How is a commercial vehicle accident different?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

As readers of this blog know, we often focus on vehicle accidents of various types. However, what many of our readers may not know is that there are differences between commercial vehicles accidents and traditional vehicle accidents. Indeed, commercial vehicle accidents in Montana pose distinct challenges compared to non-commercial vehicle accidents.

Size and weight

Commercial vehicles, like semi-trucks and buses, outweigh typical cars by a significant margin. In Montana, these trucks can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making them much larger and heavier. This size can result in potentially more severe accidents.

Regulations and liability

Commercial vehicles are governed by strict federal and state regulations concerning licensing, safety standards and liability. Conversely, non-commercial vehicles primarily need to adhere to state laws. This can mean that subsequent lawsuits are much more complicated and costly when commercial vehicles are involved, in addition to needing to involve much more parties than just the driver and one insurance company. There may be multiple business entities and insurance companies.

Potential causes

While truck drivers face similar risks and distractions as regular drivers, they also contend with unique challenges such as long shifts and fatigue, which significantly increase the risk of accidents. They also must comply with legal requirements that if they fail to adhere to may bring about their own legal liabilities.

Severity of injuries

The injuries sustained in commercial vehicle accidents tend to be more severe due to the vehicles’ immense size, weight, and velocity. Even slow speed impacts can cause catastrophic injuries.

Evidence collection

Unlike standard passenger vehicle accidents, commercial vehicle accidents involve distinct types of evidence collection. Commercial vehicles are mandated to maintain detailed driving logs and often have black boxes that record various data.


Commercial vehicle accidents in Montana require a nuanced understanding of their complexities. From the size and weight disparities to regulatory frameworks and evidence collection, each aspect demands careful consideration. By recognizing these differences, individuals can better navigate the aftermath of such accidents and work towards enhancing road safety for all.


FindLaw Network