Large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers are common on Michigan roads and highways, and they are an integral part of the state and country’s economy. However, due to their weight, size, and multiple blind spots, commercial trucks can pose dangers to other drivers.
When a truck accident occurs involving a semi, tractor-trailer, or some other large truck, the results can be devastating. Victims in passenger vehicles often suffer serious, debilitating injuries that require long-term medical care and expensive treatments. All too often, passenger vehicle occupants die from the injuries they sustain in big truck accidents, and tractor-trailer and other large truck accidents injure and kill thousands of people each year.
If a big rig or other large truck injured you or claimed the life of a close family member, you could obtain compensation to help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other damages and losses.
For help, you can contact the truck accident attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers. We'll stand up for your rights and do our best to help you get the maximum compensation you need to move forward with your life. Get experienced legal representation for your truck accident right now—just dial (888) 454-0801 or fill out our online contact form to get started.
How Can a Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
Obtaining compensation after any type of motor vehicle accident can be complex and challenging, but pursuing compensation following a truck accident is especially complicated. For one, truck accidents usually involve more than just the driver because the driver likely works for a company that actually owns the truck. Furthermore, the trucking industry itself is highly regulated with numerous laws and requirements truck drivers and trucking companies must follow, as well as certifications, special insurance requirements, and other factors that come into play.
Handling truck accident claims requires specialized knowledge and an understanding of how to deal with claims and lawsuits involving multiple defendants. Truck accident attorneys must also investigate many different areas to gather all the evidence to support a truck injury claim or lawsuit.
The Michigan truck accident attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers are familiar with trucking industry regulations, and we will thoroughly investigate the matter, gather evidence, and work diligently to hold all responsible parties accountable.
You have enough to worry about and deal with as you recover from your truck accident injuries. Let us collect the evidence and handle the legal paperwork and processes for you while you concentrate on getting better.
Why Choose Michigan Injury Lawyers for Your Truck Accident Claim
Experienced personal injury attorney Thomas Stroble founded our law firm in 2008 with a mission to deliver the highest level of representation to Michigan accident victims and their families. Over the past 15 years, we have successfully handled many truck accident cases, and our truck accident attorneys have recovered substantial settlements and awards for our clients.
We are committed to helping you get maximum compensation for your injuries and losses, and our lawyers have earned consistent top rankings and endorsements from prominent legal organizations like the National Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice, and Super Lawyers.
We're also dedicated to always doing what's right for our clients. That means same-day callbacks and providing regular updates as to the status of your case. We believe in fostering long-term relationships with our clients, and we will remain in touch even after your case is resolved to ensure you have everything you need to help with your recovery.
We'll go the extra mile to get the favorable results you seek, and we aren't afraid to take your truck accident case to trial to get the total amount of compensation you deserve. Call today at 888-454-0801 or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation from an experienced truck accident attorney who is ready to fight for you.
Our main office is in Bloomfield Hills, and we have an additional law office in Mount Clemens, where we accept clients by appointment only. Our law firm represents clients throughout Michigan, including:
- Ann Arbor
- Sterling Heights
- Clinton Township
- Farmington Hills
No matter where you live in Michigan, you can contact the lawyers for help getting compensation following a truck accident that hurt you or someone you love. Call us today at 888-454-0801 for a free consultation.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to Michigan’s Traffic Crash Reporting System (TCRS), the state saw 14.293 total truck/bus crashes in 2021. Of those crashes, 103 involved fatalities, which is a 32% increase from 2020. TCRS defines a “truck” as a commercial truck or tractor-trailer with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more and includes any of the following vehicles:
- Tanker trucks
- Log carriers
- Flatbed trailers
- Other “big rigs”
- Tow trucks
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Concrete mixers
- Construction equipment
- Delivery vans and trucks
- Postal trucks, and Ups/FedEx trucks
TCRS reports also include crashes that involved vehicles designed to carry more than eight passengers or used to transport hazardous materials. The crash report includes all types of traffic-related accidents involving large commercial vehicles, including pedestrian and bicycle accidents as well as train accidents.
Incidentally, October sees the most truck accidents, and more truck accidents occur on Tuesday than on any other day of the week. Also, more truck crashes occur between noon and 3:00 p.m.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Many truck drivers spend a lot of hours on the road and are usually driving under tight deadlines to deliver their cargo. Although federal regulations dictate how long a truck driver can drive during a shift, some truckers ignore the regulations and push themselves to drive for as long as possible. Also, commercial trucks themselves are massive vehicles that can be hard to control, particularly in windy conditions, when navigating tight curves and corners, or going down steep hills.
Many factors can lead to truck accidents, and some common causes include:
- Driver fatigue
- Reckless driving, such as weaving through traffic
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Improperly loaded vehicles and trailers
- Poor truck maintenance
- Defective brakes and other vehicle components
- Road hazards
- Inclement weather
Also, most large trucks, particularly tractor-trailers, have large blind spots, andmany truck accidents occur because a truck driver merged into another vehicle’s lane without seeing them.
