There are many other commercial trucks on our Atlanta area roads other than big-rig trucks that could cause you to be injured in an accident. Utility trucks are commercial trucks engineered for a particular purpose. Like other trucks, they take training, skill, and experience to drive safely. Unfortunately, many of the drivers of these vehicles do not receive the training and experience they need before they get behind the wheel. As a result, these negligent drivers cause many tragic and preventable wrecks.
What Are Utility Trucks?
Utility trucks are larger than pick-up trucks, but smaller than semis that are designed for a particular commercial purpose. They are used by telephone, cable, and electric companies, municipalities, construction companies, and other businesses to transport equipment and workers to job sites. Common types of utility vehicles that are involved in accidents with passenger vehicles include:
- Utility company trucks
- Communication company trucks, such as for cable, Internet, and satellite dish services
- Garbage and recycling trucks
- Lawn care trucks
- Street cleaners
- Construction trucks
- Oilfield trucks
- Gas trucks
- Heavy construction equipment, like bulldozers, backhoes, and cranes
How Do Utility Trucks Differ From Big-Rig Trucks?
Like big semi-trucks, utility trucks are larger than passenger vehicles and can cause more serious injuries than when two cars are involved in a crash. Truck driver error issues can also be similar in both types of accidents. However, there are also major differences between utility trucks and other larger commercial trucks. Some of these differences include:
- Less regulation. Utility trucks do not fall under the same federal and state regulations governing big-rig trucks. This means that they do not have the same rules, such as for pre-trip and post-trip inspections, how long drivers can drive without a break, and other safety requirements that other truck drivers must follow. This could make showing that the utility truck driver and his employer were negligent in causing a crash more challenging than in other truck cases.
- Less restriction on where they can drive. Big-rig trucks are prohibited from driving in certain areas, such as residential neighborhoods and under certain underpasses. Utility trucks are permitted to and often must travel in these areas as they access utility and communication lines, pick up our garbage, and much more. This increases the likelihood that these truck drivers will cause an accident with a passenger vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist.
- Liability and insurance. Utility trucks are often owned by private companies and local governments. This means that there may be more than one liable party and insurance policy like in other truck accident cases. However, the liability and insurance issues can be different in utility truck cases.
Who Could Be Liable for Compensating You in Your Utility Truck Crash?
Determining liable parties in a utility truck accident can be very complex given that more than one party could face responsibility for compensating you for your injuries. Depending on the facts of your crash, the potential parties could be:
- Negligent driver. The negligent driver will always be a party you will want to pursue. If he owned his own business, such as a lawn or snow removal service, there may not be other liable parties. However, if he worked for an employer, you may be able to seek compensation from the employer as well.
- Municipality. If a municipal or other government utility company truck caused your collision, you may have a claim against the municipality or governmental agency that the driver worked for. However, claims against any governmental agency are governed by special rules regarding their liability and the notice of your claim you must give. You want to contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately if any governmental responsibility for compensating you is possible.
- Private company. If the driver who hit you worked for a private company, the company could face responsibility under the theory that employers are responsible for their employees’ actions performed within the scope of their employment.
- General contractor. In some cases the driver or his company is hired by a general contractor performing a job for a municipality or private company. In this situation, the general contractor—as well as the driver and his employer—may be an avenue of compensation for you.
If you were involved in a utility truck accident, you want an experienced truck accident attorney who understands the unique challenges of your case. Fill out our online form or call us at (404) 998-5252 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with David Brauns.