It’s difficult to head out on a Michigan roadway and not see at least one semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or similar commercial vehicle. They’re everywhere.
But how many people stop to consider how dangerous these vehicles can be? Compared to the average car or SUV, commercial trucks are many times larger and more powerful. According to Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting, there were 11,867 accidents involving trucks in 2020 alone. Several thousand of these involved serious injuries, and some even caused fatalities.
Sharing the road with these huge vehicles is a risk Michiganders face every day. And for those who have been in a serious accident with one of them, just compensation is deserved. This is where Michigan’s Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys come in. Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys help their clients understand the complex and confusing process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Michigan. They are in their clients’ corner, fighting for their rights and just compensation, and taking their cases to court when necessary.
Michigan Truck Accident FAQs
How long do truck accident lawsuits typically take?
Every truck accident lawsuit will be different, so it’s difficult to judge the expected timeframe accurately. 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 takes 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.
What is the timeframe for filing a lawsuit after a truck accident?
In the State of Michigan, drivers typically have three years to file a truck accident lawsuit. In general, it is recommended that drivers file as soon as possible, however, while the evidence and witnesses’ memories are fresh and in order to get what may be a lengthy process started.
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, keep in mind that the amount of compensation received on a trial judgement will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
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 a 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 truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance provider offers to settle?
Insurance companies may try to “settle” truck accident cases so that they don’t have to go to court and can be finished with the case. Most often, they’ll offer up a small sum at first just to see if they’ll get any bites. This sum may appear substantial to the victim, but is highly unlikely to be the sort of compensation the accident actually merits. Unfortunately, many victims of trucking accidents accept one of these initial settlement offers because they are intimidated and lack the experience of proper legal representation to know where they stand as to the actual value of their claim.
For most laypeople, it’s nearly impossible to know how much a given truck accident case is worth in terms of adequate compensation. The insurance companies, their adjusters and attorneys will bank on this and try to take advantage of it. However, with good legal representation, truck accident victims can either negotiate with the insurance companies for an appropriate settlement amount or reject the settlement offer and proceed with their lawsuit.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Trucks are a constant part of the landscape on the major roadways of America. And their size, power, and ubiquity can make them lethal.
After decades of sharing the road with these vehicles, experts can see where their biggest potential for damage and harm lies. The most common types of truck accidents are:
- Blind spot accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Underride accidents
- Side impact accidents
- Head-on accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Cargo-related accidents
Serious Injuries Caused in Truck Accident
Because of their size and weight, trucks are the most lethal vehicles on the road, and as such, accidents with them are often severe and sometimes fatal. These are the most common serious injuries that occur from trucking accidents:
- 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)
- Neck and back injuries (bulging or herniated discs, for example)
- Injuries to the spinal cord (including paraplegia and quadriplegia)
- Permanent scars
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries (concussions, closed head injuries)
Truck Accident Claims
When someone is hit by a large commercial vehicle such as a semi-truck, they typically must file a truck accident claim in order to receive compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering. In order to be successful in such a case, the plaintiff (the person or party filing the claim against the truck driver or trucking company) must show that fault for the accident was primarily with the truck driver and/or trucking company.
Sometimes, personal injury truck accident cases are brought against the individual truck driver. However, keep in mind that the case will really be against the driver’s employer, a larger trucking company, who is vicariously liable for its individual truck driver-employee’s negligence, or the company’s insurance company. Furthermore, it is often the policies and procedures put in place by the driver’s trucking company themselves that are really to blame for the resulting accident. In such cases, the plaintiff may end up suing the trucking company directly.
Proving fault is necessary because the driver or trucking company may, at the same time, be trying to claim that the accident was all or partly the plaintiff’s fault. In order to prove their liability, the plaintiff must have evidence that supports their own claim. This is where seasoned truck accident lawyers make all the difference. A confident and experienced legal team will help their client build a strong case that supports their liability claim.
When to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
It’s best to hire a Michigan truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the event. When dealing with a large trucking company, it’s certain that their legal team will be on the scene immediately, assessing vehicles’ damage, examining the truck’s black box, and performing other tests and examinations.
Victims involved in the accident should have their legal teams doing the same thing as soon as possible. The sooner injured drivers obtain proper legal representation, the sooner they can hire experts and perform their own investigations. They should be there for all tests and examinations performed by the trucking company’s legal team.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
First, it is 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 those with 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.
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-scene. Everyone should explain their version of events in their entirety.
Finally, 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 the 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. Finally, call a Michigan truck accident lawyer to begin legal proceedings.
Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys’ Promise to you
Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys cares about its clients. 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.
How Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys Can Help
Michigan’s Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys has the experience with trucking accidents you’re looking for. We would be happy to sit down with you any time to discuss your case and provide you with viable legal options to help you recover a justified compensation.
The sooner you begin your case, the sooner you’ll have the peace of mind you deserve. Give us a call today to learn how we can help.