When we picture a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), most of us probably think of semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or box trucks. But a truck’s design, size, and weight aren’t the only criteria used to classify them as commercial vehicles. If you’re seriously injured in a Michigan truck accident, these classifications could be an important part of your case.
Defining a Commercial Motor Vehicle
According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle ― or combination of vehicles ― used to transport people or goods for a business purpose. This definition covers a wide range of vehicles, including:
- Delivery vans
- Utility vehicles
- Commercial vans
- Construction vehicles
- Moving trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Cement trucks
- Logging trucks
- Mail trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Farm vehicles
Most of these vehicles would not be considered ordinary vehicles. But certain passenger vans and pickup trucks could be considered commercial vehicles depending on their size and how many passengers they carry. To determine whether your vehicle is a commercial vehicle, you’ll need to know the specifications set by state law.
When is an Ordinary Vehicle a Commercial Vehicle?
The Michigan law defining commercial vehicles says the vehicle must meet one or more of these criteria:
- Gross vehicle weight rating — If any single vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, it is considered a commercial vehicle. The minimum GVWR of 26,0001 pounds for combination vehicles also includes the trailer if the trailer weighs 10,000 pounds or more. Semi-trucks, box trucks, some moving vans, logging trucks, and other heavy vehicles would be considered commercial vehicles by this standard.
- Passenger limits — Any vehicle designed to transport 16 people or more, including the driver, is considered a commercial vehicle in Michigan. This includes most types of buses (including school buses), certain passenger vans, and similar vehicles.
- Transporting hazardous materials — Any vehicle carrying hazardous materials is required to post a hazardous material placard under federal regulations is considered a commercial vehicle, regardless of its size. This applies to any vehicle whatsoever, from passenger cars to tractor-trailers.
Why do these regulations matter? Because if you’ve been seriously hurt in a commercial motor vehicle accident, the insurance policy limits accessible through a third-party claim could be much higher. This, in turn, could lead to more compensation for you if your personal injury claim prevails.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
The federal and state laws governing the trucking industry are complex. Determining whether an ordinary vehicle qualifies as a commercial vehicle could make a big difference in the legal options open to you.
If you suffered injuries in a CMV accident, talk to an experienced truck accident attorney at Christensen Law. With a deep understanding of trucking law, our lawyers will aggressively pursue fair compensation for you. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.