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Commercial vehicle accidents are complicated enough, but they can be even more complicated when commercial vehicles are involved.

Commercial vehicles are those driven for business purposes such as hauling cargo, making deliveries, or some other sort of transportation related to what the company does.

In many cases, a commercial car accident can involve multiple parties, which may leave you wondering who is liable for an accident in a company vehicle and how to receive the compensation you deserve. 

Below, the Waco personal injury lawyers will go over who exactly is liable in a commercial car accident. If you have questions, or would like to speak with an expert, please contact us today.

What Is a Commercial Vehicle?

There are multiple state and federal statutes that define commercial vehicles. The Texas Transportation Code defines a commercial motor vehicle as a vehicle, other than a motorcycle, used or designed to transport property or for delivery purposes.

The Texas Transportation Code also states a commercial motor vehicle is a self-propelled or towed vehicle and does not include farm vehicles.

The vehicle can be one with a gross weight rating, registered weight, or gross weight of less than 48,000 pounds.

A commercial vehicle can also be defined as one used to transport cargo or passengers on a public highway.

Finally, the Code of Federal Regulations also defines commercial motor vehicles and is typically used when state regulations cannot apply. 

Generally stated, commercial vehicles are motor vehicles intended for the commercial transport of passengers or goods.

They are usually considered to be large trucks and other vehicles for heavy product transportation, but they can sometimes also be other vehicles used for business purposes, such as:

  • Tractor trailers,
  • Larger taxis,
  • Tow trucks, 
  • Transport vans,
  • Delivery vehicles,
  • 18 wheelers, and 
  • Buses.

If you have been in an accident involving a vehicle that is used to fulfill a business purpose, it is important that you understand who is liable for an accident in a company vehicle so that you can get the compensation that you need to care for your injuries. 

Why Are Commercial Vehicle Accident Injury Claims Complicated?

In most car accident cases, claims are brought against the negligent driver. In the case of commercial vehicles, there may be situations where the driver’s employer is held responsible.

This concept is called vicarious liability and is applicable when the accident occurs while the driver is performing work-related duties. 

The party you file your claim against matters. The amount you are eligible to receive for your injuries may be limited by the negligent party’s insurance policy, in which case, businesses often carry larger policies, especially if driving company vehicles is part of the normal flow of business. 

Who Is Liable For a Commercial Car Accident in Texas?

Texas is an “at-fault” state, which means that the person or party responsible for causing the accident will also be liable for the cost of the damages.

Not all states process insurance claims the same way. There are 12 states that have “no-fault” laws, which means it does not matter who is at fault for the accident.

Each driver is required to have insurance to pay for their own injuries, even if they did not cause them. 

Texas Modified Comparative Negligence

In Texas, it is important to understand who was at fault, and in some cases, that may also include you. As long as you are 50 percent or less at fault for the accident, you can still file a claim.

This is the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, and it applies to Texas personal injury cases, including those involving a commercial vehicle accident. 

Once your percentage of fault has been determined, that percentage will be subtracted from your overall award.

For example, If you were awarded $100,000 for your injuries but found to be 25 percent responsible for the accident, you would receive $75,000. 

Undoubtedly, the driver or business owner would like you to be found very much at fault for the accident in order to reduce the amount they have to pay out.

Unlike individual drivers, businesses are more likely to have the resources to oppose your view of the accident cause. You do not want to take on the insurance company or the business’s legal counsel alone. 

How Much Is Your Commercial Vehicle Accident Claim Worth?

The amount of compensation you can receive for your commercial car accident depends on several factors.

The most important factor is the severity of your injuries and how they impact both your finances and quality of life. Most commercial vehicle accident victims are eligible to receive both economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

Injuries can have a significant financial impact in both the short and long term. Economic damages cover the expenses associated with your injury so that you do not endure financial hardship because of someone else’s negligent behavior.

Costs covered by economic damages may include:

  • Emergency medical care, 
  • Treatment for the injury,
  • Physical therapy, 
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medication, 
  • In-home care, 
  • Lost wages from inability to work, 
  • Lost earning potential, and
  • Any other financial hardships. 

It is important that you keep a detailed record of expenses associated with your injury to help your attorney accurately determine the value of your claim. 

Noneconomic Damages

Though your financial hardship may be significant, your physical, mental, and emotional hardships are also relevant.

Noneconomic damages are more difficult to quantify because they are intangible. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Anxiety and depression, 
  • Mental anguish, 
  • Post-traumatic stress, 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, and
  • Disfigurement

A serious commercial car accident can have a life-changing impact, and though money may never truly be able to make up for those changes, it can help ease some of the burden. 

Contact Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C.

Texas has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, which means you should act as soon as possible to have the best chance of success with your case.

At The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., we have over 85 years of combined experience in representing the interests of central Texans who have sustained personal injuries.

We understand that your financial situation and livelihood may depend on our effective representation, and we will strive to help you receive the maximum compensation possible for your commercial vehicle accident case.

Contact The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C. today for your free case evaluation.

Author Photo

Michael Zimmerman

Michael was born in Houston, Texas. His education at Baylor and Texas State Universities earned him a Bachelor of Science degree in 1987. His major was in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry. He finished his legal education at Texas Southern University in 1990, earning a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1990.

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