Trucking accident causing permanent orthopedic injuries and disability
Truck and pedestrian accident causing death
Truck Accident Attorney
Helping You Recover When a Truck Puts You in Harm’s Way
Helping Truck Accident Victims Throughout Michigan
Semi-truck accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries or even death due to the size and weight of the vehicle. While you expect truckers to drive better than the average person on the road, they are still human and can make mistakes or drive negligently.
Our experienced attorneys at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys understand how devastating these accidents can be. Since our founding, our semi-truck accident attorneys have been committed to providing comprehensive legal services to individuals throughout Michigan. You are not alone in this — let our team help you.
The Scope of the Problem in Michigan
In Michigan, a commercial truck is classified as:
- Any vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
- A transportation vehicle that can carry 16 or more passengers
- A vehicle that is transporting hazardous materials
Since 2020, accidents involving semi-trucks and commercial vehicles have increased in frequency. Out of the 479,336 reported traffic accidents in Michigan in 2021, 14,972 of them were caused by trucks or buses. Additionally, out of all fatal crashes that occurred in 2021, trucks and buses were responsible for 103 of those accidents. This is a 32% increase when compared to data from 2020.
Although it’s impossible to predict these numbers will increase or decrease, it is important to note that the current truck driver shortage could potentially increase the likelihood of accidents occurring. It’s possible that companies could hire more inexperienced drivers, and existing drivers may have to deal with the strain of chaotic and unpredictable delivery schedules.
Leading Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Even with all the regulations truck drivers have, they often get in accidents. In some cases, it’s because someone in a passenger vehicle isn’t paying attention to a truck’s blind spots or cuts off a truck — they can’t stop on a dime. However, in other cases, the truck driver, the driver’s company, or another party is at fault. Some of the leading causes of semi-truck accidents include:
- Loss of Control: A tractor trailer could jackknife for many reasons, including poorly maintained roads, improper cargo loading, aggressive driving, snow, ice, etc. Once a trucker loses control, it isn’t easy to regain control.
- Collisions: Other drivers can cause a trucker to wreck. For example, if a passenger vehicle merges too close to a truck, it might cause the driver to slam on the brakes, resulting in the driver losing control of the truck.
- Distracted Driving: Truck drivers are often distracted. They may be on the phone or using a CB radio. Since heavy-duty trucks take much longer to stop, just a three-second glance off the road could result in a catastrophic wreck.
- Improper Cargo Loading: When a load is not properly balanced, it could cause a truck to roll over.
- Driving Under the Influence: The drunk-driving laws governing truck drivers are much stricter than those that govern average drivers. Instead of a 0.08% blood alcohol level, a truck driver is considered impaired if they have a blood alcohol level of 0.04%. Even with these strict rules, some truck accidents are still caused by drunk driving.
- Speeding: Traveling too fast around a curve, too fast for weather conditions, or too fast for traffic conditions will ultimately result in a wreck.
- Fatigue: Although truck drivers must take federally mandated breaks, they can still drive tired, especially if they don’t sleep on their time off. And when over-the-road drivers get tired, it can lead to fatal mistakes, including running out of the travel lane or rollovers.,
Common Truck Accident Injuries
The sheer size and velocity of a semi-truck accident can cause life-altering injuries including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Neck injuries
- Crash injuries
- Broken bones
- Amputated limbs
- Wrongful death
What to Do After an Accident With a Truck
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident involving a commercial or semi-truck, the steps you take following that accident are important. Once vehicles change positions and witnesses leave, you may no longer be able to obtain important pieces of evidence that can help any potential legal case you may have. Here are the steps you should follow an accident has happened:
- Contact the police. The police can write a report, which can be vital in demonstrating how the accident happened and who the police think could be at fault.
- Seek medical attention. You should always seek medical attention following a commercial or semi-truck accident. Be sure to save any medical documents and invoices.
- Gather contact information from any eyewitnesses. Be sure to get their full name, address, email address, and phone number. If desired, you can also obtain a witness statement from the individual.
