Receiving compensation after being in an auto accident with another motorist is often an extensive process, but can be relatively straightforward, especially with the assistance of a trusted auto accident attorney. When another motorist strikes your vehicle, their insurance company should step in to cover your damages, including medical expenses and your pain and suffering. In many cases, you can file a personal injury claim to reach a settlement with the insurer.
However, accidents with commercial drivers are typically much more complicated. The matter of who is at fault and responsible for compensating you for your damages can become a bit trickier. There are certain things to be expected from a commercial driver's insurance company. If you've recently been involved in an auto accident with a commercial driver, you'll want this insight.
What is a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is any car, van, truck, or bus operated for a commercial purpose. This means that the vehicle is considered part of the business, and is being driven for the purpose of that business.
Companies and commercial vehicles on Florida roads include:
- United Parcel Service (UPS)
- Cheney Brothers Inc.
- Amazon Prime
- Hertz and other car rental shuttles
- Uber and Lyft
- Moving companies
- Marriott and other hotel shuttles
- Mobile detailing businesses
- Mobile pet groomers
- Food trucks
- Semi trucks
What Will Commercial Insurance Cover?
Just like non-employee drivers, commercial drivers carry personal auto insurance. However, the company that is employing the driver also carries insurance. This is known as commercial auto insurance, and it is typical of all commercial vehicles.
Normal commercial auto insurance on standard vehicles is similar to a personal auto policy. It contains similar provisions, including collision and comprehensive insurance, as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
When you are in an accident with a commercial vehicle, making a claim is not much different than making a claim in any other auto accident. Property damage is typically handled under collision coverage. But, when the other driver is injured and there are medical damages, the liability coverage of the commercial auto insurance policy will likely cover the claim.
Do I File Against the Driver or the Company?
Understanding which insurance company to file a claim against can be confusing. This is because in cases involving a collision with a commercial vehicle, there are a number of people or entities that you might be able to file a claim against.
- The driver of the vehicle. As the individual responsible for the accident, you would customarily file against this individual's personal auto insurance.
- The driver's employer. Employers are always liable for the negligent actions of their employees, so long as the driver was acting in the course of their employment. For instance, making a delivery or driving to pick up a passenger. Legally, this responsibility is known as "respondeat superior."
- The owner of the vehicle. The employer does not always own the vehicle. Florida law allows a victim to pursue the owner of a vehicle involved in an auto accident.
- Commercial vehicles are often used to deliver goods from point A to point B. A claim can be filed against the individual leasing the vehicle as well as the company who owned the goods being delivered.
When you're trying to recover damages from a commercial auto accident, it is advisable to hire an experienced auto accident attorney. An attorney can help walk you through these levels of liability as well as advise you which entity would be best to file a claim against. It's important to bear in mind that you are looking for compensation for your injuries, and your attorney should structure your case so as to get you the best chance of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries.
Thus, it is common to pursue a claim against the employer, and seek recovery from their commercial auto insurance. As these policies are typically much larger than a standard policy, there is a larger chance to recover. However, this also means that the company may push back much harder to avoid having to settle.
Having a Trusted Attorney by Your Side
Commercial auto insurance companies will conduct their own investigation into the accident to attempt to disprove your claim or lessen the settlement amount. For this reason, your attorney will collect a plethora of information, such as the driver's logs and safety records, cell phone records, vehicle inspection records, and photos and statements from the scene.
Going against a commercial auto insurance company, you can expect a decent amount of resistance. However, with a trusted attorney by your side, you could effectively secure a settlement. If you've been involved in an accident with a commercial driver, contact Weinstein Legal today. Our seasoned attorneys will fight for your right to compensation.