Vans are popular vehicles due to their capacity to transport many passengers or large items. People purchase vans for many reasons—for businesses to haul supplies to job sites, for organizations to transport people on trips, or even for families to have plenty of space in their vehicles. No matter how people use them, vans come with the inherent risk of serious injuries.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a van accident, you are likely dealing with severe and possibly life-changing injuries. It is important that you carefully review the factors in your van accident claim with an experienced attorney to determine your legal rights. The manufacturing of these vans and the high incidence of unqualified van drivers can make van accident claims highly technical. You need an attorney who is ready to take your case head-on and stand up for your rights to financial recovery as a van accident victim.
For 20 years, the group of experienced personal injury attorneys and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, has represented the rights of van accident victims. We have the resources and commitment to help injured crash victims and are ready to fight for your rights. If you’re in a van accident, please do not wait to contact our office for an evaluation of your case. Our intake department is available for your free consultation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (800) 898-4877, or you may contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
Van Accident Statistics
The federal government does not research van accidents as often as accidents involving large commercial trucks or buses. The available statistics demonstrate that these vehicles commonly cause serious or even fatal injuries, especially in rollover accidents.
Vans have inherently high centers of gravity, which creates the serious risk that they will roll over in crashes or under other circumstances. Rollovers can easily occur when a driver goes too fast around a curb, if a curb or another hazard trips the van, or if the driver swerves quickly. These rollovers can prove particularly dangerous since many occupants of vans do not wear their seatbelts.
Consider the following statistics, gathered during the course of nine years:
- 1,090 occupants of 15-passenger vans died in crashes
- 83 percent of people who died when a van rolled over did not wear seatbelts
- More van accidents occurred during the summer, when groups were more likely to take trips
Despite the rollover risks presented by large vans, more than 560,000 15-passenger vans are registered in the United States. The dangers presented by these vehicles have led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to prohibit schools or daycares from buying or leasing standard large vans for regular transportation of students. However, many groups, businesses, and families continue to use large vans that carry the risk of causing devastating accidents.
Common Uses for Vans
Large vans, including 15-passenger vans, have many uses—and risks—such as:
- Transporting groups – Many organizations use 15-passenger vans to transport large groups of people at once, including:
- Churches and youth groups
- Sports teams for transportation to away games and tournaments
- Airports for transportation to long-term parking lots
- Senior living facilities for day trips
- Colleges for sports teams and off-campus trips
- Summer camps for hiking or camping excursions
Renting or purchasing a van is often more cost-effective than regularly buying bus or plane tickets or renting charter buses.
Often, these vans not only carry numerous people, but also their luggage and equipment. Excited passengers are often unrestrained and may even move around or become loud or rowdy while riding in a van. These can all cause distractions for a driver and greater risks of injury if the van does crash.
Transporting equipment for businesses – Some vans are not used to carry passengers at all. Instead, businesses use them to haul materials and supplies. Painters, electricians, contractors, and other such businesses may load vans with heavy equipment on a daily basis. This equipment is often not properly secured in the back of the van and can easily shift around or fly through the van when a driver takes a turn or suddenly stops.
Such shifts can throw the entire van off balance and the driver may lose control. This can result in a rollover, a collision with another vehicle, or both. Unsecured equipment may spill out of the van in a crash, which can cause chain-reaction crashes. Just because the van does not have passengers does not mean that others will not suffer injuries in a van accident.
Families – Some people do not have vans because they run companies or organizations, but simply because they have large families or take many trips. Families can purchase vans like anyone else, and these vehicles can conveniently transport numerous family members, as well as luggage, camping equipment, sporting equipment, and more.
People driving their families in vans can get in accidents, however, and injuries can occur to the van’s passengers and motorists in other vehicles.
Who drove and owned the van are both important questions in any van accident claim. Our attorneys know how to handle these cases whether the van was used by a company, a not-for-profit, or a private owner family.
Causes of Van Accidents
Just as large vans have many uses, many factors can contribute to van accidents. Some of the most common causes include:
- Untrained drivers – Many people who operate large vans have little to no training on how to drive these large vehicles. They may not realize the particular requirements of vans, or the risks of driving too fast on curves or making other maneuvers that could lead to rollovers. Too many groups put many lives in the hands of untrained drivers, which can cause widespread injuries.
- Distracted driving – With a crowded van, it is all too easy for the driver to be distracted. Loud passengers may talk or sing and divert the driver’s attention from the road on a regular basis. This is in addition to all of the traditional driver distractions, such as eating on the road (which is common on longer trips), using smartphones, or changing the radio station.