In most cases, the accident could have been avoided were it not for the truck driver’s negligence or recklessness. If a truck driver caused an accident that injured you or a family member, you can speak to a Michigan truck accident attorney for advice regarding your rights and options for obtaining compensation.
Truck Industry Regulations
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established regulations and guidelines that truck drivers, truck owners/operators, and truck manufacturers must follow to help keep roads safe for all. These regulations govern virtually every aspect of operating large commercial trucks on public roads and highways, and they include:
Hours of service
The FMSCA mandates that truck drivers may drive for 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Truck drivers may not drive past the 14th consecutive hour after coming back on duty. Truckers must also take a 30-minute break after driving for eight cumulative hours without a break. Additionally, truckers must adhere to the 60/70 rule, which states they cannot drive after 60/70 hours on duty over a 7/8 consecutive day time span.
Some factors can extend or provide exceptions to these regulations, such as adverse weather and short-haul scenarios. Truck drivers must log their driving time and breaks, but some drivers and their employers manipulate the logs to allow the drivers to drive beyond the regulated hours.
Repair and maintenance
Truck owners/operators must maintain their vehicles regularly. They must keep accurate records of maintenance and ensure their trucks are safe and pose no risk to others on the road. If truck operators fail to maintain their trucks, the truck’s brakes, steering, or other vital components can fail, leading to horrendous truck accidents.
Licensing and driver testing
Driving a large commercial vehicle is far more involved than driving a passenger car. Truckers must undergo many hours of training and receive special driver’s licenses to legally operate a large commercial truck. In some cases, drivers must also obtain certifications for carrying certain loads, such as hazardous chemicals or waste. Sometimes, trucking companies hire new and inexperienced drivers to save money, but these drivers can make mistakes and cause truck accidents that seriously injure or kill other motorists.
All commercial trucks have weight limits, and many states maintain weigh stations on interstates and major highways to ensure trucks are within their limits. However, not all weigh stations operate 24 hours a day, or truckers may be on roads with no weigh stations at all.
Some trucking companies overload their trucks to increase profits, and increased weight means more time and distance for the truck to stop, especially at highway speeds. An overloaded truck can also experience load shifts and other problems, such as suspension issues, which can lead to truck accidents.
Safe Driving Behaviors
Truckers must follow the same rules of the road as other motorists. If they violate any traffic laws, they can cause serious accidents.
Both truckers and trucking companies have an obligation to ensure their rigs are safe and that the drivers are fully trained, licensed, and certified. Those who fail to do so may be held liable for causing a truck accident and any resulting injuries or deaths to others.
The attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers have extensive knowledge of federal trucking regulations, and we can investigate your case and determine if the truck driver or their employer ignored the federal laws and regulations. If so, we will work to hold the trucker and their employer accountable for your injuries and losses and help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Truck Accident Victims Suffer?
Due to their size and weight, large commercial vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries to other drivers and their passengers in truck accidents. Some common serious injuries motorists can suffer in a truck accident include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Knee and shoulder injuries
- Severe nerve damage
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Death on impact
Also, many injuries can create scars or disfigure truck accident victims, and some victims must have limbs amputated because of the severity of their injuries. In addition to sustaining life-altering injuries, the trauma of being involved in an accident with a large commercial truck can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. You may experience emotional distress, mental anguish, and other psychological disorders because of the crash, especially if you lost a loved one in a truck accident.
Who Is Responsible for a Michigan Truck Accident?
Unlike many passenger motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents may have several parties who are liable for your injuries. Not only can you sue the truck driver, but you may also sue the truck company that owns the truck. Michigan law states that trucking companies or truck owners have the same responsibility as truck drivers, so both may be liable for your injuries after a truck accident.
Since semi-trucks have separate cabs and trailers, you may also sue the trailer's owner if it is different from the owner of the cab. If a vehicle defect led to the crash, you can hold the manufacturer responsible along with other parties involved in bringing the truck to market.
Some possible methods to establish liability include:
- Proving the truck driver was driving negligently, recklessly, or carelessly, or violated traffic laws
- Showing the truck company failed to properly maintain their trucks or properly train and license their drivers
- Showing the trucker or the trucking company falsified logbooks and other documentation regarding hours of service, maintenance schedules, and other regulations
- Proving a manufacturer defect or defect in maintaining the truck led to the accident that caused your injuries
Most commercial vehicles have so-called “black boxes,” or electronic data recorders, similar to the black boxes in commercial aircraft. These devices record important information regarding how fast the truck was going, whether the driver applied the brakes, and whether any of the vehicle's electrical or mechanical systems failed prior to the crash.
It’s important to note that the information in these black boxes can be erased or overwritten. Trucking companies can legally destroy the information in as little as three months following the truck accident in Michigan, so you have no time to waste in having your attorney gather the evidence and information before it’s too late.
