When most people hear “truck crash,” they picture an 18-wheeler that has overturned on the highway. That’s not wrong, but our firm has also handled a variety of cases for people who were injured in collisions with small commercial trucks like box trucks and even construction equipment like rock trucks.
The truth is that in Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama, most commercial vehicles are actually not 18-wheelers.
Box trucks are often used as moving trucks and delivery trucks. While they are convenient for businesses and people needing to transport large objects like furniture and appliances, they are hard to drive without the right skill or experience. And most box trucks DON’T require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive.
That means you may be more likely to get injured in a crash with a careless and inexperienced box truck driver than an over-the-road truck driver like one in a semi.
What’s the Difference Between a Semi-Truck and a Box Truck?
Box trucks are much smaller than semi-trucks. Box trucks are typically available in a range of 10 ft. to 26 ft. long. A fully loaded box truck in the largest size weighs about 26,000 pounds. Meanwhile, a standard semi-truck is about 70 ft. long from the front of the cab to the back of the trailer and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded.
Furthermore, a semi-truck’s trailer is detachable. While the cab and cargo area are separate on a box truck, just like they are on a semi-truck, the trailer is not detachable on a box truck. So you’ll never see a box truck with just the cab on the road beside you.
Box trucks are usually used for local hauling while semi-trucks are usually used in our area for hauling freight, moving equipment, and hauling logs.
Semi-Truck Accidents Have Their Own Laws and Regulations
Unlike passenger vehicles and even smaller commercial vehicles like cargo vans, some small box trucks, and some heavy-duty pickup trucks, semi-trucks pretty much always fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
That means federal law, which is much stricter, overrides the state law for how drivers have to behave.
For example, state law in both Georgia and Alabama only requires drivers to have $25,000 in liability coverage for injuries in auto wrecks. Federal law states trucks need a minimum of $300,000-$750,000 in coverage, depending on their weight. Any truck carrying hazardous materials need a minimum of $1-5 million in liability coverage, depending on its weight.
Trucks cause significantly more damage in wrecks than other vehicles because they are so big and heavy, which means you’ll NEED the extra coverage for your medical expenses if you are injured in a crash with a truck driver.
When Are Box Truck Crashes Treated like Semi-Truck Crashes?
Box truck crashes fall under FMCSA jurisdiction if any of the below apply:
- They are moving across state lines (which is common in our community)
- They weigh more than 10,000 pounds.
- They are transporting hazardous material.
Unfortunately, unless it is an over-the-road vehicle like a semi-truck, it is not likely that the crash will be reported to the FMCSA unless you hire a lawyer who pushes for it. Some delivery companies who use box trucks locally in both Georgia and Alabama may be taking the risk and not actually purchasing the correct amount of coverage because they don’t expect to get caught.
Because commercial vehicles can be difficult to drive, and dangerous when driven negligently, some large commercial vehicles require a commercial driver’s license to operate. CDLs have much stricter testing and requirements than ordinary driver’s licenses. Drivers are required to have a CDL in Georgia if any of the below apply:
- The vehicle weighs more than 26,000 pounds.
- It is transporting hazardous material.
- It is transporting 15 people or more (including the driver).
If a driver is caught operating a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL, they could face severe fines and even federal charges, including jailtime. It is also seriously negligent and can land the driver with liability for any injuries or property damage they cause in a wreck.
Why Is It Important to Know If a Box Truck Has Commercial Coverage?
Even a box truck that weighs less than 10,000 pounds can cause serious, disabling, or life-threatening injuries in a crash. You deserve as much compensation as possible when you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, but often victims are limited by the upper limits of the at-fault driver’s coverage.
We always want to get our clients $750,000 rather than $25,000, whenever possible.
Not all box trucks in Georgia and Alabama are required to carry commercial insurance, but even some that are not legally required to carry it—such as lawn care or cleaning companies operating small vans—may responsibly carry it anyway to protect their businesses from liability in crashes.
That coverage may never be discovered if a lawsuit is not filed.
After a Crash Involving a Box Truck, Get Gary Bruce
When heavy trucks are involved in crashes, things get complicated fast. There are different laws and insurance requirements and driver requirements—all depending on the type of vehicle, the amount of cargo, the type of cargo, and where the truck was going. You need someone on your side who knows what’s going on in truck accidents, how to find the right answers, and how to get you the full amount of money you need and deserve.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we’ve dealt with many different types of truck accident claims, from small delivery trucks to logging and rock trucks to semi-trucks. If you are unsure what type of claim you have or how to proceed, contact us today for a free case evaluation. There’s no cost to speak to a lawyer, and no obligation to hire.