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Morrin Law Office

Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney in Bowling Green, Kentucky

In 2022, there were an estimated 186,501 registered commercial motor vehicles within the state of Kentucky. These are vehicles that operate on highways and roads to transport property or passengers. Since commercial motor vehicles are often much larger than standard cars, getting into a collision with one can cause devastating effects.

If you were operating a passenger vehicle, motorcycle, or truck in Bowling Green, Kentucky and were struck by a commercial motor vehicle, what are your legal options? In this page we will break down the differences between these vehicles, the rules associated with operating a commercial vehicle, and the process of filing a personal injury claim to receive fair compensation for the resulting injuries.

How Do Commercial Vehicles Differ from Standard Motor Vehicles?

A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is considered any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle that a company uses on a highway in interstate commerce.

A standard passenger vehicle includes cars, vans, and trucks. These types of personal vehicles have an average weight of 6,000 pounds or less. In comparison, a CMV has a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more.

Additionally, a CMV is either designed to transport over 8 passengers including the driver for compensation, or more than 15 passengers if not receiving compensation for transportation. A CMV may also be considered any size of vehicle that is employed to transport hazardous materials requiring federal placarding.

Kentucky identifies that CMVs on interstates and designated highways must fit within the following guidelines:

  • Length of CMV: Can range from 28 ft to 53 ft, depending on if the CMV is a motor-truck, semi-trailer, dual trailer, or overhang trailer.
  • Width of CMV: Up to 8 ft and 6 in.
  • Height of CMV: Up to 13 ft and 6in, or 14 ft for CMV car haulers.
  • Weight of CMV: Can range between 20,000 and 48,000 pounds depending on the number of axels the vehicle has. The total gross weight of a CMV and the load it is carrying cannot exceed 80,000 pounds. However, combination CMV trucks and semi-trailers that have a combined unit of five, six, or seven axels can range in weight between 96,000 and 160,000 pounds.

For more information on the specific dimensions and weight allowed for a CMV in Kentucky, refer to the page here.

Causes of Commercial Vehicle Collisions

While there are a multitude of reasons why a CMV is involved in a collision, the following lists some of the most common causes:

  • Failure to obey traffic signals, such as yielding to the right of way, can result in a side-impact collision;
  • A CMV driver who is speeding and cannot stop in time can crash into the back of another vehicle(s);
  • Manufactured parts of the CMV that are old, rusted, or defective can impact the vehicle and its movement, potentially causing a collision;
  • A cargo company that does not abide by the specific regulations and improperly loads cargo can result in a collision;
  • A CMV driver who is fatigued from long hours of operation without a break can fall asleep or not be presently paying attention to the road, causing a collision; or
  • A CMV operator who becomes distracted by their cell phone or anything else that takes their eyes and mind off the road can cause a collision.

Were you recently hit by a CMV driver in Bowling Green, Kentucky? Contact a Kentucky personal injury attorney to discuss the details of the crash and determine what the right legal option for you is.

Who is Liable for a Commercial Vehicle Accident in Bowling Green, KY?

In terms of personal injury claims, a person in Kentucky has the same rights whether they were in a collision with a passenger vehicle or commercial vehicle. However, liability can fall on several different parties when a commercial truck is involved, including:

  • The commercial vehicle operator;
  • The owner of the commercial vehicle;
  • The manufacturer of the commercial vehicle parts;
  • The business or company employing the commercial vehicle for cargo.

By engaging in interstate commerce, commercial vehicles often carry a higher liability than a standard passenger vehicle. It is also common for commercial vehicles to have higher liability limits than a standard personal policy. Additionally, commercial vehicles must follow both state and federal regulations while operating such motor vehicle on the roads.

For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the lead federal agency that is responsible for the regulation and safety measures for CMVs. According to their page on distracted driving, using a cell phone or handheld device while operating a CMV is not only dangerous, but it can also result in sanctions for the driver, with the possible civil penalty of up to $2,750. For motor carriers, they can face civil penalties up to $11,000 if their drivers are caught texting or using a handheld device.

Due to this, a victim who is injured in a collision involving a commercial vehicle may be able to recover more compensation.

Contact Morrin Law to discuss the details of your collision involving a commercial motor vehicle to determine if you have grounds for filing a personal injury claim.

Potential Injuries Sustained in an Accident

It’s worth noting that any car collision can result in severe injury to those involved. However, given that CMVs are often much larger than a standard passenger vehicle, it is plausible that being struck by this type of vehicle can lead to serious injuries or even death.

Some common injuries a person may face from a CMV collision include, but are not limited to:

  • Burns: A CMV carrying hazardous materials, gasoline, or diesel fuel that is struck in an accident can cause burns and potentially lead to significant or permanent damage.
  • Amputations: A person who experiences severe trauma on impact may experience an amputation, or have it required as a medical necessity after being struck by a CMV.
  • Broken bones and fractures: An individual hit by a CMV can have one or multiple broken bones or fractures, which can lead to disability and permanent disfigurement.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Blunt trauma caused by the impact of a CMV with another vehicle can injure a person’s connective tissue, including the ligaments, muscles, or tendons.
  • Back and neck injuries: The substantial impact typically caused by a crash involving a CMV can result in serious neck and back injuries, including herniated discs, whiplash, or broken bones.
  • Spinal cord injuries: A person struck by a CMV can experience partial or complete spinal cord issues, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Blunt force trauma, rapid acceleration, and deceleration can all cause severe traumatic brain injuries.

