Representing Victims of Passenger Van Accidents
Passenger vans, while incredibly useful vehicles for transporting cargo and people, can be extremely dangerous in a collision. Their speed and weight mean they can cause catastrophic damage when they collide with smaller vehicles like sedans or motorcycles. In addition, if cargo is not properly stored or a large truck strikes the van, the occupants can be severely injured during the collision.
If you or someone you loved was injured in a van accident, whether as a pedestrian, another driver, or passenger, then you may be eligible for compensation in an auto accident claim. But filing a claim is a difficult process that involves collecting evidence, reviewing insurance policies, and negotiating with insurance adjusters, all while trying to recover from your injuries. Instead, let DiBella Law Offices, P.C. take on the legal burdens of filing a claim. Our Boston van accident attorney can provide thorough legal representation to ensure you have a fair shot at recovering compensation. To learn more, contact our office at (617) 870-0907 and schedule a free consultation.
What Are Some Common Types of Vans in Boston?
Several commercial services utilize vans throughout Boston to transport large groups of passengers, equipment, or cargo. Everything from maintenance companies to churches utilize passenger vans to easily get to and from their destinations. Because these vehicles are often used by small businesses and organizations to travel long distances, they tend to have higher commercial liability insurance policies in order to provide coverage to other drivers and their passengers.
The most common types of vans that are involved in auto accidents in Boston include:
- Delivery vans, including Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and USPS
- Maintenance vans used by electricians, plumbers, and telecommunication companies
- Disability vans
- Transportation for long-term care facilities
- Catering vans for restaurants
- Church vans
- School passenger vans for sports teams, clubs, student organizations, and summer camps
- Small-group tour vans
- Hotel and airport shuttles
As versatile as these vehicles are, there are some inherent risks in utilizing them.
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Why Are Passenger Vans Dangerous?
In the right hands, a passenger van can be an extremely safe way for companies and groups to easily get around Boston. However, that is largely dependent on the skill and experience of the driver. Passenger vans have larger blind spots, are higher off the ground, and weight significantly more than other cars. Drivers need to understand the inherent risks that come with these vehicles in order to avoid a serious auto accident.
Because of their size, weight, and length, passenger vans:
- Are more prone to rollovers due to being top-heavy
- Have larger blind spots that bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other drivers can be caught in when a van is changing lanes or making a turn
- Need longer to brake and come to a complete stop
- Are harder to control at sharp turns
- Can become unbalanced due to loose or heavy cargo
- Suffer more wear and tear, leading to maintenance issues
The driver of the van and the company who owns it are expected to abide by all the same driving laws as any other driver. That means obeying traffic laws, performing routine maintenance, and avoiding any actions that could put the passengers, pedestrians, or other drivers in danger of suffering an injury. While these vans come with their own risks, there are several unsafe driving practices that can also cause a van accident, such as:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Failing to check blind spots
- Making illegal turns
- Making sudden stops
- Failing to use turn signals
- Overloading a vehicle with passengers or cargo
- Driving while fatigued
- Lack of training or experience
Any of the above actions can constitute negligence in an auto accident claim, allowing both passengers and other drivers to file a claim against the driver and their parent company’s insurance policy. However, the driver may not always be the liable party.
We've offered crucial support and guidance to individuals who have suffered injuries, ensuring their financial and emotional well-being.
Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries?
A van accident can cause severe injuries to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists, but it is also extremely dangerous for passengers. Because these vehicles are prone to rollovers, occupants can suffer catastrophic passenger injuries if the van’s roof collapses, a seatbelt is improperly installed or defective, or cargo comes loose and strikes them. Even outside of a rollover, a collision with another vehicle can cause severe trauma to the occupants. At the end of the day, almost no one walks away from a van accident unharmed.
However, if your injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation in an auto accident claim against their insurance. Claims are often filed by pedestrians or other drivers struck by vans, but passengers may also have a right to file a claim against either the driver of the van, the company who owns the van, or other drivers, depending on who is responsible for their injuries. But to successfully file a claim and receive compensation, you will need to determine who was responsible for your injuries, which can include several parties:
The Van’s Driver: Of course, the driver of the van is often the at-fault party if they acted negligently, which often includes distracted driving due to GPS notifications, improperly loading cargo, or failing to fix maintenance issues if they own the vehicle.
Other Drivers: In turn, other drivers are just as capable of causing a collision with a van, often to the detriment of the van’s passengers.
The Van’s Manufacturer: Like any other vehicle, vans can have auto part defects that contribute to an accident, either by causing the accident or making it your injuries more severe. For example, many manufacturers are aware of the risk of a rollover in a passenger van and have taken steps to reinforce the roof, so it does not collapse. If the roof strength is lacking and you are injured, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
The Rental Company: Vans used by schools, churches, and long-term care facilities are sometimes owned by rental companies and rented for events. These companies are required to ensure all their vehicles are properly maintained and free of defective parts. If the company did not replace worn-out tires and a blowout occurred, they could be found liable by anyone injured in an accident.
In addition to being able to file a claim against an at-fault driver or company, passengers an also utilize personal injury protection coverage to cover their immediate medical expenses and lost wages based on Massachusetts’s no-fault insurance laws, alongside their own health insurance policies. These policies can provide partial coverage, so it is important to talk to an attorney about what types of compensation you can receive in a van accident.
Get the Legal Aid You Need After a Collision
Because of the size and weight of most passenger vans, accidents with them are often catastrophic. They can easily barrel into other vehicles, causing severe injuries to other drivers, and inappropriate turns can severely injure, or even kill, pedestrians. That is not even mentioning the injuries sustained by passengers.
In any situation, to file a successful accident claim, you will need to contact an experienced Boston car accident attorney who understands how to determine liability and hold insurance companies to their policies. Very few insurance companies are charitable, and many will try to minimize your injuries or deny coverage if it will save them money. But if you work with DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our lead attorney will do everything in his power to advocate for your right to compensation and get you the money you need after an accident. To learn how we can represent you in an auto accident claim, contact our office at (617) 870-0907.