Truck accidents are life-threatening and can often cause fatal injuries to the victims who were involved in the crash. In 2018 alone, tractor-trailers caused 112,000 crashes that lead to injury and 414,000 crashes that resulted in property damage. The damages caused by a semi-truck accident are typically much higher than car crashes, which is why the settlement amount can be as high as $100 million. When you have been in a Michigan truck accident, you will need a lawyer to represent your case to help you get the maximum settlement amount. The trucking company may be liable for your injuries and can be held responsible for the damages you received because of the Michigan truck accident.
After you have been in a truck accident, you will need compensation for your injuries. The truck driver may be at fault for your damages, based on whether they were following the rules of the road. You can work with an experienced Michigan truck accident lawyer to help you get the representation you need. They can make sure you are treated fairly and identify if you are eligible to receive compensation. Contact All Law PLLC for a free consultation.
Does My Insurance Cover Damages?
When you experience a Michigan truck accident, typically, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will help cover costs for some of your medical bills and property damage, based on the allowances of your insurance policy. This is because Michigan is a no-fault state. However, the damages that you experience because of a semi-truck accident can go far beyond the limits of your PIP insurance.
How Much Will My Settlement Be?
After a semi-truck accident, the driver may be responsible for your damages if they are at fault for the crash. The amount of the settlement is entirely dependent upon the circumstances of the crash. For example, the settlement may be lower if your injuries were minor. However, if the accident was catastrophic and you have permanent injuries, the settlement amount can increase.
Settlements are estimated based on several factors, including medical bills, present and future wage loss, and pain and suffering. A truck accident can cause broken bones, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, scarring, and other injuries resulting in temporary or permanent disability. When this is the case, your attorney can add this to your total compensation to remedy the losses you experienced. Wrongful deaths caused by a Michigan truck accident will result in the highest settlement amount. This is because the victims of the truck accident are now lost to their loved ones, and often leave a massive financial deficit behind. Truck accident lawyers can help you estimate this amount, as they are experienced and understand how to calculate an accurate cost for your damages.
Other Reasons the Truck Driver Can Be Held Liable for Your Damages
In addition to severe injuries, the truck driver’s behavior can be scrutinized to reveal any negligent behavior that may have contributed to your accident.
The Truck Driver Was Abusing Substances
Some truck drivers use drugs while on duty. Most of these drugs can impair cognitive thinking and slow down their ability to react to the stimuli around them. Because they aren’t able to stay fully alert and focused on the road, truck drivers may be more susceptible to accidents.
The Truck Driver Wasn’t Taking The Required Breaks
All truck drivers are required to take breaks according to FMCSA regulations and their company’s policy. They usually keep track of these breaks on their log and stick to a routine schedule. When truck drivers don’t get enough sleep, they can get drowsy and fall asleep at the wheel. Sleepiness also causes the driver’s reaction time to slow down.
The Truck Driver Was Speeding
Commercial truck drivers sometimes speed while they are transporting goods across the nation. Many truck drivers have received citations for their behavior even if an accident hasn’t occurred because they break the law by going over the speed limit. On average, citations have reported speeds of six to ten miles per hour past the speed limit. Semi-trucks hold a lot of cargo and can weigh 10,000 or more pounds, making it difficult for a truck driver to slow down in time before hitting the vehicle ahead of them. A truck takes about twice as long to slow down as a car and requires 600 feet of stopping distance if they are driving 65 miles per hour. This is in comparison to 300 feet for a car. Speeding can put all nearby drivers at risk and cause a major Michigan truck accident.
The Truck Driver Has a Bad Driving Record
If the truck driver has a history of repeat offenses, this can be used as supportive evidence to show they are liable for your damages.
What Do I Do After a Michigan Truck Accident?
Once you’ve been in a truck accident, you should take steps towards documenting and building your case. This way, your truck accident lawyer will be able to use that evidence to represent you to obtain fair compensation for your damages.
After you’ve been in a Michigan truck accident, you need to take pictures of the scene to show how bad the damage is. Take pictures of your vehicle, the truck, and any other cars involved in the car wreck. Also, take pictures of your injuries to show that they were caused by the truck accident.
Collect Contact Information
There will likely be many witnesses at the scene of a Michigan truck accident. You should collect their contact information so that they can further support your case. Also, you will need the contact information of the truck driver and the company they work for.
Wait for the Authorities
Because a truck accident typically results in a high amount of property damage, police will show up to report what happened. The police will write an official report that can be used as evidence at a later date.
