Being involved in a truck accident can be devastating. Given the size and weight of a typical commercial truck or tractor-trailer, a collision can result in catastrophic injuries to the occupants of any vehicle struck. Truck accidents are more complicated than other motor vehicle accidents because trucks are governed by state and federal laws, and Michigan’s no-fault insurance law also applies, which makes working with an experienced truck accident attorney crucial for you to be justly compensated for your injuries.
Miller & Tischler, P.C. is a premier no-fault insurance law firm serving clients throughout the State of Michigan. We have extensive experience handling all claims involving truck accidents and a proven history of helping our clients obtain meaningful compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, we will provide you with informed representation and superior personal service. When you become our client, you will have peace of mind knowing that your truck accident claim is in good hands.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Michigan
Despite state and federal truck safety laws, truck accidents occur for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- Driver Fatigue — Federal law imposes hourly driving limits and mandatory rest breaks for truckers; however driver fatigue is common. Truckers must meet strict delivery deadlines and typically cover vast distances, which increases the risk of fatigue. If truck driver fatigue causes or contributes to an accident, both the truck driver and the trucking company may be held liable.
- Distracted Driving — Truck drivers are more prone to becoming distracted than other motorists by using cell phones, relying on GPS navigation devices, or even eating or drinking. It is important to note that federal laws prohibit truck drivers from using handheld mobile devices and engaging in other distracting conduct. A trucker can be held both civilly and criminally liable for an accident caused by distracted truck driving.
- Improper Maintenance — State and federal laws require trucking companies to properly maintain vehicles and components (e.g. braking systems, engines, tires braking lights, hitch assemblies), conduct regular inspections and maintain records. A trucking company that fails to follow these rules can be held liable for an accident caused by improper maintenance.
- Inadequate Training — It is common for trucking companies to send inexperienced truck drivers on the road too quickly since they are usually paid less per mile than experienced drivers. Without the necessary experience and skills to safely maneuver a truck or tractor-trailer, a poorly trained truck driver is more likely to cause an accident, in which case the trucking company can be held liable.
- Improper Loading — Although state and federal laws regulate permissible cargo weight, improper loading is common. Such improper loading can make a truck or big rig harder to stop or maneuver. In a truck accident caused by improper loading, the party responsible for loading the truck, (e.g the truck driver, the trucking company or a third party, such as a warehouse operator), may be held liable.
Why Truck Accidents in Michigan Result in Catastrophic Injuries
Due to the size and weight of a truck compared to that of a typical passenger vehicle, truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Additionally, commercial trucks and tractor-trailers require a longer distance to stop than other motor vehicles; a truck that is speeding is more prone to causing a high-impact collision resulting in catastrophic injuries. Commercial trucks also require more room than passenger vehicles to navigate turns, which makes trucks more susceptible to tipping over — potentially crushing a smaller vehicle.
Factors Involved in Michigan Truck Accident Claims
Truck accident claims pose greater challenges than car accident claims for a wide variety of reasons. In particular, insurance claims are more complicated because multiple insurance carriers and parties may be involved in truck accidents, including:
- Occupants of the passenger vehicle
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck/trucking company
- Additionally, the truck’s manufacturer, distributor, or parts suppliers that provided defective parts that contributed to the accident may be held liable.
- It is important to note that Michigan’s no-fault insurance system applies to truck accident claims and provides coverage to injury victims who can pursue a first-party claim and
- are entitled to personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, including:
- Payment of medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Household help
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to bring a claim against the at-fault party (e.g. the truck driver, the truck owner/company, and/or the insurance carrier). In a third-party truck accident claim, injury victims can recover non-economic damages (e.g. pain and suffering) and excess economic losses — lost wages beyond the 3-year no-fault limit. In any event, it takes a highly skilled no-fault insurance attorney to protect the rights of truck accident victims.
Contact Our Michigan Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may be frightened and not know where to turn. That’s the time to call Miller & Tischler, P.C. Our truck accident attorneys are well-versed in the applicable state and federal laws and understand the complexities of Michigan’s no-fault system. We will stand by you every step of the way and make sure you obtain the compensation you deserve. You will not pay any attorney’s fees until we recover for you. Please contact our office today for a free consultation.