Virginia farming equipment car accident lawyers
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Although other sectors of our economy are growing, agriculture is still Virginia’s largest private industry -- with an economic impact of more than $83 billion per year. Farming also employs more 380,000 people in the Commonwealth.
As a result, in both suburban and rural parts of Virginia, more drivers are coming into contact with farm equipment, such as tractors, rakes, combines, planters, and sprayers. Tragically, more than 15,000 crashes involving farm equipment and automobiles happen every year in the United States, according to the National Safety Council.
Because tractors are so heavy, they can do a lot of damage in a collision with a passenger car. Tractor drivers are also at greater risk due to a lack of safety equipment. It can also be difficult to determine fault in this type of accident. And liability may be shared between two, or among several drivers.
If you were harmed in a crash involving a farm vehicle, you want the experienced personal injury lawyers at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys by your side. We’ll investigate the accident and file claims against anyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries.
Call (804) 413-6777 to schedule a FREE consultation today.
How do farm equipment crashes happen?
In Virginia, tractors have the right to travel along all roads and state highways within 50 road miles of home. Many farmers own or lease land that’s not adjacent to their property, so they may be traveling on the road for a considerable distance to reach their crops.
Tractors go a lot slower than regular vehicles, and this can frustrate drivers who get stuck behind them. Farm vehicles also take up a lot of room on the road, and they’re difficult to pass, especially on narrow country roads. This often leads restless drivers to make illegal or hasty maneuvers.
The combination of slow-moving farm vehicles, narrow roads, and faster moving cars can be a recipe for a catastrophic collision with frustrated or inattentive drivers trying to pass a tractor or other farm vehicle.
Even if the tractor driver is following all traffic safety laws, the tractor driver is particularly vulnerable to being struck in a rear-end collision by a speeding or distracted automobile driver. Tractors and similar farm vehicles have far less safety equipment, such as front and side air bags, so crashes caused by drivers in fast-moving cars or trucks often result in severe injuries, paralysis, and in some cases, death for the person driving the farm equipment.
Farmers in slow-traveling vehicles should make every effort to yield when someone is behind them, but there’s no excuse for other drivers crossing a double line or making a blind pass when they can’t see beyond the tractor, or when a bend is in the road up ahead.
Frequent causes of farming-equipment-involved crashes include:
- Distracted driving
- Unsafe passing
- Failure to yield
- Mechanical failure
- Failure to check blind spots
- Tractors carrying wide loads
- Improperly parked farm vehicles
- Tractors driving in the middle of the road
Today’s tractors are more dangerous
Today’s tractors are much more powerful than older models. That means they can go faster, even when they’re carrying a full load. All that mass and momentum can have catastrophic results for when a farm vehicle collides with a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle, pickup truck, or automobile.
Like other types of slow-moving vehicles, all tractors must have at least one clearly displayed SMV sign at the rear of the vehicle, which is a reflective orange triangle sign bordered in red. Many farm vehicle operators also use flashing amber lights to increase visibility.
Tractors that drive on the road don’t have to be registered by the state, which means they don’t have to be tested. However, no matter who’s driving, the farm vehicle’s owner can be held liable for any accidents.
Here are important facts to know about farm vehicles. Tractors driving on Virginia roads:
- Are not allowed on interstates
- Must be used for the business of farming, or traveling from one field to another
- Must be titled by the DMV
- Must be insured
- Cannot be used for errands or to transport passengers
- Cannot be used to transport oversized loads
- Cannot be parked overnight in a residential area, or where prohibited by local law
How your personal injury attorney can help
When it comes to liability for motor vehicle accidents, Virginia is an at-fault state. With the Commonwealth’s contributory negligence laws, more than one person may be assigned fault for an accident.
The insurance claims adjuster who is assigned the case will determine who’s at fault. For example, if an intoxicated driver swerves into a farm vehicle that happens to be speeding, and the second vehicle crashes into your car, drivers of both vehicles may be assigned a percent of the fault. If the drunk driver was assigned 65% fault for the accident, then he would have to pay for 65% percent of the damages.
In roadway accidents involving farm vehicles, it’s common for more than one driver to be found at-fault. Your attorney will examine the police report, interview witnesses, and review surveillance camera video to determine whose negligent actions were responsible for your injuries. Then we will file a claim to collect damages against anyone who contributed to the accident.
Damages in a roadside farming-equipment-involved accident may include:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced earning potential
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Home alterations for wheelchair access
- In-home care
- Wrongful death
Were you harmed by someone else’s careless behavior?
Insurance companies typically don’t play fair. They make their profits by paying out as little in as possible.
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we’re on a mission to help our friends and neighbors in Virginia. If the insurance company isn’t willing to make you a reasonable offer, we’re always ready to take them to court.
Call (804) 413-6777 to learn more today. Thanks to our Zero Fee Guarantee, we don't get paid until you do. Call us today to find out your best options.
- Yes, tractors and farming vehicles have the right away in Virginia. How can you stay safe on the road with them?
- Safe driving tips for Virginia’s rural roads
Call our Eastern Virginia office today for a free consultation
at (804) 413-6777 or toll free (855) 781-6777.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.