Fatal truck accidents happen all too often in Detroit and across Michigan, causing tragic deaths and devastating families. In a recent year, heavy trucks and buses accounted for almost 5 percent of all accidents in Michigan. As a result, 112 people lost their lives in collisions that could have been prevented if someone had exercised proper care and caution.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, know that legal help is available to you and your surviving family members. The Detroit fatal truck accident attorneys at Christensen Law are ready to help you seek the compensation, justice, and closure that your family deserves.
Call us or contact us online now for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Handling a Fatal Truck Accident Case in Detroit
If your family member has died in a truck accident that was not their fault, you may be feeling overwhelmed with grief and uncertainty. On top of everything else, you may be facing a stack of bills related to the accident, as well as funeral expenses. In the wake of such immeasurable loss, it is hard to know what to do or where to turn for help.
During this difficult time, a truck accident lawyer can help you pursue financial security. The lawyers at Christensen Law cannot repair the terrible loss you have suffered, but we can take on the fight to seek fair compensation and a measure of justice for the departed. Our experienced attorneys are prepared to deal with powerful trucking companies and insurance providers to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Truck accident cases, especially fatal ones, can be extraordinarily complex. This is because they can involve multiple liable parties and insurance companies, as well as a complicated set of state and federal regulations that apply to commercial trucks. However, with a skilled lawyer who is well-versed in trucking laws on your side, you will not have to navigate these challenges alone. With Christensen Law handling your case, you will have the time to grieve and honor your loved one properly, knowing we are taking care of all the details.
How to Prove Liability After a Truck Accident Fatality in Detroit
To secure compensation for a truck accident fatality caused by another party, it is necessary to prove that party’s liability. To demonstrate fault on the part of one or more parties, a truck accident lawyer will gather a range of evidence from different sources.
Multiple parties may be held liable for a fatal truck accident, all of which should be investigated. These could include the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo loader, and the truck manufacturer, among others.
To determine whether any are liable for the accident, a lawyer may collect the following evidence:
- Driver logs – Official driving logs may indicate whether the truck driver had worked for too long without a break and was therefore overly sleepy or exhausted at the time of the accident.
- Truck inspection – A professional inspection of the vehicle may reveal faulty brakes or other malfunctioning parts that contributed to the accident.
- Maintenance records – While faulty machinery may be chalked up to the truck manufacturer, the trucking company also has a legal responsibility to conduct regular maintenance and safety checks. Maintenance records may show that the company has failed to properly maintain the truck, with dangerous consequences.
- Black box data – The truck’s “black box” may have recorded the speed that the truck was traveling, whether brakes were applied before the crash, and other relevant data. These records may point to negligent driving behaviors, such as speeding or delayed reactions, on the part of the driver.
- Witness statements – Witnesses who saw the crash, or expert witnesses who help analyze it, can provide further insight into accident liability.
How Do Michigan No-Fault Laws Affect My Truck Accident Claim?
Michigan has “no-fault laws” for traffic accidents. Under this system, you are required to seek coverage for medical bills from your own insurance company, whether or not you are to blame for the accident. This stands in contrast to many other states’ laws, which direct injured drivers to file a claim with the insurance provider of the person who is at fault for the accident.
To cover the medical bills related to the truck accident, you will need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim with the deceased’s insurance provider. Unfortunately, this process can often prove long and complicated. The insurance company will want to minimize what it pays and is likely to demand extensive proof of the necessity of various medical costs that resulted from the accident.
Furthermore, the no-fault insurance policy will not cover non-economic damages. For example, the insurance company will not provide compensation for grief or other pain and suffering you have experienced. To help you recover these types of damages, a lawyer can advise you on the possibility of filing a wrongful death case against the at-fault parties.
When Is a Truck Accident a Wrongful Death?
Following the death of a family member in a truck accident, you may be wondering if the situation merits a wrongful death case. The answer to this question will depend primarily on whether another party is found to be at-fault for the accident due to their negligence.
Determination of negligence plays the same critical role in a wrongful death case that it plays in a typical personal injury case. This is because a wrongful death case is essentially a personal injury case that is filed on behalf of the deceased and the deceased’s survivors. Therefore, in order for a truck accident fatality to be considered a wrongful death, the accident must have resulted from the demonstrable negligence of one or more parties.
There are multiple parties whose negligent behavior could have contributed to a fatal truck accident. In some cases, more than one of these parties may be found liable. Those who might be held responsible for the wrongful death include:
- The truck driver
- The driver’s employer (the trucking company)
- The owner of the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck and/or its parts
- The cargo-loading company
- The company that maintained and repaired the truck
Damages in a Fatal Truck Accident Case
As you grieve the loss of a family member in a truck accident, the last thing you should have to worry about is a sudden financial burden. While financial compensation cannot ease the pain of an unexpected death, it can at least help to relieve the stress that comes with hospital bills, burial costs, loss of income, and more.
In Michigan, certain family members can seek damages through a wrongful death claim. These family members include the deceased person’s children, spouse, siblings, parents, and grandparents. The stepchildren of the deceased, as well as anyone who has been named in the will, may also seek compensation in a wrongful death case.
If you file a wrongful death claim, you may be eligible for different types of damages (or compensation). Depending on the particular losses you have suffered, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of future income
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- The pain and suffering of the deceased person
How a Lawyer Can Help with a Death Caused by a Truck Accident
When you lose a loved one in a truck accident, no monetary settlement can reverse their loss. However, a fair settlement may help you get back on your feet and ensure a stable future for yourself and your family. If you find yourself facing costly medical bills, funeral expenses, or a significant loss of family income, a truck accident lawyer can help with recovery.
An experienced lawyer can stand up to stubborn insurance companies and fight for a fair settlement. During this trying period, you should not have to take on the frustration of dealing with aggressive insurance companies. A lawyer can handle this on your behalf and will fight hard to seek the settlement you deserve from the insurance provider.
Furthermore, a lawyer will know how to deal with powerful trucking companies and others to pursue fair and full compensation. Trucking companies often have a team of attorneys ready to defend their interests, so it is imperative to have a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side. With comprehensive evidence and a deep understanding of trucking rules and regulations, your lawyer can maximize your chances at recovering full damages.
How Christensen Law Can Help You Win Your Fatal Truck Accident Case
At Christensen Law, we understand the devastation that comes with losing a loved one in a truck accident caused by someone else. You and your family are not alone. Our truck accident attorneys are ready to listen and to help.
While we have been recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms, Best Lawyers of the Year, and more, we are most proud of the compassion with which we approach each of our cases. Our goal is to establish a personal connection with our clients, to earn your trust through our commitment to excellence. We are passionate about fighting to obtain the compensation our clients deserve. When necessary, we are ready to go to trial and will litigate aggressively on your behalf.
Do not hesitate to seek the help you need in this challenging time. Many families find comfort in taking action to seek justice on behalf of their deceased loved one. For your free consultation with a truck accident lawyer, call us or fill out our contact form now.