Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries that change a victim’s life. Whether your injuries are temporary or permanent, minor or severe, you have the legal right to be compensated for injuries you suffer at the hands of a negligent commercial truck driver. At Michigan Injury Lawyers, we fight hard to protect the legal rights of truck accident victims.
Call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced Traverse City personal injury attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers.
Insurance Coverage After a Traverse City Truck Accident
Truck accidents can leave victims with significant injuries and other losses, often leaving them to wonder how they will be able to recover compensation. Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, which means that motor vehicle accident victims typically make claims on their own insurance policies regardless of whose fault an accident was. Known as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, these policies provide coverage for victims’ medical expenses, part of their lost income, and some other incidental expenses.
But what about people who suffer significant non-economic losses in truck accidents like pain and suffering and lost quality of life? In cases where victims experience “serious impairment to bodily function,” Michigan law allows victims to file claims outside of PIP insurance. An attorney can help you determine whether your injuries qualify you to file a third-party claim or lawsuit.
NOTE: Significant changes are coming to Michigan auto insurance this July in an effort to keep costs down. Consumers will have more choices than before, and the changes may have a significant impact on how car accident claims are handled. The attorneys of Michigan Injury Lawyers are closely aware of these changes to the law and are prepared to help our clients get the compensation to which they are entitled now and in the future.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Dangerous Than Car Accidents
Truck accidents often cause more serious injuries than accidents involving smaller vehicles. A large, loaded cargo truck generates far more force in a collision than a smaller passenger vehicle, which absorbs the truck’s force of impact. Occupants of smaller vehicles will often sustain more serious injuries than the occupants of commercial trucks. Speed also increases the amount of force that is generated in a collision. When truck drivers are speeding, the odds of an accident becoming fatal drastically increase.
Truck accidents are not only more dangerous than car accidents—they are also on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatalities in truck accidents increased by 9 percent between 2016 and 2017. Seventy-two percent of these fatalities involved occupants of other vehicles. Only 18 percent of the fatalities involved occupants of the involved truck, and the remaining 10 percent of truck accident fatalities involved other road users not occupying vehicles (such as pedestrians and cyclists).
Who is Legally Responsible for Compensating Truck Accident Victims?
The individual or company that is legally responsible for causing an accident is also legally responsible for compensating the injured victims of the accident. This is known as “liability.” Liability depends on the specific facts, circumstances, and parties involved in a truck accident.
One of the most common scenarios involves a commercial truck driver that causes an accident through his or her negligence. In such a case, the truck driver is liable and must pay for any injuries sustained by others in the accident. The transportation company that employs the driver is also liable for the accident. Employers are not always liable for the negligence of independent contractors, but they are liable for negligence committed by anyone with permission to drive their trucks. Because of this, a transportation company will usually be liable for any negligence committed by their drivers.
A truck manufacturer can also be liable for a truck accident. Every consumer product sold in the United States is subject to strict liability. This means that the manufacturer can be held liable for any injuries caused by the product—regardless of whether or not the manufacturer was negligent.
For instance, truck accidents can be due to defective parts on the truck. Imagine that a truck driver tried to stop in time to avoid a collision, but the brakes failed. This could lead to strict products liability on the part of the manufacturer. The injury victim could then seek compensation from the company that manufactured the defective truck. The manufacturer of the braking system could also be involved.
As you can see, liability can quickly become very complicated in a truck accident case. This is why you need our experienced truck accident lawyers. We know how to identify potential defendants and prove their liability.
Truck Accidents in Work Zones
Work zones are especially dangerous, being the site of more accidents than other areas of the road. The Federal Highway Administration reports that fatal accidents in work zones increased by 3 percent in just one year. Work zone accidents involving large trucks and buses increased by more than 17 percent (from 189 to 222). During this same time period, all fatal accidents across the United States actually decreased by 1.5 percent.
So what can you do to reduce the risk of being injured in a work zone? Here are some important safety tips for drivers:
- Slow down! The slower you are traveling, the more time you will have to react to obstructions in the roadway. Slowing down also reduces the force generated in a collision, which in turn reduces the severity of injuries that are sustained in an accident.
- Do not engage in distracted driving. While the most obvious culprit of distraction is your smartphone, it is also possible to be distracted by children and pets, food and drink, or in-vehicle navigation or entertainment systems. Do not take your eyes off the road. Program all systems and settle your children and pets before you begin driving.
- Drive defensively. Work zones can be chaotic, and drivers do not always know where to go. Trucks are often coming and going, making it difficult to avoid other cars. Be prepared to stop unexpectedly, and allow plenty of your space between your car and others in the roadway.
Pedestrians and bicyclists must also be careful in work zones. Here are safety tips for road users in a work zone who are not in vehicles:
- Avoid work zones whenever possible. There is usually no designated sidewalk or bike lane, which means you have no safe space in which to travel. Drivers will not be expecting pedestrians or cyclists in lanes of traffic, which makes it more likely that you will be struck.
- Be Seen. If you must travel through a work zone, make sure you can be easily seen. Wear light clothing and reflective tape. Signal to drivers, so they know where you intend to go. Make eye contact before entering traffic or crossing the street.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation With Our Traverse City Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accident injury victims have legal rights. Our experienced truck accident attorneys know how to protect these rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call Michigan Injury Lawyers at (231) 649-2720. You can also contact us online for your free initial consultation. Let us handle your insurance claim and protect your legal rights so you can focus on making the best recovery possible.