A passenger van is a great way for camps, churches, youth groups, teams, and many other groups of people to get to and from events without needing to worry about using multiple cars, finding parking for everyone, and more. However, these 15-passenger vans typically do not fall under the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration’s regulations for either buses OR passenger vehicles, meaning that they are able to bypass many of the standard safety regulations present for both passenger buses and passenger vehicles, which can lead to additional danger in a crash. 

These vans have limited safety features, and passengers often ride in them without using seatbelts. When combined with the fact that these vehicles are cumbersome to operate—especially at full capacity—, have a propensity to roll, and can be difficult to maintain control at high speeds, there is no wonder that riding in a passenger van is an extremely dangerous decision. Schools are no longer allowed to purchase these vehicles, as mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Contact Injury Trial Lawyers for a Free Initial Consultation Today

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident while riding in a passenger van, contact us as soon as possible to learn about how we can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve, and will be necessary as you try to move forward from these injuries with the financial support necessary to focus on a full recovery. The team at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC has years of experience fighting on behalf of our clients with insurance companies, private individuals, businesses, and government agencies in order to provide the compensation that they deserve.

Contact us as soon as possible for a free initial consultation, where we can discuss the specifics of the passenger van accident, the injuries that you have suffered, the steps that you have already taken, and more. In addition, we will be able to explain to you how our process works, the type of help that we can provide you with, and examples of past cases that we have represented that are similar to your own. You do not have to go through this difficult process alone.

The Dangers of Passenger Vans

Passenger vans are good for carrying cargo or a large number of people, but they are not designed with the specific purpose of keeping people safe in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, though, the FMCSA is unable to regulate these vehicles like they would a bus, meaning that drivers are not always held to the same standards as the CDL drivers who operate buses and other commercial vehicles. There are limited situations where the driver is held to these safety standards, and otherwise anyone is able to operate these dangerous vehicles, even at full capacity.

According to the FMCSA website: “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has safety regulatory oversight of commercial van operations and for-hire operators of small passenger-carrying vehicles that engage in interstate commerce.  Motor carriers are subject to regulatory oversight when their vehicles are used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers if the vehicle is designed or used to transport 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.” Essentially, the FMCSA is only able to regulate these vehicles if they are used for hire, and all other uses that are not specifically compensated have no more oversight than a compact car. This means that a youth group is violating no laws by allowing an individual with no special training to drive 14 children on a field trip.

Seeking Compensation After a Passenger Van Accident

After an accident, one of the main issues that must be resolved is that of compensation: what damages did the victim suffer, and how much is the responsible party (or their insurance company) liable for? At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, we have a long history of investigating compensatory damages and building a strong case, either for a settlement or to seek through a trial. Typically, we will attempt to negotiate directly with the insurance company in order to avoid a time-consuming and costly trial; however, unlike many other personal injury attorneys who do not have trial experience, our team is ready to take your case to a judge and jury in the California courts if necessary.

Compensatory damages are divided into two distinct, equally-important areas: economic, and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that have measurable dollar values associated with them, such as medical bills, lost wages, decreased earning capacity, and anything else that we can connect to your accident that comes with a receipt, invoice, tax statement, or bill. Non-economic damages are more complex, because they seek financial compensation for damages that do not have dollar values associated with them. Non-economic damages include things lie your pain and suffering, as well as any other emotional impacts like trauma, fear, and anxiety, as well as other physical and psychological impacts that you must endure following this horrific accident.

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