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If your serious auto accident involves a professional driver, you need to know how that person’s job will affect your Third Party negligence lawsuit. Depending on the type of professional driver and the circumstance of the vehicle itself, your negligence case could be very different.
Professional drivers get into auto accidents every day. Despite their extra care to protect passengers and cargo alike, the sheer number of hours these driver spend on the road mean accidents are inevitable. How that person’s commercial work as a driver affects your auto accident claim depends greatly on the vehicle involved.
Bus drivers are commercial drivers with extra certifications on their licenses. Most work for a company that owns and insures the vehicles. That means that there is likely a well-funded insurance policy available to cover your injuries, under PIP and Third Party claims. If you are an uninsured passenger in a bus accident, you may be entitled to file a no-fault claim under the bus’s insurance policy, but only if you exhaust all other options first.
Taxi drivers’ commercial drivers licenses and taxi certifications depend on regular maintenance and a clean driving record. That means their professional driving logs are often the key to proving they were negligent on the job. If a taxi-cab company hasn’t kept up with their maintenance or licensing, you may be able to collect Third Party damages based on that negligence.
The next wave of ride-sharing present particular problems when it comes time to collect after an auto accident. Michigan has only recently begun to require Uber and Lyft drivers to maintain increased insurance to cover passengers inside their vehicles. In addition, the ride-sharing companies carry separate insurance policies to cover crashes that happen while a driver is on the clock. But if your driver doesn’t meet the new requirements, his or her insurance company could cancel the policy or deny the claim because of the commercial use of a personal vehicle.
Tractor-trailer drivers maintain commercial driver licenses and can spend hours on the road every day. Many semi-truck drivers are owner-operators. That means they are responsible for everything that happens in their vehicle. That means you may have a fight on your hands proving negligence, but not the higher insurance benefits of a corporate policy.
However, depending on what is being shipped, the owner of the cargo may be required to maintain separate insurance, which can give you another source for benefits.
At Christensen Law, we know how professional drivers can complicate an auto accident claim. We will help you identify who the right defendants are, and where the insurance claims need to be filed. If you have been injured by a professional driver, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.