargo vans
- Courier vehicles
- Covered farm vehicles
- Safety vehicles
- Delivery trucks or vans
- Construction vehicles, such as a cement mixer or excavation vehicle
- Vans (including hospitality vans, shuttle vehicles)
- Sport utility vehicles (SUVs)
- Pickup trucks
- Tow trucks
- Ice cream trucks or food trucks
- Moving trucks
- Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) vehicles
This is a partial list of commercial vehicles. How the vehicle is used is what determines if it is a commercial one or not. If a person uses the vehicle to perform work duties or handle company business, then it can be considered a commercial vehicle.Get Medical Help and Then Consider Calling an Attorney's Office
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle in Boulder, Weld, or Fort Collins, you are entitled to seek compensation. Your financial recovery can include your injuries, lost income due to missing work, property damage, pain and suffering, and other accident-related damages.
After receiving prompt medical care for your injuries, you may want to consider calling a law firm to help you determine who is liable for the crash and how you can recover compensation. A lawyer can review the accident and identify whose insurance should pay for the damages, which is not always a clear-cut issue.Commercial Vehicle Accidents Often Involve Complex Insurance Matters
Generally, any business in Boulder, Weld, or Fort Collins that hires employees to drive its vehicles for business use must have commercial auto insurance. This is how companies protect themselves against unexpected auto accidents and other incidents. However, not all commercial businesses carry the same amount of coverage—some coverage is required, while other forms are optional.
If you get into an accident with a commercial vehicle, it's likely the company has commercial auto insurance. This insurance covers damage from the accident, medical expenses, and other accident-related expenses.Recovering Damages from Your Insurer and the Other Party's Insurer
While you likely have personal auto insurance that will cover your damages, commercial auto insurance policies and personal insurance policies are significantly different. One main difference between the two is commercial auto insurance generally offers coverage with higher limits and liability coverage. This is because the vehicle is being driven for business reasons.
Personal auto insurance coverage limits are generally lower because the vehicle is being driven for personal use and covers a smaller number of people. It is possible to recover damages from your insurer and the company's insurer, but determining this can be complex. An attorney with our firm can help you handle this.What This Means for Drivers in Boulder, Weld, and Ft. Collins
Some companies fight against these claims because they could have a high deductible, which would require them to pay several thousands of dollars out of their pockets before insurance coverage starts. A company may have several deductibles within a policy that it would have to meet if an accident occurs.
For reasons like these, companies may challenge accident victims' claims. If this happens in your case, you could have a difficult time getting the insurer to pay. That will likely delay the compensation you need to pay your bills while recovering from the accident. However, a commercial accident attorney can help.How We Can Help After a Colorado Commercial Vehicle Crash
Hiring an attorney with our firm to represent you after a commercial vehicle accident claim can protect your legal rights. It ensures you have someone looking out for your interests while dealing with an insurer or multiple insurers. Our attorneys will:
- Investigate your case
- Document case-supporting evidence
- Identify the at-fault or liable parties
- Evaluate your damages to ensure you seek the right amount in financial awards that help you recover from the accident
We also know the various tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying accident victims for their injuries and losses and how to deal with them. Our attorneys understand how insurance laws work in Colorado and can help you sort out what policies were in effect at the time of the collision.Call Us to Discuss Your Commercial Vehicle Accident Today
The legal team at Cook, Bradford, and Levy, LLC, will talk with you during a free consultation. We can tell you what you should know about accidents with a commercial vehicle.
We handle commercial vehicle accident cases from Boulder, Weld, or Greeley counties and can start working for you without any upfront costs or fees. There is no risk—we receive payment only if we recover compensation for you. Call us today at (303) 543-1000 to get started.