Semi-truck accidents are devastating events that can result in painful and life-changing injuries. Unfortunately, these collisions are often the result of someone else’s recklessness. If you’ve been hurt in a Detroit truck accident, you have the right to hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions.
From a legal standpoint, truck accident claims are some of the most complex. Christensen Law are highly skilled and experienced trial attorneys in truck accident cases. Our legal team recovered a record-breaking $17.8 million verdict on behalf of a Wayne County woman struck by a cement truck. We can help answer any questions you have about your case.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about truck accidents in Michigan. For a personalized case review, call or contact us today for a free consultation.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
If you were involved in a Detroit truck accident, there are several important steps you can take to protect your rights and any future legal claims you may need to file:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Even though many serious injuries may not show symptoms right away, it’s a good idea to establish a record that links your physical condition to the accident.
- Gather information. Get the names, phone number, insurance information, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers for anyone involved in the wreck. If there are witnesses, get their contact information, too.
- Document the scene. Take pictures or videos of the accident scene. Images of the vehicle damage, your injuries, road signs, weather conditions, accident debris, and other visual evidence can be compelling proof when it’s time to negotiate with the insurance company.
- Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer. Your Michigan no-fault insurance company will need to learn about the wreck promptly. A lawyer can handle this step for you, which can take the pressure off and prevent you from saying something that accidentally jeopardizes your claim. An attorney can also help you identify and preserve crucial evidence that could otherwise be legally destroyed by trucking companies.
- Maintain records of all your accident-related expenses. This includes medical bills, wage loss, rehabilitation expenses, transportation costs to medical appointments, and vehicle repair invoices. A daily journal detailing the impact of the accident on your life can help support a claim for pain and suffering.
- Avoid discussing the details of your accident with anyone other than your lawyer. You’re likely going to be contacted by your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurer. Don’t agree to make a statement or sign any releases before you’ve spoken with an attorney.
What Is FMCSA?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was created in 2000 to monitor and reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial vehicles like trucks, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers. The agency develops data-driven regulations and safety recommendations for the trucking industry and partners with other agencies to monitor truck drivers and trucking companies.
Proving that the at-fault party in your claim violated FMCSA rules can strengthen your claim for compensation. However, it’s no simple task to read and interpret federal regulations. A skilled truck accident lawyer will understand FMCSA rules and how they interact with Michigan laws governing trucks.
Are Truck Accidents and Car Accidents Handled Differently?
No two motor vehicle collisions are alike, but truck accidents are vastly different from car accidents for several reasons:
- Truck accidents tend to cause more damage. Large trucks have a much greater force of impact than standard passenger cars. That often means more serious injuries and property damage, which increases the value of the claim and could give victims the ability to collect compensation beyond their no-fault benefits.
- More than one party could be liable for a truck accident. There are many parties involved in the operation of a commercial truck, including the driver, the trucking company, the truck’s owner, and cargo loading businesses, among others. In cases involving multiple parties, settlement negotiations are bound to result in liability disputes.
- Different traffic regulations apply to the trucking industry. Truck drivers are subject to many unique regulations set by FMCSA, such as hours-of-service restrictions and record-keeping requirements. A lawyer can identify whether any violations of these rules may have contributed to the crash.
- Different insurance policies apply to truck accidents. Trucking companies are required to carry insurance policies with higher coverage limits than most car drivers. Also, there are often multiple insurance policies involved that cover drivers, truck owners, and even the cargo being transported by the truck separately.
With so many unique factors to consider, you’d be well-advised to work with a truck accident lawyer who can investigate the case, examine the evidence, and build a solid case that demands maximum compensation for you.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
If a Detroit truck accident results in the death of a loved one, surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim for compensation.
A wrongful death claim is brought when someone’s negligent or intentionally harmful actions causes another’s death. The purpose is to compensate loved ones for any material costs or personal suffering they incur as a result of the loss.
When a family has grounds for a wrongful death claim, they usually appoint one individual as a personal representative who brings the case on behalf of the whole family. The personal representative, who may also be appointed by a judge, typically files a claim with the help of a truck accident lawyer and participates in the legal process of negotiating a fair financial settlement for the family.
What Should I Look for in a Truck Accident Lawyer?
When you search for a truck accident lawyer, consider the following questions:
- What payment options do they offer? If an attorney insists on any upfront fees, it could mean they aren’t confident in their ability to win your case. Many law firms, including Christensen Law, offer their services on a contingency fee basis. This means we only charge you legal fees if we win money for you.
- Do they have experience with truck accident claims? Specialized knowledge is critical in truck accident claims, so ask lawyers if they have real-world experience pursuing these cases to trial.
- Does their firm have a track record of success? Review the firm’s history of case results and online testimonials to see what previous clients say about working with them. Pay attention to any relevant experience that could be useful for your claim.
- Do they communicate and listen effectively? The most important thing to consider is whether you feel comfortable trusting a particular lawyer with your case. Are they committed to transparent communication? Do they listen to your concerns? At Christensen Law, we strive to form personal connections with our clients and provide straightforward, honest information every step of the way.
What’s Involved in a Detroit Truck Accident Investigation?
The majority of truck accident cases are investigated by police officers, lawyers, and insurance adjusters to determine the contributing factors that most likely caused the accident. A truck accident investigation usually includes:
- Photos, video footage, and witness statements
- Records from the truck driver and trucking company, such as safety and compliance history, GPS data, and cell phone records
- Electronic data such as truck black box recordings, footage from in-cab dashcams, and records from trucks’ electronic logging devices
- Expert witness testimony
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Any individual or entity that was responsible for the truck accident can be held liable for resulting damage or injuries, including:
- Truck drivers: Drivers can be responsible for truck accidents if they were reckless on the road. Many truck accidents are caused by drivers who are drowsy, distracted, or impaired behind the wheel.
- Truck owners and trucking companies: Trucking companies and owner-operators may be liable for crashes if they fail to properly inspect, maintain, or repair their trucks. Trucking companies can also be at fault if their negligent hiring practices put an unqualified truck driver on the road.
- Mechanics: If truck mechanics or repair companies are negligent in their inspection or repair duties, they can be liable for crashes caused by unaddressed problems in a truck’s mechanical components.
- Parts manufacturers: If a truck’s components are defective to begin with, the manufacturers of those parts can be liable for accidents that occur due to equipment failures.
- Cargo loading teams: Cargo-loading teams that overload trailers or fail to secure cargo properly can be liable if excess weight or shifting cargo causes truck drivers to lose control and crash.
How Can Christensen Law Help Me?
If you were injured in a Detroit truck accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to the dedicated truck accident lawyers at Christensen Law. We’ll investigate your truck accident claim, gather valuable supporting evidence, and negotiate aggressively for the compensation you deserve.
Our team has decades of experience securing real results for Michigan accident victims just like you. Contact us today for a free initial case review to find out more about how we can help.