Finding the Best Truck Accident Lawyers in Michigan
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, it can be bewildering to figure out what your next step should be. Large trucks are a danger on the road for a wide variety of reasons; the damages incurred from 18-wheeler accidents are usually more serious than a regular car accident, resulting in catastrophic injuries and huge financial losses for the victim.
Unfortunately, such accidents have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. If you are a truck accident victim and want to file a lawsuit or seek a settlement offer, you may be reluctant as trucking companies and their lawyers can be intimidating.
Additionally, there are many circumstantial ramifications, legal hoops to go through, and multiple parties involved in a truck accident case. This includes dealing with multiple insurance companies, making truck accidents among the most complex of legal cases to navigate.
If you or a family member have been involved in a crash involving a large semi tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or any kind of large truck, you should seek legal advice immediately to evaluate your case.
An experienced truck accident lawyer from a personal injury law firm can provide the best legal representation, liaise with your insurance carrier, contact medical experts, and obtain all the relevant information to build your case and ensure you get the financial restitution you deserve.
How Truck Accidents are Different from Car Accidents
There are major differences between a truck accident or tractor-trailer accident and a car accident, which is why you should seek a personal injury lawyer with specific experience in handling truck accidents if you’re involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle.
Truck accidents tend to be even more brutal than car accidents, as the impact of a truck is far greater than that of a car, and injuries and damages, therefore, tend to be more serious and may even result in fatal injuries.
In addition, truck accidents usually have different causes than passenger vehicle accidents. While car accidents are often a consequence of simple human error, truck accidents often happen due to the size and weight of the vehicle, which, for example, makes it more difficult to stop the truck quickly or turn in time. Equipment failure can also be an issue when the trucking company or driver fails to perform checkups, leading to potential malfunctions.
The process of gathering evidence and information is also more cumbersome in truck accident cases than in car accident cases. Safety records, trucking logs, driver records, and many other things need to be researched and analyzed. Truck companies are often powerful and well represented legally. This is why it’s crucial to hire a motor vehicle accident lawyer with experience handling truck accidents if you are involved in a collision with a large truck.
Truck Drivers and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA has a safety mandate to reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving semi-trucks and busses.
It does this by enforcing regulations that attempt to balance truck company safety with efficiency and outlining the minimum standards for anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle engaged in interstate commerce. FMCSA guidelines apply to everyone in the trucking chain, not just the drivers but also managers, supervisors, and dispatchers.
This also means drivers are required to learn and comply with all aspects of the regulations, as not doing so and being involved in a crash can have severe legal ramifications for the driver and the company.
Types of Truck Accident Lawsuits
There are various types of truck accident lawsuits and legal claims which correspond to the type of accident that has occurred, but truck accident lawsuits are typically complex because of complicated trucking laws and regulations, legal differences by state, and the scale of destruction caused by these types of crashes. However, most truck accident lawsuits will involve either personal injury claims or property damage legal claims or both.
Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury lawsuit is filed by victims of accidents with semi-trucks or tractor-trailers where the truck driver or trucking company can be found to be negligent in causing the accident. Personal injury cases can help the victim recover lost wages, ensure medical care and compensation for injuries, pain, and suffering.
The personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are skilled at determining whether you have a personal injury claim as a result of a large truck accident.
Property Damage Claims
A property damage claim lawsuit is often filed in conjunction with a personal injury claim, given the extent of likely damage after an accident involving a large semi-truck.
The cost of repairing a vehicle or other property after a semi-truck accident is a major issue. It may include the cost of repairs, loss of use, diminution in value, personal property within the vehicle at the time of the crash, or total loss. Property damage claims are typically less complex than personal injury claims and can be resolved quicker.
How Compensation is Determined
Several factors are taken into consideration by lawyers and insurance companies in determining compensation following a truck accident. These include:
- The degree of the driver or injury victim’s negligence causing the crash.
- The seriousness of injuries, how these injuries have affected a person’s life, and whether they are permanent.
