Guide to Working With a Truck Accident Lawyer in Detroit
A truck accident can result in severe personal injuries and vehicle damage. Commercial trucks are larger, faster, and heavier than most passenger vehicles. If a trucking company, truck driver’s or manufacturers’ negligence resulted in your accident, you might have grounds for a lawsuit.
Find out what you need to do following a truck accident and how the experienced truck accident lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help protect your rights and give you legal advice so you can maximize your compensation.
Why is a Trucking Accident Different from a Car Accident?
Many people consider all motor vehicle accident cases to be the same because of the Michigan no-fault rules and filing requirements. There are, however, important differences between truck accidents and other kinds of vehicle accident cases 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’s Title 49 regulations oversee all trucks involved in interstate travel. The laws apply to all trucks operating on Michigan highways. The Michigan Department of Public Safety 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
Often, truck accidents involve business aspects, which means you might need to involve a number of parties in your case. For instance, the trucking company, shipper, broker, truck manufacturer, or distributors of the defective component of the truck may be held responsible. When catastrophic injuries or death result from truck accidents, working with a truck accident attorney is critical to your case. Your attorney can act as an intermediary with your insurance company and assist you in seeking compensation.
Truck Accidents Involve More Severe Injuries
A common factor of trucking accidents, particularly those involving semi-trucks, 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 catastrophic injuries. 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, the chances of victims 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 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 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 incorrectly loaded truck can result in substantial legal repercussions for both the truck driver and the trucking company.
Driver Fatigue or Impairment
Truck drivers can become tired from working long hours, not getting enough sleep, or driving while sick. Sleep deprivation is the most dangerous factor contributing to truck driver fatigue. In 2018, the top two driver-impairment factors included being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications and being asleep at the wheel.
Equipment Defects, Failure, or Improper maintenance
The truck driver remains liable to some degree if equipment fails. The driver is responsible for ensuring that equipment is in good working order before the trip. Failure to maintain equipment could result in a trucking company being held accountable. Your truck accident lawyer will work with you on determining the negligent parties.
Some trucking companies cut corners on safety to save money, recruit unqualified drivers, cause tragic accidents, and reopen under a different name after racking up too many safety violations. The Federal Government Accountability Office has called for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to investigate this practice known as “chameleon carriers” in a 2012 report. However, the practice continues in Michigan, with several chameleon carriers reported in the Lansing, Michigan area in a recent news story.
What Can I Do After a Truck Accident to Protect My Rights?
If you or a family member are involved in a truck accident in Detroit, follow these steps to protect your legal rights. Your lawyer will walk you through the legal process.
Gather Evidence from the Accident
Truck accidents often result in serious injuries or fatalities. Take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and the damage to your vehicle. Share your contact information with the truck driver, as well as their trucking company’s information. Gather any witnesses’ information. You want to collect as much information about the accident as possible to ensure you can support your claim.
File a Police Report
When you hit any vehicle, you must immediately call the police and file a police report. When speaking with the police, stick to the facts, try not to talk excessively to the truck driver, and wait to talk to your insurance company until you’ve contacted a truck accident lawyer.
Call for Medical Attention
A truck accident can lead to serious injuries that are not always immediately apparent. If you or a family member did not receive treatment following the accident, see a primary care doctor as soon as possible. The doctor can record the severity of your personal injuries. You must document any of your resulting medical bills and related expenses to prove you required medical care due to negligence.
Keep Track of Any Expenses
When you are injured in a truck accident, you will almost certainly incur expenses such as medical bills, surgery, and other medical costs, along with vehicle repairs or replacement. You also need to show proof of the loss of wages due to being out of work and other non-economic damages. You must keep all the bills, receipts, or quotes that you get due to the accident. As proof, these documents will be needed 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.
Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer in Detroit
Your truck accident lawyer ensures that no legal component or requirement is overlooked while you seek medical attention for your injuries and repair any damages to your vehicle caused by the truck accident.
Negotiate With the Insurance Company
Your truck accident attorney provides the most substantial evidence to prove your claim is legitimate. They can legally represent you at hearings by the insurance provider and conduct negotiations on your behalf if you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident and cannot attend the hearing.
Understand Legal Technicalities
An experienced truck accident lawyer gives you the best chance of securing your claim without delay in the event of a crash. Several things should be considered when putting together a claim, such as the date and location of the accident and the available evidence. 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.
Consult With a Truck Accident Lawyer in Detroit, Michigan
Having someone legally represent you in the insurance claim process or court is essential to helping you resolve your truck accident case. The truck accident attorneys of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience handling vehicle accident claims and can help you maximize your compensation. Contact our law office for a confidential free consultation at 1-866-Mich Law (1-866-642-4529) or at www.cochranlaw.com to discuss the merits of your case and how our legal team can help you get the justice you deserve.
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 law, 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?
It depends on each case, but truck accident cases last from a few months to a few years.
In Michigan, how much money can I get from a truck accident case?
A truck accident case does not have any limits on how much compensation you can receive. The amount of compensation depends on several factors, including how much fault is with the truck driver.
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.