Get Medical Help
Your truck accident can cause many disabling injuries as well as pain and suffering. The next step is to get medical treatment so that your doctor can make sure your wounds are properly taken care of. This way, you know what your personal injuries are and can include the treatment of them in your settlement. It is better to do this sooner rather than later because there may be complications with reporting injuries weeks after a truck accident.
Get the Help of Michigan Truck Accident Lawyers
You can then request the help of a truck accident lawyer to help guide you through the next steps of initiating a settlement claim. Your truck accident lawyer will inform you how to interact with insurance companies, prepare your settlement, and tell you which damages you can include in your claim. In the worst-case scenario, truck accident lawyers can represent you in court if you have to file a lawsuit.
How Does a Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Truck accident lawyers are talented in communication, investigation, and representation, which means they can negotiate with the other party to provide compensation for your damages. They can help you receive a fair amount for your settlement.
Your Michigan truck accident lawyer will accurately calculate your settlement to show the value of your damages. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.
Your economic damages are based on your personal injuries, property damage, and wage loss. This means that all of your medical bills are covered, which include imaging scans, emergency room visits, prescription medicine, physical therapy, medical tests, surgery, and more. You can include any follow-up appointments and additional clinical treatment.
Also, any missed time from work will be covered. If you expect to miss work in the future, your projected wage loss will be calculated. You can also include missing wages from the time you took off from work, as well as the ongoing cost of being unable to work full time. Damage to your car that isn’t covered by your insurance company is also covered.
Your non-economic damages will mostly be based on the pain and suffering you experienced. This means that any feelings of shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more can be added to your settlement. Also, you may feel physical discomfort and pain from your wounds. Your truck accident lawyer will calculate this based on a multiplier based on the economic damages you can receive. The multiplier can be anywhere between 1 to 5, with the highest being based on how severe your injuries are.
If your truck driver exhibited grossly negligent or intentional behavior, then punitive damages could be awarded by the court, which can increase the settlement amount.
Wrongful Death Damages
When any of the truck accident victims pass away, you can claim wrongful death damages if you are a surviving family member or spouse of the deceased. These damages include burial fees, funeral costs, lost earning capacity, lost benefits, and income loss. Additionally, non-economic damages include loss of consortium, guardianship, companionship, mentorship, and more. If the victim left behind dependents, their welfare would also be included in the settlement. Your truck accident lawyer can guide you on other damages you can include.
Your attorney will prepare and draft all of the documents detailing the damages you experienced. They help neatly correlate what happened during the accident, the causes of the crash, and how they tie into your injuries. This information is used to make a case against the driver and is sent to all parties for review.
Your Michigan truck accident lawyer will collect information on your behalf. They will obtain a police report, the truck driver’s logs, inspection logs, and more.
Black Box Data Collection
Your attorney will request the black box data from the truck, as this information can be very telling about the truck’s performance right before the accident. The black box data records technical information from the truck and can even contain information on emails. When the truck driver braked, how fast the truck driver was going, the incline the truck was at, and other pertinent information can be provided by the black box.
Surveillance Footage Acquisition
There may be traffic cameras around the area where the truck accident happened. If this is the case, your attorney can request that footage and review it to see if the crash was caught on camera. This is the most straightforward evidence that can be used to prove who is at fault for your injuries.
Substance Abuse Investigation
If the police officer on the scene or witnesses observe that the truck driver is acting strangely, then the authorities may administer a test. If the truck driver happens to be under the influence of drugs, your attorney will collect information on their drug use. They can obtain the truck driver’s drug test and will also be given access to their medical records.
Your attorney will help you negotiate a fair settlement amount. They will continue the negotiations for as long as it takes for the other parties to agree to your demands. Attorneys update you on the progress and will relay any updates on the settlement negotiation. If the negotiations fail or go on for an extensive amount of time, your attorney will help you file a lawsuit.
Although unlikely, in the case that the other party doesn’t come to an agreement and won’t agree to a fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit. You will attend a pre-trial meeting before the court session, where the other party is given one last chance to settle. After that, your attorney will represent your case before a judge, contact witnesses to testify, and inform you how to proceed.
Get Help From a Truck Accident Lawyer in Michigan
Truck accidents are incredibly hazardous and can put many lives at risk. Because you may experience more serious damages than you would in a car accident, the settlement amount tends to be higher. The trucking company will be covered by an insurer that may not want to provide a full settlement. You should use a legal professional on your side to help fight for your right to full compensation. After a truck accident, you can work with a dedicated attorney who can provide guidance and negotiate your settlement on your behalf. Contact All Law PLLC for a free consultation.
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