Morrin Law continuously stresses to those involved in a motor vehicle accident to receive medical attention as soon as possible. This is imperative if you wish to seek compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Having documentation that specifically explains the injuries sustained, the treatment for such injuries, and the overall impact of these injuries on the victim’s everyday life will be important for your case.

If you have any questions about the collision you were involved in or the injuries you suffered at the hands of a CMV driver, contact a Bowling Green personal injury attorney.

Recovering from a Commercial Vehicle Accident Through a Personal Injury Claim

If you were severely injured or had a loved one die in a collision with a CMV, you may be able to recover financially through filing a personal injury claim. The amount of compensation a victim can be awarded will be based on the severity of the damages. This can include any of the following:

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses caused by the wreck;
  • Lost compensation from missing work due to the accident injuries;
  • Lost benefits from missing work;
  • Cost of vehicle repair or the replacement value;
  • Any other property damage costs;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Loss of financial support the deceased victim brought to the family;
  • Funeral costs;
  • Disability and disfigurement;
  • Emotional stress; and
  • Pain and suffering.

To have a successful claim, consider working with a Morrin Law representative. We advise our clients to follow these steps:

  1. Seek medical treatment – This step would be directly after the collision. If an ambulance is not called to the crash site, make sure you are seen by a medical professional within a timely manner to assess the physical damages you experienced from the wreck.
  2. Contact the experienced Morrin Law attorneys in Bowling Green – Navigating the legal world on your own can be extremely difficult. By entrusting Morrin Law with your case from the beginning, we can help you with the bulk of the following steps.
  3. Collect all necessary evidence from the collision – Throughout your medical treatment, continue to gather all evidence and document this information to help support your claim. A personal injury attorney with Morrin Law can assist in making sure you have all the necessary information.
  4. Set up a claim with insurance – Your insurance provider, as well as the other person or party’s providers will need to be notified of the collision and the resulting damages. Again, a personal injury attorney with Morrin Law can assist with this step by contacting the insurance companies on your behalf.
  5. Negotiate a settlement – In many cases, the insurance agencies will offer a settlement to help cover the resulting damages of the CMV crash. You have the option to accept or deny the financial compensation offered to you. If you think this is an unfair settlement, you can deny it and seek to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
  6. If necessary, file a lawsuit – Under KRS 304.39-060, any person who registers, operates, maintains, or uses a motor vehicle in the state of Kentucky is deemed to have accepted the limitations on their right to sue or be sued. If a victim’s injuries exceed the following threshold and they are unable to reach a fair settlement through a claim, they can seek to recover damages from the at-fault party through litigation:
  • Exceeds $1,000 in medical expenses;
  • Results in a broken bone(s);
  • Results in permanent disfigurement;
  • Results in permanent injury; or
  • Results in wrongful death.

Additionally, any injured person seeking to be awarded compensation through civil remedies must abide by the specific time frame under Kentucky law. A person has two years from the date of the accident or last personal injury protection (PIP) payment to file. While two years may seem like a decent amount of time, keep in mind that these processes can move slowly.

We advise gathering all information and contacting Morrin Law as soon as possible. That way we can ensure your claim is started and maintained well within the two-year limit. If you wait too long, you could risk having your claim barred and missing out on the compensation you deserve.

Contact the Personal Injury Team at Morrin Law

Have you or a loved one recently been injured in a car accident involving a commercial motor vehicle? If so, you may be able to seek compensation to help support the medical treatment and damages accrued due to the injuries. While each case can vary, Morrin Law has personal injury attorneys in Kentucky that can help represent your case. When you trust us to represent you, we will do everything in our power to protect your rights and ensure you are awarded fair compensation. This can include talking to the insurance companies on your behalf, as well as fighting in court if necessary.

To schedule a risk-free evaluation to discuss the crash details, contact Morrin Law Office today by calling (859) 358-0300. Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, so we only win when you do!

Seeking compensation through a personal injury claim can be a complicated process. On top of dealing with the physical and mental anguish that often accompanies serious injuries, the last thing you should have to deal with is the legal side of things. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you know your case is in the hands of a lawyer who is experienced in speaking to strict insurance companies, analyzing evidence relating to the accident, and fighting for fair compensation through the legal proceedings.

Morrin Law Firm understands that this is an extremely difficult time in your life. Whether you have been severely injured or have had to grieve the loss of a loved one in a wrongful death motorcycle case, securing the right representation will make all the difference in your case. Our firm will gladly go over the surrounding details of your accident during a free case evaluation. All you have to do is call our office today at (859) 358-0300