- Psychological, emotional, or other trauma.
- Type of medical treatment necessary following a crash.
- Loss of income or earning capacity.
- Insurance policy limits for the trucking company.
- Degree of property damage sustained.
- Whether there was a fatality involved, which can lead to a wrongful death claim.
Factors that Affect Truck Accident Claims
- Negligence: Establishing negligence is the most important element in any truck accident claim. Any party involved in the crash may be found to be negligent if they have broken road rules or have acted unreasonably in breaching their duty to other drivers on the road. Therefore, a truck accident claim boils down to who was at fault. This can be the truck driver, the car driver, the manufacturer, the dispatcher, or anyone in the logistical chain of the trucking company.
- Liability: The truck driver, trucking company or carrier, the truck manufacturer, vendors providing services to the trucking company, independent contractors, the owner of the cargo, and those responsible for highway maintenance or design may be held liable in a truck accident.
- Severity of Injuries: The types of severe injuries caused by a truck crash are manifold. These can involve spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, disfigurement and amputation, back and neck injuries, and death. Serious injuries like these will determine the extent of the accident claim.
Steps to Take After a Commercial Truck Accident
If you are involved in a collision with a commercial truck, and you are in a condition to do so, these are the things you should do immediately:
- Make a phone call to the emergency services on 9-1-1.
- Gather as much information from the scene of the crash as you can; this can help us build a strong case. Talk to the truck driver, find out which company they are driving for, what kind of truck it is, and the cargo it was carrying. Note down the license plate.
- Get photographic evidence. Take pictures of the crash, the vehicles involved, and the wider scene. Take as many pictures as you can as it can be important evidence.
- Contact a truck accident attorney immediately. If you’re involved in a truck accident in the state of Michigan, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
- If you require medical treatment, keep medical records and any other sensitive information that might be pertinent to your case.
What are the Leading Causes of Truck Accidents?
The most common causes of truck accidents are driver fatigue, distracted driving, tire defects, speeding and overtaking, alcohol and drugs, poor driver training, inadequate maintenance, and improper cargo loading.
In addition, many crashes have been traced back to illegal, and therefore negligent, hiring practices by trucking companies. As trucking firms are often desperate for workers, they can end up hiring drivers with poor records. Companies who do so can be held liable in a truck accident if it is found they knew of a prior record.
How is Negligence Established?
If it can be established that the truck driver breached the duty to be reasonably careful, and that breach caused your injuries, and you can prove these injuries and any financial loss incurred, then negligence can be established.
Nationwide Truck Crash Statistics
The following are some important statistics from the FMCSA:
- There has been a 52% increase in truck crash accidents in the United States between 2009 and 2017.
- 74% of fatal passenger vehicle cases involve a large truck.
- 82% of fatalities are drivers or passengers in the smaller vehicle, and 62% involve more than one vehicle.
- Most truck crashes occur during the working week (Monday-Friday), and statistically, most happen in the early afternoon.
- The main factors in truck accidents are fatigue, speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, mechanical failure, and tire defects.
- Most collisions and rear-ends occur on interstate highways and in rural areas rather than in the metro area.
What is the Truck’s Black Box, and What Does it Track?
Like airplanes, trucks have a black box, an electronic recording device that tracks the driver’s driving time, also known as an Electronic Control Module (ECM) or Event Data Recorder (EDR).
Truck drivers must follow hours of service regulations, which determine how long they’re allowed to be behind the wheel. The black box can be used as evidence in the aftermath of a truck crash, where a crash occurred because of fatigue or related factors. It can also help determine the truck’s speed at the time of the accident, the driver’s actions, and comparisons between general truck activity and truck activity during the circumstances of the accident.
Why Commercial Truck Black Boxes are Crucial
Victims of truck accidents can use them as evidence when filing a claim for compensation after an accident. However, they will need a truck accident attorney with experience in demanding recovery of the black box and who knows how to examine it.
Do I Have a Case?
