Truck Accidents are some of the most catastrophic and deadly type of motor vehicle accidents.  Semi-trucks and large 18-wheeler’s cause severe injuries which often result in permanent damage to their victims or even death.  Due in part to their potential to cause severe injuries, semi-trucks are governed by a complex set of State and Federal laws.  These laws govern how semi-trucks can operate while also regulating many aspects of the trucking business.

When you have been injured by a truck you need an attorney that not only understands the trucking industry, their rules and regulations, but also their corporate structure and hierarchy of insurance coverage.  The severe damages caused by trucks often times exhausts insurance policies and knowing how these companies operate can bring multiple polices into play to help cover the damages.   These issues, among many more, make it paramount that those injured in a truck accident seek out a Michigan attorney to make sure that maximum compensation can be delivered.

We have represented truck accident victims for over 30 years with skill and care.  We represent truck accident victims throughout the entire state of Michigan and can come to you.  We not only investigate your claim to the highest degree, but also make sure that you don’t pay any legal fees or expenses unless we win or settle your case.

Not only do we maximize your compensation for pain and suffering, but we will also work to get you the Michigan No-Fault benefits you deserve.

Is There a Difference Between A Truck Accident and a Car Accident?

On first impression, truck accidents and car accidents seem to be similar.  However, there are some significant differences that are important.  Truck Accidents involve a much higher level of specialty than do regular car accidents.  Trucks are governed by many complex federal regulations, have different types of insurance, and potentially have many more at-fault parties due to their corporate structure.

These differences matter a lot when it comes to investigating and proving your truck accident case.  Employers must keep all kinds of records on their employees including past alcohol use and prevention records.  Trucking companies are also required to track the hours that drivers are operate their trucks in logbook because drivers have time limitations.  A truck driver can only drive for a total of 11 hours during a base 14-hour period.  Moreover, at the end of the 14-hour period truck drivers can not start driving again for another 8 hours.  This is to help fight fatigue which is a major cause of truck accidents.

Do I Need To Hire A Truck Accident Lawyer?

Truck accidents can be extremely complicated.   There are passengers, drivers, the truck owner, the truck company owner, the truck manufacturer, and possible distributors and other entities.  These numerous entities can make figuring out who is at fault difficult.  Moreover, there are many federal and state laws that regulate trucking.  Determining what law or regulation was broken can also be a daunting task.

Because of the complex nature of truck accidents, hiring a skilled truck accident lawyer is almost always necessary.  However, another reason that you want an attorney on your side is because insurance companies are notorious for taking advantage of unrepresented victims.  They will lie, conceal information from you, and give you low ball offers all so that they can persuade you to take pennies on the dollar.  A lawyer in your corner will be your best friend and make sure that you do not take advantage of you and that you get the settlement you deserve.

Michigan Truck Accident Statistics

The Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting System keeps very detailed data and information about truck accidents across the state of Michigan.  The latest information is from 2018 and the 2019 data will be available very soon.  According to the TCRS, there were a total of 14,803 truck crashes in Michigan during the 2018 year.  2,509 of these crashes resulted in injury, 12,192 resulted in property damage, and 102 resulted in a fatality.  3,972 occurred on an Interstate, 6,371 occurred on a local street, 2,781 occurred on a State Route, 1,659 occured on a US Route, and the remaining 20 were unknown.

As stated above, 2,509 of these truck accidents resulted in injuries.  Here is the breakdown of the people who were hurt.  2,518 injured people were drivers, 958 injured people were passengers, 36 injured people were pedestrians, 11 injured people were bicyclists, and 20 injured people were motorcyclists.

Here is a chart displaying the total number of truck accidents, the number of truck accidents involving an injury, and the number of truck accidents involving property damage from 2010-2018:

Interstate Truck Accidents In Michigan

Driving Michigan’s busy interstates can put you at risk for an interstate truck accident. The trucking industry is a billion-dollar business in the United States. Therefore, each day you see thousands of these large vehicles using our interstates throughout Michigan, including I-69, I-75, I-96, I-94, and I-496.

Unfortunately, commercial vehicles such as 18-wheelers, big rigs, tractor trailers, and semi-trucks can cause serious truck accidents on Michigan interstates that result in traumatic injuries and wrongful deaths requiring the assistance of a Michigan trucking accident lawyer. Consider these statistics about large truck accidents:

  • 438,000 large trucks accidents occurred during 2014
  • 3,903 people were killed in large truck accidents during 2014
  • 111,000 people were injured in large truck accidents during 2014
  • 79% of large truck accidents occurred on weekdays
  • The drivers of large trucks who were involved in fatal crashes had the highest percentage of previous accidents compared to drivers of other vehicles.
  • 83 percent of the people killed in large truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants (i.e. bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.)
  • 77 percent of people injured in large truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants (i.e. bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.)