- Fatigued driving – Often, van drivers are on the road for long periods of time, transporting people to other towns for games or trips. Drivers may overestimate their abilities to drive long distances without significant rest breaks. Van drivers can often become overly fatigued, which can decrease their focus or even cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.
- Impaired driving – Like any other driver, van drivers may operate a van after consuming too many drinks or taking mind-altering drugs. This may commonly occur if a social group is using a van to take a vacation, winery tour, or another outing that may involve drinking. Drivers may take the risk of trying to drive after a couple of drinks, leading to severe crashes.
- Violating traffic laws – Van drivers can break the law like any other drivers. They may feel tempted to speed, follow other vehicles too closely, make dangerous lane changes, fail to signal, run traffic signals, and more. Violation of any traffic law puts others in danger.
- Van defects – Van manufacturers sometimes sell vans with defective parts that can malfunction while the van is in motion. If a van brakes suddenly fail or a defective tire blows, an unskilled driver will often end up in a crash, causing injuries to van passengers and anyone else with whom the van collides.
- Poor maintenance – Many people or companies own vans and fail to take proper care of them. Vans require regular inspection, maintenance, and repair—especially if they are about to transport groups of people. Failure to inspect a van can lead to mechanical malfunctions and serious crashes.
- Overloading – Vans have weight limits like any other vehicle. In addition, vans only have a certain number of seatbelts for passengers. The excess weight of an overloaded van can cause problems with axles or brakes. In addition, when a group loads a van with more passengers than seatbelts, passengers face the unnecessary risk of injury.
Knowing the cause of a van accident is essential to bringing a successful insurance or legal claim. Our firm has the resources to investigate what—and who—caused a van accident so that you can seek compensation for your losses.
Holding Parties Liable for Van Accident Injuries
Van accident victims can incur overwhelming losses due to their injuries. Such losses can include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical costs
- Past and future lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injuries and disabilities
An experienced attorney can help you determine when you can seek compensation to lessen the effects of these financially, physically, and emotionally devastating losses.
To seek the compensation you need, you must identify whom you can hold liable in your situation. Liable parties will depend on whose negligence led to the crash. Often, more than one liable party may contribute to an accident. Commonly responsible parties include:
- Van drivers – Many accidents are caused by careless errors or decisions on the part of the van driver.
- Third-party drivers- Other drivers can also make negligent mistakes that lead to a collision with a van, a rollover van accident, or running a van off the road.
- Van company – Injured victims can hold a company or organization that employees the van driver strictly liable for the negligence of its employee.
- Van manufacturer – When the negligent design or assembly of a van or its parts causes an accident, injured victims can hold the manufacturer liable.
The specifics of a van accident claim can vary depending on whether an individual, a company, or both are the subject of your claim. The team of attorneys and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, know how to hold many parties accountable—from a single person to a large corporation. Do not hesitate to call us so we can begin evaluating who all may be held liable for your losses.
Insurance Claims After a Van Accident
Once we identify all possible liable parties, often the first step is to file insurance claims with the proper insurance companies. Individual drivers often have lower-value insurance policies, while companies may have more extensive liability coverage. In any event, you can expect that any insurance company will try to limit how much you can recover whenever possible.
Both consumer and commercial insurance companies regularly try to take advantage of injured accident victims by convincing them to accept minimal offers that do not begin to cover their losses. We have spoken with many people who were shocked to receive such low offers from insurance companies.
Never agree to any settlement with an insurance company before first consulting a highly experienced van accident attorney.
It is always wise to have an attorney handle your claim from the very beginning, so the insurance company will know you mean business. However, we can often help even if you have already filed a claim, so do not wait to call our office today.
At the office of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, our team of lawyers and legal professionals play hardball with insurance companies. We know their tactics and how to combat them to fight for the settlement offer you truly deserve. We are aggressive negotiators and are not afraid to file a lawsuit-if needed- in order to increase your settlement offer to what you rightfully deserve.
Contact a Skilled Van Accident Lawyer to Learn About Your Rights
Van accidents can result in traumatizing, life-altering injuries. You have too much at stake to risk not hiring the right attorney to handle your case. To best protect your rights, call the law offices of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, or a free consultation.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, consists of nationally recognized van accident lawyers and legal professionals. We have protected the rights of injured victims of van accidents for more than 20 years.
If a van accident injured you, call our office right now to schedule a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877, or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
See what past clients have to say:
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“Mr. Guss was wonderful. He fought hard against the insurance company to get us what we deserved. I went from owing almost $5000 in medical bills to actually getting money in my pocket. Absolutely Amazing!!!!! A big thank you from me and my family!!!”