If you were involved in a truck wreck and you sustained injuries and/or property damage as a result, or if you’re incurring medical bills as a result of an accident involving a truck and there’s sufficient reason to claim negligence on behalf of the truck driver, then you have a case. Consult Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. immediately if you were involved in a trucking accident in Michigan.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.: Truck Accident Attorneys
The experienced and knowledgeable team of lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. has a track record of helping individuals and families recover damages incurred due to negligence on behalf of the truck driver or truck company.
Trucking law is notoriously complex, considering the admixture of conflicting federal and state laws, multiple parties with conflicting claims involved, and multiple insurance companies for various steps of the legal process. Our nationally recognized work mediating trucking law and our expert understanding of Michigan’s no-fault laws mean that you’re in safe, legal hands if you file your case through us.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
The legal process for filing a personal injury and/or property damage claim as a result of a truck crash is complex, nuanced, and requires the legal services of an experienced legal team. This is how Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can answer questions you might have to help you:
- We gather information using all the documentation available, which is why, if you are capable of doing so, you must collect as much evidence as you can following a truck crash. We research everything, including the exact circumstances of the crash, the truck driver’s history and background, and the truck company’s historical record.
- Our thorough investigation includes establishing the cause of the accident and securing the truck’s black box, which provides hard evidence for your claims. We will also investigate how your case is interpreted in the context of Michigan’s no-fault laws, which can become extremely complex due to numerous factors such as different insurance policies, the employment status of truck drivers, worker’s compensation, and the exact location of the trucking companies.
- We negotiate with the multiple insurance companies involved in truck crash cases on behalf of our clients, including the insurance companies of each party involved and the property damage entities in every step along the way.
- Our top trial lawyers will represent you in court if we can’t come to a settlement with the liable party. We may also source expert witnesses to testify on your behalf to establish liability.
Why Choose Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.?
Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. specializes in helping families and individuals recover personal injury and property damages when negligence on behalf of the truck driver, truck company, manufacturer, or other party in the trucking chain is in evidence. Our proven track record of success and qualifications, and reputation as personal injury attorneys in the area of truck accident lawsuits mean that we are a top law firm in Michigan to dispense legal advice and inform you as to your legal rights in the event of a truck accident.
We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your case. Call us at 1-866-Mich law (1-866-642-4529), visit our webpage at www.cochranlaw.com or use this contact form to schedule your free consultation immediately if you have experienced a truck-related accident. We will be available immediately to help evaluate and guide you through the steps to make a personal injury or property damage claim.
If you choose to proceed with a lawsuit, our contingency fee means that Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. will only get paid if we win your case.
Is hiring an accident attorney worth it?
Yes. While you may feel like you can handle your claim alone, a truck accident lawyer has years of experience involving truck accident cases, which differ greatly from standard car accident cases. Handling your case on your own puts you at risk of facing legal representatives for major truck companies who are far more seasoned in arguing case particularities.
How can a truck accident lawyer help your case?
The aftermath of a truck accident can turn your life upside down. A truck accident lawyer can ease some of the burden by helping to secure the maximum compensation for any injuries or losses incurred. A qualified truck accident lawyer can evaluate your case, explain your legal options to you, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Above all, a truck accident attorney can represent you against lawyers appointed by powerful truck companies.
What should I know before hiring a truck accident lawyer?
When you’re considering hiring a lawyer to handle a truck accident case, you should consider an attorney who concentrates their practice in personal injury law, who has a good reputation, and who has a successful track record, such as the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
What percentage do accident lawyers take?
Most personal injury cases involve a “contingency fee,” which is deducted from the final settlement or damages award. This typically amounts to around a third of the settlement or award. If the case is unsuccessful, the attorney gets nothing.
Who are the best attorneys for truck accidents?
In Michigan, which has different truck and auto liability laws to most other states, the best attorneys to consult are Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Call 1-866-Mich-Law (1-866-642-4529) or visit our webpage at www.cochranlaw.com and schedule your free consultation today.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.