Interstate Truck Accidents Cause Life-Changing Injuries

Semi-truck accidents result in permanent, life-altering injuries. For the victim, his or her quality of life may never be the same. For the families who lose loved ones in truck accidents, nothing we can do will ever compensate them for their loss. However, the law does provide a way to hold the parties responsible for the truck crash accountable.

Money will never undo the damage of an interstate truck accident, but it can provide the means to rebuild your life. A monetary judgment also serves as a punishment and a warning for negligent and reckless behavior.

A Michigan interstate truck accident is unlike any other type of traffic accident. Insurance companies and trucking companies aggressively defend claims to avoid paying substantial amounts to the victims and their families. Even before your injuries are fully known, the insurance adjusters and attorneys begin to build a case against you. You need a Lansing truck accident law firm on your side who understands what is involved in handling a complex truck accident case. We are that law firm!

What Kind of Recovery Can I Get After A Truck Accident?

The types of recovery or compensation that can be received after a Semi-Accident mirror the types of recovery that you can obtain after any Michigan auto-mobile accident.

No-Fault Benefits – First Party Claim

Because Michigan is a No-fault State you own insurance company will pay for your no-fault benefits which include, 85% of your lost wages for the first three years, payment of medical bills, attendant care, replacement services, and medical mileage.

Beware that the new No-Fault law has not set caps on certain PIP benefits. If one of these polices is in priority, many of the previous PIP benefits could be changed.

Pain and Suffering – Third-Party Claim

Pain and suffering is available if you are hurt badly in a Michigan Truck Accident. we call these types of lawsuits a third-party claim because you are suing the at-fault party not your own insurance company.  Hence the “third party” designation.  In Michigan to receive pain and suffering and wage loss beyond 3 years you must have suffered a serious impairment of an important body function.  Types of pain and suffering include that can lead to a serious impairment of an important body function are:

  • Physical Pain and Suffering from any type of physical injury
  • Inability to do activities that you could previously perform
  • Depression, Anxiety
  • Mental Suffering
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Moreover, under the new no-fault law, negligence third party cases can now include medical expenses, lost wages, and other bills not covered in the first party claim.  Because of complicated new no-fault law, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney that can help you with your truck accident case.

Wrongful Death

A wrongful death action is a lot like a pain and suffering third party claim. However, the damages are different.  You don’t sue for pain and suffering, but for conscious pain and suffering, loss of companionship and society, and loss of support.

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?

This can be a difficult question because many times, right after the accident, due to the severe injuries there is not something that can be done right away.  The police come, the emergency personnel come, and everyone does their job to make sure the health and well being of all involved are taken care of.   However, in a situation where you are conscious and not debilitated there are some things that can be done:

  • Call the police. They will usually ask you a series of questions about the location of the accident, people involved, and if you are ok.  They will usually dispatch other police and emergency personnel while you are on the phone to make sure some one gets to you right away.
  • If possible do not stay in traffic. You do not want to get injured further or cause more accidents.  If you can get off the road safely do so.
  • Figure out if you are hurt. If you are hurt, it is a good idea to say so that way you can tell the police or emergency workers and the can get you help.  Also, it helps document what your injuries so that insurance companies or defense attorneys cannot say you made up your injuries later.
  • Take pictures / videos. Taking pictures has never been easier.  We all have smart phones, and this is a good thing when it comes to documenting an accident scene.  Take photos of the position of the cars and trucks after impact.  Take photos of the vehicle damage, injuries, skid marks.  You can even take photos of license’s plates and other identifying factor like the names on the Truck.
  • Write things done. After an accident, when you have had some time to calm down, write down as much as possible about the accident.  where you were going, how fast you were going, the location of the event, your injuries, how you felt, statements that others made to you after the accident, etc.  All this information will be important when making your claim.
  • Never leave the scene without law enforcement consent. If you are not in an ambulance do not leave the scene until law enforcement arrive and tell you that you can leave.
  • Call an attorney. If you have questions or if you have been hurt an attorney can help you gather evidence and start documenting for your claim.

Who Do I Sue After a Truck Accident?

The most common party to sue after a truck accident is the at fault truck driver and the trucking company that the driver was working for.  When a truck driver is negligent in his driving the employer is also responsible for that negligence as well.

