Were You Injured in an 18-Wheeler Accident in Michigan?
An 18-wheeler truck is also known as a semi-trailer tractor unit used to carry freight or transfer commercial goods and make up a large percentage of Michigan truck accidents. These fully-loaded vehicles are at least 80,000 pounds in weight. Michigan, however, has the highest or heaviest allowable weight limit of any state for 18-wheeler trucks at 164,000 pounds.
Due to its weight and size, 18-wheeler accidents can be particularly devastating and lethal. These vehicles are hard to stop when badly maneuvered or driven too fast. These trucks also cause more damage during a crash compared to regular vehicles.
Between 2007 and 2017, fatalities and fatal crashes involving 18-wheeler trucks in the state of Michigan averaged from 61 to 124 victims per year or about 7.63 instances per a million people, as per the U.S. Department of Transportation. Although these numbers are lower compared to other states, they don’t take away the fact that an 18-wheeler accident can still be a traumatic and exhausting experience for the victim.
Common Reasons 18-Wheeler Accidents Happen in Michigan
A 2016 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that the most common causes of accidents involving 18-wheelers are distraction and speeding. These two factors may lead to poor reaction time or bad decision-making on the part of the driver. Some companies using 18-wheeler trucks may also fail to take into account the discipline, skills, and training required of a freight driver. These workers should be able to accurately calculate how to maneuver a long and massive vehicle to prevent any mishaps.
Sometimes, however, the accident may not entirely be the fault of the driver. Some commercial truck operators may sometimes push their drivers to work longer hours when this is a job that requires the man on the wheel to be in their best state, physically and mentally. It is also the operator’s responsibility to ascertain that the trucks are regularly inspected, maintained, and repaired. Otherwise, their negligence could cause someone’s life.
In Michigan, the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents on the freeway include:
Michigan’s Statute of Limitations in 18-Wheeler Accidents Claim
It can get quite complex to investigate an 18-wheeler accident with its varied factors and causes. Trucking companies also go on a protective mode and usually hire their own team of lawyers, investigators, and insurance adjusters to record and document what happened during the crash.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires 18-wheeler truck drivers to carry log books that detail their hours of service, routes, traveled distance, and other pertinent information that may help determine who is liable for the accident. However, these crucial records may be cleared or destroyed six months after the crash as legally allowed by existing regulations. As such, time is of the essence when investigating 18-wheeler accidents. There is also a statute of limitations in pursuing a claim in Michigan: a victim of an 18-wheeler crash has only three years to file for a lawsuit. If the victim is a minor, the claim must be filed 12 months before the child turns 18.
The truck company’s team may reach out to the victim to settle or sign agreements that could waive the claim. Their defense team could be more aggressive as well. The stakes are higher in this case since trucks are more regulated. It is essential, therefore, to find an excellent personal injury lawyer to represent your case if you or a loved one has been a victim of an 18-wheeler accident.
What to Do After an 18-Wheeler Accident
Admittedly, it may be jarring to think or do something following an accident with an 18-wheeler. Should you remain conscious and able to comprehend what’s going on, you must immediately contact the police to help document the accident. You must also seek medical attention as soon as possible.
You may also start documenting the scene of the accident by taking photos on your phone or by talking to witnesses and getting their details, should you need their help in the future. Once you’re in a better headspace, you must notify your insurance company of the accident and then find an experienced Michigan 18-wheeler accident lawyer.
Help Is on Its Way with The Clark Law Office
Understand that Michigan has a different truck accident liability. You’ll need to have expert help in dealing with this case, especially if you have to file a no-fault claim benefit. The Clark Law Office can be your guide and ally on these matters. Let us know how we can help you as we get the case moving. Call us today for a free consultation at (517) 347-6900. We will discuss your case in detail and give our honest legal opinion about your situation and what options you have available to you!