California drivers in cars and SUVs see a lot of vehicles on the road larger than their own. Along with giant semi-trucks, tankers, and box trucks, passenger vans carrying a dozen people or more can pull into your lane or cut you off at a turn.
If a passenger van or cargo van driver hits you, working out liability and insurance coverage might be very different than in a normal accident.
That’s because passenger and shuttle vans are usually backed by a local business. The drivers are often employees for a company and in some cases, those companies can also be held liable for any injuries you or a loved one suffer.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation After a Passenger Van Accident
If you or a loved one are hurt in an accident involving a passenger or shuttle van, make sure you are fully aware of the benefits available to you.
Whether you are in a shuttle van when a driver makes a careless mistake, or if you are in a vehicle, walking, or on a bicycle when you are hit, it’s vital to make sure everyone liable for your injuries is held accountable.
Find out how to receive full compensation for everything you’ve been through in a free case consultation with Maison Law of California. You’ll discuss your case with a real lawyer and go over your best options for securing financial support for your injury recovery.
Passenger Van Dangers on California Streets
Passenger vans can be used to shuttle people to the airport or back and forth from a hotel. They may be utilized to transport church groups on a trip or to bring young athletes to a sporting event. Passenger vans can also be utilized for public transportation for a municipality.
No matter the use, it’s the drivers who are the key to the accident risk these vans pose to other motorists. The drivers of shuttle vans aren’t generally required to get special training or have a specialized driver’s license in California (see below).
A passenger van driver may be distracted by passengers, calls from potential pick-ups, or a text on a cellphone. Their work can provide enough distraction to take their eyes off the lanes at key times. They may also be tempted to drive at elevated speeds to keep up with a drop-off schedule or to earn a better tip from a passenger.
These hazards all contribute to the elevated chance that you may be hit by a shuttle or passenger van. That extra weight carried by vans also factors into the risk. Passenger vans can weigh 6,000lbs or more and bring that extra force into an impact causing more serious injuries and increasing the chance of a fatal accident.
Passengers on vans are often injured in tip-over accidents. They face extra damage because they usually aren’t provided with seatbelts.
Driver’s License Requirements for Passenger Van Driving
In California, passenger vans can be driven by anyone with a regular Class C driver’s license up to a certain passenger limit.
The California DMV’s Driver Handbook lays out the requirements:
- Someone with a Class C license can drive a vanpool vehicle designed to carry more than 10 persons, but no more than 15 persons including the driver.
- A driver of a vanpool may operate with a Class C license but shall possess evidence of a medical examination required for a Class B license when operating vanpool vehicles. In the vanpool vehicle, the driver must keep a statement, signed under penalty of perjury, that they have not been convicted of reckless driving, drunk driving, or hit-and-run in the last 5 years (CVC §12804.9(j)).
Who Is Liable After a Passenger Van Accident?
The drivers of passenger vans may have their own personal car insurance policies. However, many companies don’t cover their policyholders when they work from behind the wheel. The driver’s policy may also have very low limits on how much they’ll provide for medical care.
The companies that own and operate the vans should have much stronger insurance coverage to help compensate injured passengers and those injured in other vehicles. Companies that make their living by transporting people will need livery insurance to covers transportation businesses.
Businesses like hotels, car dealerships, and nursing homes may not have to have livery insurance, but they’ll still have liability insurance for their drivers unless their shuttles are operated by a contracted service.
The organizers of a trip or a tour group could also have been negligent and responsible for the well-being of recovering victims. They may also face liability if it’s proven they hired a dangerous driver without a proper background check.
For shuttles used for public transportation, a city may be liable for injuries that result from a passenger van driver’s mistake. It’s important that victims know that filing a claim against a government entity can be much more complex.
These cases can require notifying the city of your intent to file a claim and will also have much more restrictive deadlines. It’s important to have a California Truck Accident Lawyer working to keep you up-to-date on every requirement and deadline. This is key to preventing a governmental agency from getting away with giving you zero support as you suffer through a long and expensive recovery.
What Can I Earn Compensation for After a California Van Accident?
Your personal injury lawyer will be working up a complete list of every hardship you’ve encountered since the accident. This list will also include every damage you may endure in the years to come.
These are just a few of the factors that can earn you and your family compensation after an accident:
- Hospital Bills and any Medical Care Required in the Future.
- Physical Therapy.
- Permanent Disability/Disfigurement Benefits.
- The Pain and Suffering You’ve Been Forced to Cope With.
- Travel Costs for Doctor’s Appointments and Trips to See Specialists.
- Lost Income from the Hours of Work You’ve Missed.
Contact a California Passenger Van Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member come to harm in an accident caused by a truck driver’s mistake please consult with a California Van Accident Attorney as soon as possible. There are benefits available to you and your family that insurance companies won’t be informing you of.
Attorney Martin Gasparian offers a free and confidential case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian works hard to make sure clients are allowed to rebuild their lives without worrying over hospital bills and lost paychecks.
A free case evaluation is also available to families who have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. It’s critical that family members understand the benefits available to them after a tragedy.