Guide to Working With a Truck Accident Lawyer in Detroit
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
A Detroit truck accident can result in severe personal injuries and vehicle damage. Commercial semi-trucks are larger, faster, and heavier than most passenger vehicles. If a trucking company, truck driver’s or manufacturers’ negligence resulted in life-changing injuries, you might have grounds for a truck accident lawsuit.
The experienced truck accident attorneys at the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help protect your rights and identify the liable party in your truck accident. They can also provide legal advice to ensure you receive fair compensation by guiding you through the insurance claim process.
Why is a Trucking Accident Different from a Car Accident?
You need to gather evidence and call your insurance company following a semi-truck accident, just like any auto accident. However, a truck accident may involve more responsible parties, which can complicate filing a claim.
Many people consider all motor vehicle crashes the same because of the Michigan no-fault rules and filing requirements. There are, however, significant differences between truck crashes and other kinds of motor vehicle accidents in Michigan.
Certain trucking laws apply
Unlike other accident cases, truck accident injury claims are subject to specific state and federal regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Title 49 regulations oversee all trucking regulations in interstate travel.
The Michigan Department of Transportation adopted many parts of the federal standards that regulate trucking standards, licensing, regular inspections, and transportation of materials, including hazardous materials.
Trucks have more liabilities
Semi-truck accidents often involve commercial partners, which means there might be several liable parties in your case. The trucking company, shipper, broker, truck manufacturer, or distributors of the defective component of the truck may be held accountable for the accident.
Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is critical to your case when catastrophic injuries or wrongful death result from truck accidents. Personal injury attorneys act as your legal representative with your insurance company and assist you in seeking financial compensation.
Truck accidents involve more severe injuries
Truck fatalities have risen by 16% since 2016, while the rate per 100 million truck miles traveled has risen by 11%. A common factor of semi-truck accidents is the degree of injuries sustained by the victims.
Given a fully-loaded semi-truck may weigh over 80,000 pounds, a collision can cause severe injuries. The severity of truck injuries varies from permanent loss of limbs to burns to a spinal cord injury. As a result of these significant consequences, commercial truck drivers must carry general liability insurance.
What Contributes to Truck Accidents?
Several factors can cause an accident involving a truck. Here are a few common ones:
In an accident with an 80,000-pound truck, victims’ chances of suffering a life-altering injury are significantly higher than in a regular vehicle accident. If a driver texts while operating a vehicle, they are 23 times more likely to get into an accident than drivers who remain focused. The FMCSA has issued rules limiting all cell phone use by truckers while driving.
Improper cargo loading
Loading a truck improperly results in either a load that is too heavy or imbalanced, making driving the truck more difficult. The federal government and the state of Michigan have enacted regulations to ensure that all commercial vehicles, including trucks, are properly loaded.
An overloaded truck can result in substantial legal repercussions for both the truck driver and the trucking company.
Chameleon carriers are motor carriers that reopen under a new name and DOT number to avoid penalties and fines associated with a bad record for safety. Carriers who use chameleon practices are three times more likely to be involved in a serious crash than carriers who follow the law.
The FMCSA has long known that chameleon carriers place the public’s safety at risk. The agency has endeavored to identify and regulate companies that engage in this behavior, including an electronic vetting program to flag for potential signs of chameleon companies.
Blind spot accidents
Blind spots are found on all sides of large trucks. Truck drivers also need to inspect their blind spots like drivers of other vehicles. They should also be aware of the volume of traffic around them and ensure that lane changes are safe.
The truck driver’s failure to check blind spots can cause serious collisions. Around 14% of truck crashes involved inadequate surveillance, not checking before maneuvering safely on the road.
Distracted driving, driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and driver fatigue can cause blind spot accidents.
What Can I Do After a Truck Accident to Protect My Rights?
If you or a family member are involved in a Detroit truck accident, follow these steps to protect your legal rights. Your lawyer can walk you through the legal process.