- Take photographs of the accident scene. Be sure to photograph your vehicle and the commercial truck. Also, be sure to photograph anything you feel may have played a role in the accident, such as the weather or poor road conditions.
- Request a free case evaluation. An experienced semi-truck accident attorney can help you better understand how to move forward with your truck accident claim. The sooner you talk to an attorney after an accident, the better.
How Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys Can Help You
Our team at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys can help you:
- Determine whether you have a case
- Understand your rights under Michigan law
- Provide steps on how to move forward with your case
- Calculate potential damages
- File a personal injury claim
- Collect and gather evidence to prove negligence
- Defend you in court if a settlement cannot be reached
It’s always important to partner with a law firm if you are pursuing a truck crash lawsuit, as they can be complicated to navigate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
There are many factors that are at play in a commercial or semi-truck accident. Please view our FAQs below to learn more about these types of cases. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our firm.
FAQs for a Truck Driver
Does Workers’ Compensation Help Pay My Expenses While I Am Off Work?
Workers’ compensation will cover any expenses related to medical care, wage loss, and rehabilitation. Please view our workers’ compensation page for more information.
How Long Will it Take to Settle My Claim?
The timeline will vary depending on many factors, including your employer’s insurance company, the details of your accident, determining who the at-fault party is, and whether or not a settlement is even possible. When you request a free case evaluation, our semi-truck accident attorneys may be able to provide a timeline estimate.
How Long Do Truck Accident Lawsuits Typically Take?
The timeline will vary depending on many factors, including your employer’s insurance company, the details of your accident, determining who the at-fault party is, and whether or not a settlement is even possible.
In most cases, these types of lawsuits take more than a year and sometimes several years to conclude. The biggest factor as to how long a truck accident lawsuit may take is whether or not the parties are able to reach a settlement, or whether it instead requires a trial.
For this reason, it is imperative that those injured in Michigan truck accidents seek legal representation as soon as possible.
FAQs for a Passenger or Car Driver
How Do I Prove Negligence?
Proving negligence in any personal injury case requires establishing three facts: (1) A standard of care, (2) that one or more persons or entities breached that standard of care, and (3) the injuries and damages you sustained were a direct result of that breach of the standard of care.
For semi-truck accidents involving commercial vehicles, the standard of care could be as simple as following traffic rules.
If a truck driver violated these traffic rules, then they have breached that standard of care. However, all semi-truck accident cases are different. To prove negligence, it’s recommended that you seek assistance from an experienced attorney.
Are Truck Accidents & Car Accidents Considered the Same?
No. Although Michigan’s No-Fault laws apply to both truck and car accidents, these accidents are still different. First, a semi-truck or commercial vehicle is heavier and more dangerous to operate compared to a standard passenger vehicle. Often, the injuries sustained from a semi-truck accident are more severe.
Second, truck drivers typically have more blind spots than the average driver and due to the sheer weight of a truck, it can be difficult for drivers to suddenly maneuver or stop.
Lastly, there are a number of federal trucking regulations that drivers and trucking companies must follow — these regulations can also affect how semi-truck accident cases are investigated and litigated.
How Do I Determine Who is At-Fault?
When compared to an accident involving passenger vehicles only, commercial vehicle accidents can be complicated because there are so many parties involved. Some of these parties include the negligent truck driver, the driver of the passenger vehicle (or other vehicle), maintenance companies, the manufacturer of the truck, the trucking company, and more.
To determine who is at-fault requires a deeper analysis of the case. As previously mentioned, every semi-truck accident case is different. For example, if the trucking company hired an inexperienced driver, and it can be proved that the driver’s lack of experience caused the accident, then the trucking company may be at fault. On the other hand, if the accident was caused by a malfunction in the commercial vehicle, the at-fault party could be the maintenance company (if it can be proven that maintenance work was performed negligently) or the trucking company (if it can be proved that there was no maintenance work done when it was supposed to have been done).
Every case is unique. You can request a free case evaluation with our team to learn more about who may have been at-fault in your specific situation.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The standard statute of limitations for personal injury causes of action in Michigan is three years, although the statute of limitations for medical malpractice and other specific causes of action vary.
