Commercial motor vehicles, or CMVs, have a lot of different uses. While they often transport things from one place to another, what exactly those “things” are varies greatly. CMVs move people’s belongings to new homes and apartments, deliver packages to distribution centers, transport chemicals to processing plants, and get countless other kinds of cargo to where it needs to be. Unfortunately, every so often, a commercial motor vehicle will get into an accident. Because commercial motor vehicles are so massive, there is a good chance that someone will get injured in these kinds of accidents. Many people injured by CMVs do not know what to do in order to make sure their legal rights are secure.
Before you even think about the legal world surrounding a commercial motor vehicle accident, your first task is to see to it that you are unharmed and safe. Get the medical aid and attention you require as soon as possible. After that is dealt with – and only then – should you worry about collecting as much evidence as possible and ultimately getting help from legal counsel.
If you need help after a commercial motor vehicle accident, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s truck accident lawyers at (410) 694-7291.
What Vehicles Qualify as CMVs?
CMV stands for “commercial motor vehicle.” The term is defined under 49 CFR § 390.5 as any vehicle with a gross weight of 10,001 pounds or more, transports more than eight passengers for compensation, transports more than 15 passengers for a purpose other than compensation, or transports hazardous materials.
While one may think of big 18-wheelers or semi trucks when the term “commercial motor vehicle” comes to mind, under the definition found in the Code of Federal Regulations, other vehicles can also be considered CMVs. For example, buses and trollies can also be considered commercial motor vehicles.
What Steps Should I Take After an Accident with a Commercial Motor Vehicle
Accidents involving commercial motor vehicles can be scary and hectic. Since Commercial motor vehicles are very often much larger than ordinary cars, trucks, and motor vehicles driven by everyday people, they can often wreak havoc when they get in an accident. Accordingly, it is good to have a plan of action if you ever find yourself in an accident involving a CMV. Below, our truck accident lawyers have nailed down what we believe are the important steps to take after a CMV accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Your immediate and most important priority after a commercial motor vehicle accident is to get medical attention. Should you be severely injured to the point that emergency medical evacuation is required, then you will be medevacked, and you probably will not be able to do any other steps.
That being said, if you were involved in a CMV accident and someone else is badly injured, it is a good idea to dial 911 to get in touch with emergency services and make them aware of the situation.
If medical personnel have tended to you and you are able to stay near the accident, then you should proceed to the next steps.
Collecting information is a process that will extend beyond the initial CMV accident and will persist throughout the legal process. However, you can start collecting information just after a truck accident happens. If you are able, get the name, phone number, insurance information, license plate number, and anything else you can gather about anyone involved in the accident. For the CMV, be sure to note what company or entity the vehicle belongs to. This is important because you may be able to sue the company responsible for the vehicle in addition to whoever was driving the commercial motor vehicle that was involved in your accident.
In addition to obtaining this information, take as many pictures and videos of the accident and surrounding area as you can. Finally, talk to and record what any witnesses in the area have to say about the accident. This testimony, and indeed the witnesses themselves, can be useful in a CMV lawsuit.
Obtain a Police Report
When you are still near the accident, you will likely have to talk with a police officer about the incident. Give the officer your version of the events and answer as truthfully as you can. The officer will likely have conversations with other people involved in the accident as well.
This information and the officer’s own observations will be used to form a police report, which can usually be obtained a couple of days to a week after an accident. A police report serves as the officer’s recollection of the accident. While police reports are not usually used as evidence themselves, they can inform the arguments our lawyers make in your case.
Talk to Our Lawyers
One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to get in touch with an attorney right away. Not only is this helpful in that it lets our lawyers start work on your case sooner, but it also helps make sure that you get your case filed before any statutes of limitation run out. The statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit on how long people have to file lawsuits. In Maryland, most truck accident lawsuits must be filed within three years of the injury taking place pursuant to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 5-101. If you do not file in time, you lose out on your ability to recover damages for your injuries.
Talk to Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Rice, Murtha & Psoras has Ellicott City, MD truck accident lawyers ready to talk about your case for free when you call (410) 694-7291.