What Is Considered A Commercial Vehicle In Austin?

June 24, 2024 | Car Accidents

Why even distinguish between a commercial vehicle and a regular vehicle on the roadways of Austin? Well, there are a few reasons. First, commercial vehicles are often larger and can lead to more extensive injuries and property damage. Additionally, there may be expanded types of compensation or sources of recovering compensation for victims if they had been involved in a vehicle accident with a commercial vehicle in Austin.

What Vehicles Are “Commercial”?

A commercial vehicle is generally defined by its use and size. In Austin, Texas, commercial vehicles include a variety of types, each designed to transport goods or passengers for business purposes. These vehicles typically meet certain criteria set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Texas state regulations. Commercial vehicle in Texas can include:

  • Trucks and Trailers. This category includes 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, and large freight trucks. These vehicles are used to transport goods and materials across cities and states.
  • Buses. Any vehicle designed to carry more than 15 passengers is considered a commercial vehicle. This includes city buses, school buses, and tour buses.
  • Vans. Vans used for transporting goods or more than eight passengers for business purposes are also classified as commercial vehicles.
  • Taxis and Rideshare Vehicles. Cars used for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, as well as traditional taxis, are considered commercial when used to transport passengers for a fee.
  • Construction Vehicles. This includes dump trucks, cement mixers, and other large vehicles used in construction projects.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a vehicle is classified as commercial if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • It has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or greater.
  • It is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver).
  • It is used to transport hazardous cargo in quantities requiring placarding under DOT regulations​.

Why It Matters Whether a Vehicle is Commercial or Not

Determining whether a vehicle is commercial is crucial for several reasons:

  • Regulatory Compliance. Commercial vehicles must comply with stricter regulatory requirements, including safety inspections, driver qualifications, and hours of service limitations. This helps ensure that these vehicles are operated safely on the road.
  • Insurance Requirements. Commercial vehicles are required to carry higher insurance limits than private vehicles. This means that if an accident occurs, there is generally more insurance coverage available to compensate victims for their injuries and damages.
  • Liability Considerations. In accidents involving commercial vehicles, liability can extend beyond the driver to the company that owns or operates the vehicle. This can include employers, contractors, and even manufacturers in cases involving vehicle defects.

Understanding these distinctions can affect the outcome of an accident claim, as there may be multiple parties who can be held responsible for damages​.

What Happens After a Crash With a Commercial Vehicle in Austin?

After an accident with a commercial vehicle in Austin, several steps should be taken to protect your rights and help you receive fair compensation:

  1. Seek Medical Attention. Your health is the top priority. Even if injuries seem minor, it is important to receive an evaluation from a medical professional to document your condition.
  2. Report the Accident. Contact law enforcement to report the accident. An official police report can be a crucial piece of evidence in your claim.
  3. Gather Evidence. Collect as much information as possible at the scene. This includes taking photographs, getting witness contact information, and noting any details about the commercial vehicle and driver.
  4. Contact an Attorney. Commercial vehicle accidents become challenging claims, involving multiple parties and large insurance companies. An experienced vehicle accident injury attorney in Austin can help navigate the legal process and advocate for your rights.
  5. File a Claim. Your lawyer in Austin can help you file the insurance claim or civil injury lawsuit against the appropriate parties, which may include the driver, the company that owns the vehicle, or other entities involved in the operation of the vehicle.

Call a Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle in Austin, it is important to seek legal help promptly to navigate the complexities of your claim. Contact the Bonilla Law Firm for a free consultation. Our experienced team is here to help you understand your rights and pursue the total amount of compensation you deserve. Visit our contact page or call us today.