A trucking company can also be responsible or liable for the accident when they break regulations like forging logbooks about the daily hours that drivers are driving.  It is a company’s job not only to professionally train drivers, but also make sure that they don’t spend to much time on the road.

It’s also possible that distributors, suppliers and other types of companies are responsible for the accident as well.

An easy list is:

  • The Truck Driver
  • The Employer of the Negligent Truck Driver.
  • The Truck Owner or Truck Company
  • The Leasing Company, not all companies own the trucks some lease them.
  • The Broker, they help find the trucking company to move their goods or loads.
  • Manufacturers of parts that were defective.
  • Other responsible parties.

It is important to contact an attorney shortly after the accident so that all responsible parties and be identified and evidence can begin to be gathered regarding their wrongdoing and negligence.

Where Do I Bring a Lawsuit After a Truck Accident?

If you decide to bring a truck accident lawsuit, Michigan has some specific rules for where in Michigan such a lawsuit should be brought.

  1. The county where the accident took place and where the defendant resides.
  2. The county where the accident took place and where the plaintiff resides.
  3. The county where the plaintiff and the defendant reside.
  4. The county where the accident occurred or in the county where the defendant resides.

What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

All drivers make mistakes at some point, however, due a semi-truck’s size and weight their mistakes end up seriously hurting and killing people.

In a lot of cases truckers have spent way too much time on the road and get drowsy or fall asleep.  When truckers are tired and drifting in and out of sleep, they start making mistakes, fail to break, don’t check their blind spots, fail to properly switch lanes, make wide turns, and make all manner of driving errors.  This has catastrophic results. Trucks are large and cannot be easily avoided if they come into your lane.  Moreover, if they fail to stop untold damage can occur if they impact other vehicles.

Truck drivers can also make mistakes by being distracted on their phones when driving.  Distracted driving when in a smaller vehicle is easily corrected by swerving or hitting the breaks late but still in time.  Trucks drivers do not have that luxury.  If they end up in the wrong spot quick maneuvers only make matters worse.  Consequently, distracted driving is big problem among truck drivers. An addition to distracted driving their substance abuse. alcohol, drugs, or other substances that affect thee cognition, reaction time, or decision making of truck drivers often lead to an accident.

Overweight trucks are another common problem that can frequently lead accidents.  The Additional weight causes balance and stability issues that make it difficult to break, stop and turn regularly and can lead to roll overs.

Speeding is another large cause of a truck accident.  Trucks take much longer to stop due to their size and weight. At 60 mph, a loaded semi-truck will need 30 feet to stop, which is longer than a 100-yard football field. As a result, when they speed, they often do not have the time to make a correction before creating a collision and injuring the victim motorist.

These and a myriad of other issues can all cause a truck accident.  These sometimes-small mistakes equal a lifetime of pain and suffering to those victims of these accidents.

Hazardous Actions Immediately Before a Truck Accident

The best way to prevent truck accidents from occurring in the future is to analyze what actions happened right before the accident took place.  By analyzing and looking at this data, drivers can see what to avoid and what actions are the most dangerous.  The #1 most dangerous action before a truck accident is “unable to stop”.

This makes sense because trucks are usually hauling a heavy payload in addition to just being a larger vehicle.  This puts more stress on the braking systems of these trucks and they fail more often than on other types of vehicles.  A truck that is unable to stop is going to cause lots of damages and injuries.

Here is a list of all the other hazardous actions before a truck accident according to The Michigan State Police.

  • Speed Too Fast
  • Speed To Slow
  • Failed To Yield
  • Disregard Traffic Control
  • Drove Wrong Way
  • Drove Left of Center
  • Improper Passing
  • Improper Lane Use
  • Improper Turn
  • Improper/ No Signal
  • Improper Braking
  • Unable To Stop
  • Reckless Driving
  • Careless Driving

What Are Common Injuries After A Truck Accident?

  • Brain injuries – traumatic brain injuries, concussions, closed head injuries.
  • Spinal Injuries – severed spinal cords, herniation, impingement syndrome, broken facet joints
  • Broken bones / Fractures – femurs, arms, ankles, neck, back, hip, etc
  • Torn ligaments – knees, elbows, shoulders
  • Burns – over face and body
  • Nerve damage – permanent deprivation of feeling, chronic pain, loss of use of limbs or digits
  • Scaring – severe scaring to the face and body
  • Death
  • Emotional pain and suffering – psychological issues, pain syndrome, post traumatic syndrome disorder
  • Herniated and bulging discs

How Much Insurance Is There After A Trucking Accident?

