More Information About Michigan Truck Accidents

The Difference Between a Truck Accident and a Car Accident

Your truck accident attorney should treat your truck accident claim differently than a standard automobile accident. Aside from being larger than a regular vehicle or SUV, the injuries and legal issues are magnified. Truck accidents usually involve significant damages, complex liability issues, and multiple injured parties.

Commercial truck drivers traveling through Michigan are subject to more laws and safeguards to protect motorists than the driver of a standard automobile. Michigan and federal laws provide vigorous guidelines to protect against these types of accidents as trucks cause more damage and catastrophic injuries. They are also more likely to involve multiple cars and high speeds on highways, four-lane roads, and interstates.

Truck accidents include any accident in which a large truck was involved, including:

  • Tractor-trailers;
  • 18-wheelers;
  • Farm equipment;
  • Big rigs;
  • Semi-trucks; and,
  • Commercial vans.

All have the possibility of causing significant damage.

Common Injuries from 18-Wheeler Accidents

In truck accidents, injuries may range from minor to severe to catastrophic. However, the chances of a severe or catastrophic injury are higher when a large truck meets a standard-sized vehicle on the road. Head and neck injuries, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries are all more likely to be severe and long-term when a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler is involved.

Common injuries that we see in truck accidents include:

  • Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries;
  • Paralysis;
  • Broken bones and fractures;
  • Soft tissue injuries;
  • Concussions;
  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Blunt force trauma;
  • Cuts and lacerations;
  • Nerve and muscle damage; and
  • Loss of consortium.

With a personal injury lawsuit, you can potentially recover compensation for all medical expenses associated with these injuries.

Truck Accident Claims

Types of Defendants and Causes of Liability

There may be several defendants in a truck accident case.

The Truck Driver

First, the driver of the truck may be responsible for causing the accident. Drivers of commercial vehicles are customarily required to hold a commercial driver’s license. Their accident history, medical background, and safety records are relevant and may be discoverable.

The driver may be fully or partially at fault for your accident. For example, the driver may have been tired, distracted, or under the influence of alcohol or prescription medication.

The Trucking Company

Second, the trucking company may also bear responsibility for the accident. They may have hired inexperienced drivers or drivers with poor driving records. They may have known that their driver was acting against the safety rules and regulations.

The trucking company may also have known or should have known that the truck was not appropriately maintained or needed repair.

The Truck Maintenance Company

Third, you may be able to sue the company that performed maintenance on the truck. If the maintenance company did not use proper care in repairing or maintaining the truck, they might have some responsibility for the accident.

The Truck Manufacturer

Finally, the manufacturer of the truck may be responsible for the accident if the truck or components of the truck were defective or poorly designed. 

A Michigan truck accident lawyer can explore the circumstances and evidence in your case to be sure that the proper parties are held responsible for causing your injuries.

Types of Expenses and Other Damages That May Be Available

After an accident, you may experience the following tolls on your finances and time:

  • Loss of income;
  • Medical bills;
  • Future medical expenses;
  • Ongoing treatment;
  • Rehabilitation or physical therapy;
  • Home care; or
  • Costs for fitting your home for individual accommodations as a result of your limitations.

If you were employed, then you may have missed work after the accident while receiving medical treatment or for hospitalization. You may have also had to miss work while visiting doctors, receiving physical or occupational therapy, and seeking other treatments for your injuries.

The damages referenced above fall into two categories: (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic losses generally refer to those that are assigned a monetary value and for which money can repair or replace the damage you’ve sustained. Economic damages can compensate a claimant, or injured party, and restore that person to the same financial condition they were in before the accident.

Typically, these include medical expenses, lost income and benefits, property damage, and other quantifiable damages. Under Michigan law, you can recover your loss of future income.

Non-Economic Damages

’Non-economic damages are available for the pain, suffering, disfigurement, and emotional distress resulting from your semi-truck accident. Non-economic damages, however, are more difficult to quantify because they are intangible.

Contact a Michigan truck accident lawyer today for a free consultation.

Act Quickly to Preserve Evidence and Build Your Case

Truck accident litigation involves more evidence than other accident claims.  An investigation needs to be launched to preserve evidence before a trucking or insurance company destroys it. Even more than a regular car accident, it is essential to contact an attorney to preserve evidence and build your case against the at-fault parties.

Especially in truck accidents, the truck driver, trucking company, and commercial insurance company will have representatives at the scene of the accident. Contacting a Michigan truck accident attorney to start working on your behalf will strengthen your case and help preserve your rights.

Additionally, all cases have specific limitations on when a claim can be brought in court, called statutes of limitations or limitations periods. In Michigan, a car or truck accident case usually must be brought within three years from the date of the accident. But shorter limitations may apply, so it is essential to speak with  a lawyer for a truck crash to preserve your claims and discuss whether a shorter limitations period applies.

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