If You’ve Been In An Accident with a Truck, A Michigan Accident Lawyer Can Help
In 2020, the state of Michigan saw nearly 12,000 fatal car accidents involving a truck or bus, and an additional 1,734 fatal crashes involving small trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds. All told, this makes up for approximately three percent of all fatal accidents in the state that year. This, of course, doesn’t even account for the many, many truck accidents that do not result in a fatality.
There’s a long list of reasons for why accidents that involve trucks are so often so horrific, so damaging, and sometimes even deadly. The size and weight of a truck, when compared to that of a passenger vehicle, is enormous, and means that when the two collide, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are far more likely to be injured and even killed.
If you or a loved one has experienced the trauma of a truck accident in the state of Michigan, we are deeply sorry for your suffering. There’s no way to undone the pain of an accident, but we can help you through it. At Munley Law, we are dedicated to achieving justice for all truck accident victims, and are ready and waiting to fight for you. Our decades of experience taking on big trucking companies — and winning — makes us your best option when dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident. Don’t wait: call us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn how we can protect your interests.
The Trucking Industry in Michigan Today
Like many industries across the nation, the Michigan trucking industry was thrown into chaos during the pandemic. With supply chains disrupted and many experienced drivers concerned about getting sick, an industry with a notoriously high turnover rate saw an even greater exodus than before. Mickey Blashfield, President and CEO of the Michigan Trucking Association, noted that in order to meet demand with fewer drivers, overtime restrictions were loosened. This means that drivers were spending even longer hours on the road, leading to an increase in fatigue, which universally increases the risk of an accident for all drivers.
This impact of losing so many drivers is still felt today, and in response, the trucking industry has made several moves to get people back on the road. However, because of this, many new, inexperienced drivers have joined the field, and inexperience is one of the key factors leading to an increased risk of accidents involving truck driver’s. What’s more, changes have been made that allow drivers who have substance abuse violations to renew their licenses if they can demonstrate sobriety.
All of this means that today’s truck drivers, in Michigan and elsewhere, are more exhausted, less experienced, and potentially have a history of substance abuse while on the job. All of this taken together leads to an environment that’s fertile ground for possible accidents.
What Do You Do After a Truck Accident?
Experiencing an accident is terrifying, particularly if that accident involves an 80,000 truck. In the wake of the accident, your adrenaline may be high, but it’s important to remember what to do — and what not to do — in order to remain safe and ensure you have a strong case down the line.
- Seek medical care. Your first and most important responsibility is to make sure you’re safe and secure medical care if needed. Get yourself taken care of before worrying about anything else.
- Call the police. Even if the other driver tries to persuade you not to, it’s always wise to call the police. This is especially true if the accident involves a company truck. In fact, in the state of Michigan, you are legally obligated to call the police after an accident if there is an injury, a death, or any property damage over $1,000. Calling the police to the scene guarantees there will be an official account of the accident. In the report, the officer also may include their opinion of who is at fault in the accident.
- Exchange information. You should exchange information with any and all other parties involved, particularly the truck driver, before leaving the scene. This information should include: contact information, insurance information, insurance policy number, driver’s license number, and employee number if the driver has one. You can also exchange information with any witnesses at the scene, as they may be able to provide helpful insight into what caused the collision.
- Document the scene. Even if the police are documenting the scene, it’s recommended to do the same yourself as well. Take pictures of all the vehicles involved, their license plates, the surrounding area, and any visible injuries. You can speak to witnesses for their perspective. You can also photograph skid marks, debris, and any other elements that seem relevant to the accident.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. You should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Michigan is a no-fault state, which means that you’ll ultimately receive coverage through your own insurance policy. However, depending on the extent of your injuries, filing a personal injury suit may still be an option.
- Call a Munley Law truck accident lawyer. Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as you can after the accident. You will likely start receiving calls from insurance adjusters as soon as the day after the accident, and they may try to pressure you into admitting fault or agreeing to a statement. You’ll want all of this communication to go through your lawyer, so it’s best to get someone on board as soon as you’re able. What’s more, some of the evidence you’ll want your attorney to procure is time sensitive. For instance, the black box in many trucks that will record crucial information about an accident usually tapes over itself in a matter of days or hours, so you’ll want a lawyer that can secure this information as soon as possible.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for a Michigan Truck Accident?
