15-passenger vans are extremely convenient for transporting large groups of people from place to place. These vans are often used as shuttles for airports and hotels, as well as churches, leading to people popularly calling them “church vans.” However, passengers rarely realize that these vans are actually quite dangerous and have a high risk of rollover and serious accidents.
If you or a loved one was injured in a 15-passenger van accident in Florida, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676. Our Florida lawyer for 15-passenger van and church van accidents may be able to take your case and fight to get you the compensation you need for serious injuries. Call us today to schedule a free legal consultation and learn more about filing your claim.
Causes of 15-Passenger Van Accidents
A 15-passenger van is typically built on the vehicle frame of a pickup truck. Unlike the bed of a pickup truck where items are usually laid flat and low, 15-passenger vans have seats attached above the wheel-base. Once 15 people (plus the driver) enter the vehicle, this can put over a ton of weight into the vehicle, moving the center of mass much higher off the floor. This creates a much higher risk that the vehicle will roll over or fall onto its side, especially during tight turns or side-impact car crashes.
In addition to this risk, the wheels on 15-passenger vans often require special attention. On a passenger van, the wheels usually need to be inflated to different pressures, with the rear wheels potentially requiring more pressure. Many drivers and owners are unaware of this and fail to read the manufacturer’s specifications. This could lead to reduced handling ability behind the wheel, potentially causing the driver to lose control during tight turns, emergency maneuvers, and other dangerous scenarios on the road.
One of the benefits to operators of 15-passenger vans is that these vehicles typically do not need additional licensing. Driving a 15-passenger van as part of a business might require a commercial driver’s license, but otherwise, drivers of 15-passenger vans typically have no additional licenses or training in driving professionally. This means that these drivers may not be prepared for driving such a heavy vehicle or driving with the distraction of 15 passengers behind them. In emergency scenarios on the road, it is always better to have an experienced, licensed commercial driver as opposed to an amateur.
Because additional certification is not necessary, organizations that use 15-passenger vans – such as churches and community organizations – may have volunteers drive these vehicles. This means that these peoples’ driving records might not be vetted properly, and the organizations operating these vehicles may be responsible for putting negligent drivers behind the wheel. This negligent hiring or retention can be grounds for a lawsuit against the church or other organization for a dangerous accident caused by a bad driver.
Financial Compensation for 15-Passenger Van Crashes
Victims injured in a 15-passenger van accident could include passengers in the van or drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others outside of the van. If the driver of the 15-passenger van caused the auto accident, that driver and their employer may be responsible for the crash. In a court of law, these parties can be held financially liable, meaning that they can be ordered to pay any and all damages resulting from the crash, including medical expenses for injuries, lost wages caused by severe injuries or disabilities, and damages for pain and suffering. In the event that these crashes are fatal, the van driver and the company that hired them might be made to pay additional damages for wrongful death.
In cases involving damages for medical expenses, the victim can claim the cost of any medical care related to their injuries. This can include the cost of emergency hospital treatment, such as surgeries, medical imaging, and overnight stays in the ICU. Additional care afterward can also be covered, such as follow-up appointments with a doctor, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Even mental health treatment for PTSD or other effects of the crash can be paid for.
Damages for lost wages can be claimed if the injuries caused you to lose money from work. If the crash caused you a permanent injury or disability, you may have to take a lower-paying job or stop working because of the injury. The wages you missed during your recovery period, as well as any damages for lost earning capacity, can be claimed as damages.
Pain and suffering damages cannot be proved with medical bills and lost wages like these other damages, but you can still claim direct compensation for the physical pain and mental effects of the injury. If your injury interrupted your life, caused you to feel hopeless, or made you miss out on activities you used to enjoy, this can help prove pain and suffering damages to a jury.
Lastly, if your loved one was killed in an accident involving a 15-passenger van, you may face additional costs and expenses. Damages for funeral costs, burial expenses, lost future wages, lost inheritances, lost household services, and lost companionship can all be claimed as damages in court for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Call Our Florida Church Van and 15-Passenger Van Accident Lawyer
15-passenger vans can be far more dangerous than one might expect. Our Florida lawyer for church and 15-passenger van accidents fights to get compensation for victims of crashes involving these vehicles. Our lawyer can help you understand what your case might be worth and help you maximize damages instead of settling for an insurance claim or accepting a settlement that is too low to cover your needs. For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked. Our phone number is (305) 694-2676.