Trucking companies generally have larger insure policies.  One reason for this is because Federal Law mandates that Trucks involved in interstate commerce must carry $750,000 of insurance for bodily injuries.   This makes sense because trucking companies would have a lot to lose if they or their drivers caused serious injury because of their own negligence or failure to follow State and Federal regulations.  For this reason, even though the minimum amount of insurance required is $750,000 many trucking companies have more insurance than this.  It also depends on the type of truck that is involved in an accident.  Some common trucks that usually carry high amounts of insurance include:

How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?

Dollar amounts are extremely hard to affix to cases without an in-depth discussion with a knowledgeable attorney.  We see many types of accidents every year and follow these cases to their conclusion which gives us an ability to estimate.  However, even our own estimates are usually ranges of amounts because no precise figure is realistically something that can be predicted.

This being the case, there are several factors that make a large difference in the amount your case is worth:

  • The seriousness of the injuries. The worse you are hurt the more your case is worth.
  • How long the injury will last. Permanent injuries are worth more than injuries that heal.
  • Impact of the injuries. The more you are prevented from doing because of your injuries the more your case is worth.
  • The level of emotional / psychological trauma.
  • Inability to work. Lost wages and lost ability to work increases the amount your case is worth.
  • Liability of at fault party. The more the other party is at fault the more your case is worth.
  • The available insurance. The greater the policy of insurance the more damages it will cover.

What Recovery Can I Receive For Those Wrongfully Killed In A Michigan Truck Accident?

In some instances, Truck drivers’ negligence results in someone dying.  When a death occurs the lawsuit and claim will fall under the Michigan Wrongful Death Statute.  Because Death is not like a broken arm, or even a life-long catastrophic injury, different types of damages apply.  Wrongful death damages are not like regular injury damages.  Instead they look at conscious pain and suffering of the person who died. If someone was not killed instantly then they will have had conscious pain and suffering which can be compensated for.  Another large category is the loss of companionship.  Family members and relatives that survive the deceased will have lost companionship due to extreme and permanent loss of your loved one.  Other compensatory damages include the loss of support, the loss of income, and other types of economic losses that result from the death.

Because the deceased person cannot bring their own action, wrongful death claims must be brought by the estate of truck accident victim.  A personal representative is appointed as the head of the estate and the family will have the ability to be compensated from any judgment or settlement.  The family shares the settlement and any settlement or disbursement of funds has to be approved by a judge.

How Long Do I Have to File A Lawsuit For My Truck Accident?

You have three years from the date of the accident to sue the at fault trucking company and or driver.  This called the Statute of Limitations, which is the time limit a person has to file a lawsuit against a Defendant.  When the Statute of Limitations is missed, no lawsuit can be brought, and you lose your right to be compensated for your injuries.

For a No-Fault first party case, the statute of limitations is different.  In Michigan, a person seeking PIP benefits, or no-fault benefits, has one year from the date of the benefit sought to file a lawsuit.  So, if you had a surgery more than a year ago, it is likely that would not be able to receive payment for that surgery.  Likewise, if you have lost wages from more than a year ago you can only sue for the lost wages that have incurred within the year from the date of the lawsuit.  This means your lost wages that are more than a year old will not be recoverable.

However, the new- No fault law that went into effect this year and last year has changed this to some degree. If you have outstanding No-Fault Benefits call one of our lawyers to help determine if you can still receive compensation.

How Much Does An Attorney Cost?

You do not have to pay us unless you win or get a settlement.  We take cases on contingency fee basis meaning that we get paid when you win or settle your case. If we do not get any money, then you do not have to pay us.

What Can An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Do For Me?

An experienced truck accident attorney can help make sure that get the compensation that you deserve against all the right parties.  By starting an investigation right away into the trucking companies’ records, by taking witness statement and photographs as well as examining the all vehicles and your injuries, a skilled truck accident attorney can put your case on the right track.  Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries and can be more complicated than your average automobile accident case due to the corporate structure of trucking companies and the many regulations and rules that govern trucks and their drivers.

We can make sure that your case is successfully navigated through all the potential pitfalls and possible ways to demonstrate your case.

No Fee Unless You Win For All Truck Accident Cases

If you were involved in a truck accident, contact an attorney as soon as you can.  Trucking companies and insurance companies have already started the investigation and you need someone on your side advocating for you.  There is a limited amount of time to file a truck accident lawsuit in the State of Michigan.  Contact us today at 517-347-6900 to learn how our attorneys can help you.  There is absolutely no cost unless your case is won!

Truck Accident References and Resources

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