The state of Michigan has nearly 111,500 registered commercial trucks, with 6,385 – or six percent – licensed to carry loads in excess of 80,000 pounds. The federal weight limit of 80,000 pounds can only be exceeded with a special permit.
While these vehicles fulfill the important task of getting goods to our store shelves and homes, they are still complex pieces of machinery. A commercial truck requires experience, skill and care to operate. When truck drivers operate their vehicles in a careless, negligent or reckless manner, they put motorists, passengers and others on the road at risk of serious harm.
Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, other motorists who are involved in collisions with them tend to bear the brunt of the accident. A truck accident can leave the occupants of other vehicles (motorists, motorcyclists and bicyclists) and pedestrians with serious, long-lasting, even life-threatening injuries. Serious injuries from a truck accident can mean weeks or months of recovery, and sometimes a full recovery to one’s pre-accident life isn’t possible. Sometimes the accident is not survivable.
Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in a Detroit truck accident through no fault of your own? If so, you deserve to hold those responsible for your accident accountable for your injuries and damages. Truck accident claims are complex and time-consuming affairs. You need experienced, knowledgeable legal expertise on your side. With the help of our truck accident lawyer in Detroit, MI, you have the best chance at securing the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact Christensen Law today to schedule a free initial case review. You can discuss the details of your truck accident with our skilled semi-truck accident lawyers. You will also learn more about your legal rights and options for pursuing financial compensation.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated
Many people may assume that truck accident claims are no different from any other kind of motor vehicle accident claim. In reality, truck accident claims tend to be far more complicated than your average car accident for these reasons:
- More evidence – The evidence in most motor vehicle accidents is limited to accident scene photos, vehicle repair reports, the vehicle’s event recorder, dashcam or surveillance video, the police accident report and witness statements. Truck accident claims require that our lawyers review those and many other pieces of evidence that are associated with commercial trucks, such as driver’s logs and load manifests, GPS data and more. We need to know the whole story of what happened that day that led to the crash.
- More potentially liable parties – Most motor vehicle accident claims involve the drivers in the accident. A business may be involved if one of the drivers was working when the accident occurred. However, multiple parties play a role in the trucking industry. Those parties, including the driver, the trucking company, its safety division and the cargo loaders, may bear some or all of the responsibility for a truck accident. There are specialized regulations that govern trucking companies that go far beyond the traffic laws private vehicles must follow. Finding these violations are critical to holding the trucking company fully responsible.
- Greater injuries and damages suffered by accident victims – The force of an impact with a commercial truck tends to inflict serious injuries on truck accident victims. As a result, those victims may still be undergoing treatment and rehabilitation as their claim is being resolved through a settlement or at trial. That means the injured party must try to estimate future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
- Liability is contested – The serious injuries suffered by truck accident victims means large financial damages, which may give at-fault parties a sense of “sticker shock.” The injured party may have significant damages due to serious injuries and estimated future expenses. As the at-fault parties try to reduce their financial exposure, they will deny or contest liability.
Who Can Be Held Responsible After a Truck Crash?
Multiple parties and companies are responsible for making the trucking industry function. Any one of these parties can commit an act or omission that leads to a truck crash. Potentially liable parties in truck accident claims include:
- The truck driver – Most truck accidents are caused by the truck driver’s negligence. When that is the case, the truck driver can be held responsible for the crash.
- The trucking company – The trucking company may be held responsible if it employs a driver whose actions cause a crash. The trucking company might also be held responsible for its own direct negligence. For example, the trucking company may hire a driver it knows poses a risk of causing an accident, or have unsafe policies that push drivers beyond their limits or let their equipment deteriorate.
- The truck’s owner – If the truck is owned by someone other than the truck driver or trucking company, the owner may be liable.
- The freight company – The company that loaded the trailer may be responsible if an accident is caused by an improper or unsafe load. Shifting loads are a common cause of truck accidents.
- The truck’s mechanic – The mechanic may play a part in the negligence if the accident is caused by negligent maintenance of the truck.
- The truck manufacturer or vehicle part manufacturer – The manufacturer may be on the hook if the accident is caused by a defect in the truck or a part in the truck.