File a police report
You must immediately call the police and file a police report when you hit any vehicle. When speaking with the police, stick to the facts and try not to talk excessively to the truck driver. It is best not to speak to your insurance company until you have obtained legal representation.
Get medical attention
You should also contact emergency services for immediate medical attention if you see other injured people in your accident. A call to the emergency services can help them receive quicker medical care and save their lives.
In some cases, though, a truck accident can cause injuries that are not immediately apparent. If you or a family member did not receive treatment following the accident, see your primary medical provider as soon as possible.
The doctor can record the severity of your personal injuries and help you get the medical care you need to recover. You must save your resulting medical records and related expenses to prove you required medical care due to negligence.
Gather evidence from the accident
Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, road conditions, and the property damage to your vehicle. Share your contact information with the truck driver, and get their trucking company’s contact and insurance information as well.
Gather any witnesses’ information to contact them later for witness testimonies. You want to collect as much information about the accident as possible to ensure you can support your claim.
Keep track of any expenses
When you are injured in a truck accident, you typically incur expenses such as medical bills, surgery, and other medical costs, along with vehicle repairs or replacement. You also need to show proof of wage loss due to being out of work and other non-economic damages.
You must keep all the bills, receipts, or quotes you get for medical treatment due to the accident. These documents serve as proof when you file your personal injury claim or truck accident claim.
Call your insurance company
Notify your auto insurance company immediately after an accident. To qualify for benefits from Michigan no-fault insurance, you have one year to notify your first-party insurance company. You can file a claim against the negligent truck driver’s third-party insurance company within three years from the date of the accident for injuries or wrongful death.
To protect your rights, working with a truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the complex regulations surrounding trucks and the resulting serious injuries. They can review your insurance policy limits, benefits, and restrictions and help you file your claim.
Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer in Detroit
An experienced truck accident lawyer ensures that no legal component is overlooked while you seek medical attention for your injuries and repair any damages to your vehicle caused by the truck accident. They can deal with the insurance company on your behalf and take your case to court if necessary.
Negotiate with the insurance company
Your truck accident attorney provides the most substantial evidence to prove your claim is legitimate. They can negotiate with the insurance adjuster if needed to help you get compensation for your injuries and property damage.
They can also legally represent you at hearings if you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident and cannot attend the hearing.
Understand legal technicalities
An experienced attorney gives you the best chance of securing your trucking accident claim without delay in the event of a crash. Several things should be considered when putting together a claim, such as the date, weather, and location of the accident and the available evidence.
They also have legal knowledge of the various state and federal trucking regulations that a truck driver and their company must adhere to. A truck accident lawyer with relevant experience can guide you through the legal complexities of this process.
Review evidence and take your case to court
Truck accidents result in severe injuries, vehicle damage, and other long-term consequences such as impairment, emotional distress, and loss of employment. A truck accident lawyer gathers and examines the relevant evidence, such as medical costs and records, police reports, and records of witness interviews, to prove your case. They can also take your case to trial if needed.
Speak With a Truck Accident Lawyer in Detroit, Michigan
Having legal representation in the insurance claim process or court is essential to helping you resolve your truck accident settlement. The Detroit truck accident lawyers of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. have a proven track record of working with truck accident victims and can help you obtain monetary compensation.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
What if I’m at fault for the truck accident in Detroit, Michigan?
A truck accident might involve multiple variables, resulting in shared liability. Michigan has a modified comparative fault, or 51% bar rule. This specifies that you cannot obtain compensation for non-economic or pain and suffering damages if you are 51% responsible for an accident.
What is the average time it takes to settle a truck accident claim in Michigan?
Truck accident cases can last anywhere between a few months and several years, depending on the case. The extent of your injuries, the dollar amount of economic and non-economic damages, and your insurance policy all factor into a truck accident settlement.
How much money can I get from a truck accident case in Michigan?
A truck accident case does not limit how much compensation you can receive. The amount of compensation depends on several factors, including what percentage of responsibility the at-fault party has in the accident.
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.