RVs are common vehicles used by individuals and families to travel. These motorhomes are essentially a moving home where individuals can stay for extended periods of time while driving throughout the country and beyond. According to recent research, an estimated 40 million people travel in an RV each year, and more than nine million individuals and families own an RV, camper van, or motorhome. And, nearly half a million people use an RV as their primary home.
While RVs are certainly an exciting way to travel, their large size makes them an increased risk on the road in comparison to more traditional vehicles like cars and SUVs. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an estimated 75,000 individuals are hospitalized on an annual basis as a result of an RV collision. Additionally, data has shown that around 26 people are killed in RV accidents each year in the United States.
Classes Of Motorized Vehicles
An RV is classified as a motorized vehicle that features a living area that’s designed for long-term accommodation. For example, an RV may have a bedroom with a bed, a bathroom, a stove, and a kitchen. These types of vehicles have a built-in engine which eliminates the need to attach the RV to a towing vehicle.
There are three primary categories of motorized RVs. These categories include:
- Class A Recreational Vehicles: This type of RV includes motorhomes and motorhomes, which are among the most luxurious RVs available on the market. They are between 26 and 45 feet in length and can typically tow another car behind them. In this type of motorhome, only seat belts for front-seat passengers are required. Additionally, it has been found that Class A RVs are more likely to experience serious damage in a collision in which the motorhome is traveling as little as 20 mph.
- Class B Recreational Vehicles: This class of vehicles consists of camper vans and touring coaches that are smaller than their motorized counterparts, ranging from 17 to 23 feet in length. These vehicles are much easier to drive and handle compared to Class A vehicles and feature more efficient fuel economy.
- Class C Recreational Vehicles: Class C motorhomes and RVs are between 20 and 30 feet in length. They typically have a sleeping area, small kitchen, and bathroom. However, unlike Class A and B motorhomes, Class C recreational vehicles typically can’t tow other vehicles.
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Licensing For RVs
Owning and operating an RV require a special license in some states. Typically, RVs that weigh less than 26,000 pounds or towed vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds do not require a special license. However, some states do require operators to have a non-commercial driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle depending on its length and weight. Additionally, some states require drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive larger trailers and RVs.
Additionally, most states require that seat belts are used for front seats as well as that child safety seat requirements are adhered to. Not adhering to these laws can result in fines and loss of licensure.
Common Causes Of RV Accidents
Driving an RV is much different than driving a standard-sized vehicle and requires a certain level of skill and experience. Because RVs are much bigger than traditional vehicles, accidents can happen, and when they do, they can be dangerous and even deadly. A few of the leading causes of RV crashes include:
- Uneven or overly-loaded RVs: When an RV is overloaded or the load is uneven, this puts added stress on the vehicle’s brakes, transmission, engine, and tires, which can result in an increased chance of an accident.
- High winds: Because of an RV’s size and weight, high winds can make it more susceptible to tipping over. High winds are especially dangerous when the RV is traveling at a high rate of speed.
- Inexperienced RV operators: Driving an RV is much more difficult than driving a typical motor vehicle such as a sedan or SUV. Inexperienced drivers are more susceptible to accidents, as they can easily lose control of the RV. Many states don’t require RV driving training, making inexperienced RV drivers all too common.
- Blind spots: Because of the size of an RV, there is ample room for blind spots.
- Miscalculated turns and stops: Stopping and turning is much different in an RV compared to smaller vehicles. A miscalculated stop or turn can result in a collision with another vehicle or with an object on the road.
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Common Injuries Incurred In An Accident With An RV
As with any auto accident, the nature of injuries incurred in a collision with an RV can vary greatly depending on the speed at which the collision occurred and the nature of the crash. Examples of common types of serious injuries that motorists can suffer as a result of an accident involving an RV include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spine and spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises, lacerations, and cuts
- Strains and sprains
- Burn injuries
These injuries can result in lifelong challenges and changes for the victim that make it difficult to resume everyday life following the accident.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured In An Accident Caused By An RV Driver
There are a number of important steps accident victims should take following an accident caused by an RV driver. The first step is to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t believe you’ve been injured. Many injuries aren’t realized until after the accident due to the adrenaline released during the crash. This adrenaline can numb the pain and result in you not realizing you’ve been injured. Seeking medical attention ensures that any injuries are identified and that you get the treatment you need to begin your path to recovery.
The next step to take is to call the police. The police will arrive at the scene and investigate the crash to determine who was at fault for the collision. They will also provide you with a police report, which is important documentation when seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
You should also obtain any contact information possible for any witnesses of the accident. Getting their information while on the scene is much easier than trying to track them down later. Witnesses are also an important component of your ability to get compensation.
Additionally, try to take photos or videos of the scene of the accident, the vehicles involved, and the injuries that you and/or your passengers incurred during the accident. You should also keep track of all of the medical expenses and medical documentation that resulted from the accident.You’ll also want to contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in RV accident lawsuits, such as those at the law firm of Florin|Roebig.
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Contact Florin|Roebig RV Accident Lawyers
Navigating the ins and outs of insurance companies, claims, and lawsuits can be challenging and overwhelming, especially following a traumatic experience like an auto accident. Our dedicated RV accident attorneys will work with you every step of the way to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today for a 100% confidential and free consultation at (800) 226-6581.