It’s in your best interest to hire an experienced Michigan truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. It’s true that having an attorney can be extremely helpful after any type of accident, but it’s somewhat of a necessity if your accident involves a truck. But why is this, and what exactly can your truck accident lawyer do from you?
- Defend you against a powerful company. When an accident takes place between two regular passenger vehicles, the parties typically involved are the drivers and their insurance companies. Depending on the state the accident happens in, the injured party will file a claim with either their own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But when one of the parties is a commercial truck, things immediately become more complicated.Not only is the driver a potentially liable party, but so is the company as a whole. And if this is a big company — think Amazon, FedEx, UPS, FritoLay — they likely have a great deal of experience battling these kinds of claims and paying out as little as they possibly can. They’ll have a great show of force on their side, and may even attempt to pressure you into accepting a settlement that’s unreasonably low. Having an experienced truck accident attorney, like the ones you’ll find at Munley Law, ensures that you have someone advocating for you against a powerful corporation.
- Gather evidence. If you file a personal injury suit against the truck driver, the trucking company, or any third party involved, you’ll need a great deal of evidence in order to both prove the other party’s negligence and illustrate the extent of the damage it caused to you. Your attorney will both know what evidence to look for and how to get it. This may include things like: the truck’s black box, driver training records, phone records, vehicle inspection records, evidence as to whether the driver has a history of substance abuse, and more. All of this is crucial in making your case and can be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain without a lawyer.
- Secure you a fair settlement. If you are not adequately reimbursed through insurance, as you very likely may not be, you may choose to file a personal injury suit. If you do, the aim will be to achieve a settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and all other impacts and losses that occurred because of the accident. Your lawyer is the first line of defense in securing you this settlement. They will know how to calculate abstract areas of compensation like “loss of enjoyment”, and when to turn down or accept an offer from the other side.
- Represent you in court. The vast majority of personal injury suits in Michigan settle out of court, but in a select few cases, a trial becomes necessary. If this happens in your case, you can rest assured knowing your Munley Law lawyer is prepared and capable of protecting you in the courtroom. While some personal injury attorneys only deal with settlement negotiations, all of our experienced lawyers have years of hands-on experience defending clients in court.
What If the Truck Accident Results in a Death?
In the worst and most devastating of cases, truck accidents can result in a death. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may consider filing a wrongful death suit. In Michigan, a “wrongful death” is defined as “Whenever the death of a person, injuries resulting in death, or death… shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another, and the act, neglect, or fault is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages.”
In other words, a wrongful death is one in which someone’s negligence or wrongful act resulted in a death, and if the deceased party had survived, they would have been entitled to pursue compensation for their injuries. In a case like this, the suit is usually pursued by the spouse, children, parent, or other nearest kin of the deceased party. Possible damages this person may obtain include:
- Expenses for hospital bills and burial
- Compensation for the deceased party’s pain and suffering
- Compensation for the income the deceased party would have brought into the home
- And more
In Michigan, whoever is bringing this claim has three years from the date of the death to do so. If you have lost a loved one and are contemplating pursuing this course of action, contact one of our Munley Law attorneys today. We can guide you through this overwhelming process and help you bring justice for your loved one.
Why Munley Law?
Here at Munley Law, it is our privilege to fight on your behalf. We aim to secure you both the justice and the compensation you deserve in the wake of your car accident, and we are ready to protect you every step of the way. You deserve compensation for the trauma you’ve been through, and you should not have to endure the secondary trauma of financial strain.
At Munley Law, we treat our clients like family. This means we give every case the dedication and sensitivity that it deserves, and are always available to answer your questions. We’ll work tirelessly to secure a settlement that works for you and your family, but if you need to go to court, know that we can protect you there too. All of our lawyers have hands-on courtroom experience, and can confidently defend you in a trial should the need arise. We will be by your side for every step of this process.
We believe that each and every truck accident victim deserves justice. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Munley Law to discuss your case and learn how we can be of service. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation, and remember, you don’t pay a penny unless you win.