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover?
As with most personal injury cases, you may be able to recover three types of compensation: Economic, non-economic, and exemplary/punitive.
Economic damages refer to any actual expenses incurred after the accident, which could be medical care, prescription medication, rehabilitation, wage loss, vehicle damage, and more.
Non-economic damage refers to damage that isn’t connected to any specific monetary value, such as mental, physical, or emotional pain and suffering.
Lastly, punitive damages are not recoverable in Michigan, exemplary damages are similar and allowed, but are rare in semi-truck accident cases. Exemplary damages can potentially be rewarded to the plaintiff if it’s proven that the defendant exhibited malice or willful misconduct.
How Much is an Average Trucking Accident Settlement?
This depends on multiple factors, including the truck driver and/or trucking company’s degree of fault, how serious the resulting injuries were, what treatments or surgeries were required, and what the long-term injury prognosis is. Some trucking accident injuries result in irreparable injuries or disability. This can limit a person’s ability to work and earn money in the future, which can amount to significant damages.
There are also those cases that involve fatality. Such a death is the worst thing imaginable for the surviving family. It can also mean a loss of household income, which can likewise amount to significant damages. There is no maximum limit as to what a truck accident settlement may be.
What if the Person Injured in the Truck Accident Was Partly at Fault?
In some cases, trucking accidents are not “clear cut” in that the plaintiff who is filing the claim against the truck driver or trucking company may have also been at fault for the accident. This doesn’t mean that the plaintiff can’t receive compensation, however.
In the State of Michigan, a plaintiff may be up to 50 percent at fault for a serious accident and still receive compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering.
In these cases, however, the amount of compensation received on a trial judgment will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in a Truck Accident?
Because of their size and weight, trucks are the most lethal vehicles on the road, and as such, accidents involving trucks are often severe and sometimes fatal.
The most common serious injuries that occur from trucking accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Injuries to the knees and shoulders (rotator cuff tears or a torn meniscus, for example)
- Face and body burns
- Nerve damage (typically in the legs, hands, and arms)
- Injuries to the spinal cord (including paraplegia and quadriplegia)
- Permanent scars
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries (concussions, closed head injuries)
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
First, it’s important to ensure the safety of everyone on the scene. If it is suspected that anyone requires immediate medical assistance, call 9-1-1 right away. EMS will generally arrive quickly to treat the injuries. Wait for their arrival and stay on the scene while being treated and for as long as possible thereafter — as long as it does not compromise anyone’s health.
Second, it’s critical to disclose any and all pain points and injuries to EMS personnel. It is required that all serious road accidents be reported to the police as well. Provide as many details as possible to the officers who arrive on the scene. Everyone should explain their version of the event in their entirety.
It’s a good idea to write down everything possible about the event and to do so right away. Those involved can use their phones to take pictures and videos of injuries, vehicle damage, and other driver’s information. Snap photos of their driver’s license, license plate, and insurance card. Ask any eyewitnesses what they saw. Jot down what they say and note their contact information as well.
As soon as you can in the aftermath of the accident, contact a Michigan truck accident lawyer to begin legal proceedings.
Request a Free Case Evaluation Today
We understand that approaching a lawsuit after a trucking accident can be daunting.
At this moment, you are probably in pain — both physically and emotionally. You may be dealing with a loss of mobility or even the loss of a loved one. You’re probably drowning in medical bills. Finally, if you’re up against a large trucking company, they may be doing their best to intimidate and persuade you to release or resolve your claim for less than its value.
Their heavy-handed and large legal team can make your case feel like a lost cause — but it doesn’t have to be. Having experienced trial attorneys on your side will make all the difference. Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure just compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering.
We are happy to sit down with you to discuss your case and provide you with viable legal options to help you recover justified compensation.
Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys has offices located in Grand Rapids, Boyne City, Ann Arbor, Southfield, and Birmingham. The sooner you begin your case, the sooner you’ll have the peace of mind you deserve. Give us a call today or contact us online to learn how we can help.