A CMV accident is an accident that involves a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), such as a bus or semi-truck. When a commercial vehicle strikes a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the passenger vehicle may suffer significant injuries. This is because many CMVs can be much larger and heavier than smaller cars, trucks, and SUVs driven by individuals.
This type of accident can be especially dangerous for those in passenger cars. Even in relatively low-speed accidents, traumatic injuries are possible. This could include serious, permanent injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, and more.
Types of Commercial Motor Vehicles
According to United States Code (USC) Title 49 §31132, CMVs include vehicles over 10,001 pounds, vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people, or vehicles designed to transport certain hazardous materials. CMVs are frequently used to transport goods, passengers, or equipment for commercial purposes.
Some common examples of CMVs include:
- Tractor-trailer trucks, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers
- Delivery trucks and vans
- Garbage and recycling trucks
- Dump trucks
- Tow trucks
- Buses and coaches
- Construction and landscaping vehicles
While the drivers of these vehicles are generally on the clock while they are behind the wheel, this does not mean they cannot make careless and reckless mistakes and cause traffic accidents. In some cases, the fact that they are working may also increase the risk of a mistake on the road. For example, a truck driver rushing to make a delivery on time may not get the required rest and drive drowsy, leading to difficulty focusing on the road.
Vicarious Liability and Other Laws in a CMV Accident Case
In general, the way you may pursue damages for a CMV accident does not differ dramatically from how you may seek compensation in any other type of collision. However, instead of filing the personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit against the CMV driver, you may be filing it against their employer under the legal principle of vicarious liability.
In addition to potentially being responsible for the negligent actions its employees take while working, a company that operates CMVs may also be liable if their negligence causes an accident by:
- Failing to properly secure cargo
- Failing to maintain a CMV
- Failing to properly train or license their drivers
Special regulations apply to CMV drivers as well. This includes:
- The possession of a valid commercial driver license
- Hours of service limits imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- A blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.04% for driving under the influence of alcohol
These factors may be relevant in establishing liability for a CMV accident
Damages Available in an Insurance Claim or Civil Suit for a CMV Accident
Depending on the nature of your accident, your injuries, and the laws of the state you are in, the following damages may be recoverable in a car accident case:
- Current and future treatment, medical care, and other expenses
- Current and future lost income and any related benefits
- Diminished earning ability from long-term injuries
- Repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other intangible losses
The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits
Each state has a statute of limitations, or legal deadline, for filing a personal injury lawsuit. These include:
- New York: a general three-year statute of limitations, per New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (CVP) §214
- New Jersey: a general two-year statute of limitations, per New Jersey Revised Statutes (NJ Rev Stat) §2A:14-2
- Pennsylvania: a general two-year statute of limitations, per Title 42 §5524
Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations that pertains to your case could result in your lawsuit’s dismissal.
Call Morelli Law Firm Today
If you were hurt in a CMV accident, Morelli Law Firm may be able to help you. Morelli Law Firm takes on CMV collision cases in:
- New York City
- Long Island
- New York State up to Albany
- Northern New Jersey
A member of our team can review your case for free if your accident occurred in one of these areas. Call (212) 751-9800 to get started today.
If you qualify, Morelli Law Firm can handle your case on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you will not need to pay us anything for our legal services unless and until we recover a settlement offer or court award in your collision case.