Hazardous Materials Spills and Falling Cargo
Some trucks transport caustic chemicals and other hazardous materials. Even if the truck was well-maintained and the trucker was driving cautiously, loads can still shift, and containers of hazardous materials can spill onto the road or fall onto your car. The same holds true for any cargo a truck is carrying, for instance, lumber falling off a flatbed trailer.
Along with truck drivers, trucking companies, and manufacturers, the people and companies responsible for loading and securing cargo can be liable for your injuries if your attorney can show they were negligent or careless with loading and securing the materials the truck was carrying.
What To Do Following a Michigan Truck Accident
Immediately following a Michigan truck accident, you need to contact the police and get prompt medical attention for your injuries. You also need to thoroughly document your injuries as well as any injuries your passengers suffered. Having a documented record of your injuries is vital for a valid injury claim, and if you wait too long, the insurance company can assert that your injuries occurred after the crash.
You also want to get statements from any witnesses to the crash. Sometimes, truckers will change their stories to reduce their culpability in causing the crash, and if you do not obtain witness testimony soon after the accident, it can be hard for your lawyer to prove truck driver negligence later. Moreover, you want to take photos of the accident scene and document as much evidence as you can as to the cause of the truck crash and the damage it caused.
Get a lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will need to gather a lot of evidence to support your claim, and the sooner they start, the better. As stated above, trucking companies can destroy evidence, such as pre-trip inspection documents, driving time records, and black box information, after a certain time, so your attorney will need to act quickly after a truck crash to safeguard important information.
You also need to notify your own auto insurance company of the truck accident. Under Michigan law, you need to notify them within a year from the date of the crash to receive your no-fault insurance benefits. No-fault insurance benefits cover things like medical bills, lost wages, travel costs, replacement services, and attendant care services. Also, many policies have different requirements for reporting hit-and-run accidents, for instance, and Michigan insurance carriers can change their policies and the time you have to submit a claim at any time.
Michigan has unique laws and regulations regarding auto and truck insurance policies, so you should have your attorney review your policy as well as the at-fault driver’s policy to identify any loopholes, exceptions, or other factors that will affect your time to submit a claim or the types of injuries the policy will cover.
How Much Can I Get After a Michigan Truck Accident?
Michigan allows truck accident victims to receive both economic and non-economic damages to cover losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Insurance companies and courts do not have specific schedules or guidelines for how much money injured victims can receive, but you want to ensure you get enough to cover all the costs of your injuries and suffering. Each truck accident case is unique, and the amount of compensation you can receive will depend on many factors that include:
- The nature and severity of your injuries
- The level of ongoing pain and suffering you will experience and how long it will last
- How seriously your injuries have impacted your life, work, and activities
- The level of psychological or emotional trauma you suffered
- Whether your injuries cause permanent disabilities
- The amount of wages and other work benefits you lost
- How much negligence each party has for causing the crash
- Insurance policy limits
If your case goes to trial, the court may award punitive damages on top of any other damages you receive. Courts usually only award punitive damages in cases where the defendant acted with wanton recklessness, was egregiously negligent, or broke the law.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Claim in Michigan?
Michigan allows you three years from the date of the accident to file a truck accident lawsuit in civil court. The same holds for wrongful death lawsuits.
However, you must understand that filing a truck accident claim with the insurance company is not the same as filing a lawsuit in court. Insurance companies will have their own deadlines for submitting a claim, particularly when the claim involves a truck accident. Therefore, you need to have your attorney check with the insurance company to find out when they need to file your claim for you.
If you do not file your claim or lawsuit within the statute of limitations or the insurance company’s deadlines, you will likely forfeit any chance you have of obtaining compensation. Time is of the essence when dealing with truck accident claims and lawsuits, so you want to work with an attorney who will remain on top of your case and file all necessary paperwork promptly.
Moreover, you will need an attorney if a city-owned truck caused the accident. Cities, municipalities, and other governments have strict rules regarding when you can file a claim and what process you must follow, and you will likely run into considerable challenges having the city accept your claim. An attorney will understand how to deal with the city or government to hold them accountable for your injuries.
Contact Our Michigan Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Following a truck accident that was not your fault, you need an experienced Michigan truck accident attorney to help you get the money you need to pay your medical bills and other costs associated with your serious injuries.
You also need an attorney with extensive knowledge of the trucking industry's federal laws and regulations as well as Michigan's unique auto insurance requirements.
The truck accident lawyers at Michigan Injury Lawyers are here for you to help increase your chances of success. We have helped hundreds of clients with all aspects of submitting their truck accident claims, including gathering evidence, investigating the truck company and the driver, and establishing liability.
We can deal with the insurance adjuster and file all the necessary paperwork to the insurance company for you so you don't have to worry about it. We can also deal with your own insurance company, if necessary, and you can trust that we will always have your best interests at heart.
Contact us today at (888) 454-0801 or complete our online contact form to have an experienced truck accident lawyer discuss your case with you during a free consultation. We handle all our truck accident cases on contingency, so you won't have to pay us anything upfront to represent you. Also, we won't require a fee unless we win your case. Call today to ensure you get the justice you deserve following a crash involving a large commercial vehicle.