When most people think of “big truck accidents,” they think of semi-trucks. That’s because semi-trucks, which can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. fully loaded, can cause catastrophic injuries, significant property damage, and can even shut down highways and interstates when they wreck. But semi-trucks aren’t the only “big trucks” on the road.
Box trucks are also bigger than passenger vehicles, and they can range in length from 10 feet to 26 feet and in weight from 12,500 lbs. to 33,000 lbs. Although even the largest box truck is still much shorter and lighter than a fully loaded semi-truck, they can still outweigh many passenger vehicles by 10 to one, making them very dangerous in collisions.
When people are injured in box truck crashes, their compensation claims can vary depending on the size of the box trucks that hit them and what the trucks were being used for.
Box Truck Crash Claims Depend on the Classification of the Trucks
There are eight classifications of trucks and utility vehicles based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
These classifications range from Class 1, which includes utility vehicles weighing up to 6,000 pounds such as vans and pickup trucks, all the way up to Class 8 vehicles with GVWRs between 33,001 pounds and 80,000 pounds, which includes dump trucks, cement trucks, and semi-trucks. The largest box trucks are considered Class 7 vehicles, and they can have GVWRs of up to 33,000 pounds.
Big Box Truck Crash Claims Can Be Handled Similarly to Semi-Truck Claims
To drive vehicles rated Class 7 and 8, drivers must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). These vehicles are typically used for business or industrial purposes, and they are often subject to many of the same requirements established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as semi-trucks—especially for their drivers.
That means that when these vehicles are involved in crashes, investigations may be more intensive, as there’s a greater likelihood that a form of driver negligence or an FMCSA guideline violation was involved.
Small Box Truck Crash Claims Are More Like Passenger Vehicle Claims
Although box trucks are commonly used by businesses and various industries, they’re frequently used by average people, too. For example, they can be used to transport personal belongings, especially while moving. Because most people don’t have CDLs, they typically rent box trucks ranging from Class 3, which is the smallest size box truck, up to Class 6, which is the largest that can be driven without a CDL.
When small- to mid-size box trucks are involved in crashes and they’re for personal use, FMCSA regulations usually don’t come into play. Instead, drivers are often held liable for violating standard traffic laws, including speeding, following too closely, failing to signal, failing to come to a complete stop, or driving while distracted or impaired.
Some Class 3 to Class 6 box truck crashes may be scrutinized under FMCSA regulations if they have a US DOT number, which is required if they have a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds and are involved in interstate commerce (state-to-state business).
Box Truck Owners and Companies Can Be Held Liable After Certain Crashes
Like semi-trucks, box trucks aren’t always owned by the people who drive them. They may be rented or owned by a company that uses them to do business. When the driver of a box truck loses control because the vehicle was poorly maintained or neglected, the owner of the box truck may be held liable instead of, or in addition to, the driver.
For example, if someone rents a moving truck and experiences a tire blowout on the highway, the moving truck company or rental agency may be on the hook for any accident-related damages because they failed to replace or repair the tire before renting it out.
But the person who rented the truck may also share some or all of the liability if they used the truck improperly, which could include loading it unevenly or with too much weight, and their negligence contributed to the blowout.
Call Us After a Box Truck Accident to Get Experienced Representation
Whether they’re semi-trucks, box trucks, dump trucks, or any other type of oversized truck, these vehicles are both essential to society and extremely dangerous in collisions. But unlike passenger vehicles, where liability almost always involves standard traffic law violations, big truck crashes are often more complex.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we know FMCSA regulations, CDL requirements, and how box truck crashes often must be viewed through the lens of both. Contact our Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation to learn if you’re eligible for compensation after a big truck crash. We’ll put our knowledge and experience of the commercial trucking industry to work for you.