Michigan Truck Accident Attorney
Accidents with commercial trucks involve a very different set of issues than normal automobile accidents. The truck accident personal injury attorneys of Haque Legal, understand the specific nuances involved in semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents. At Haque Legal, our Michigan truck accident lawyers have the resources necessary to pursue your case. Truck accident cases can be costly to pursue and to properly investigate; having the necessary resources to handle these tasks is essential—we do!
Top 10 Truck Accident Factors
According to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the following ten factors are ranked in order of most common after analyzing hundred of potential factors involved in a truck accident. They are:
- Brake problems
- Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
- Prescription drug use
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliarity with roadway
- Roadway problems
- Required to stop before the crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
Our experienced truck accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your crash and build a strong case for maximum compensation.
The Tools Needed for a Successful Truck Accident Case
As we’ve mentioned, litigating a truck accident to the fullest extent can be a daunting and expensive prospect. Many lawyers and law firms encounter difficulty in properly handling a trucking case, due to the expenses associated with retaining expert witnesses. An accident involving a semi-truck must be thoroughly investigated. This investigation can be quite expensive. The first essential step performed by a truck accident lawyer is to have an opportunity to analyze the truck in its’ post-accident condition. We want our expert to review the black box data which provides a wealth of information on how the truck was being operated at the time of the wreck. Many lawyers either skip this process or handle the investigation on a shoestring budget. In order to demonstrate negligent maintenance and operation of a truck, we must diligently look into all aspects relating to the big rig itself. A thorough, diligent investigation of a tractor-trailer accident is expensive. There is no way around it. A cheap investigation results in the lawyer leaving money on the table at the time of settlement.
At Haque Legal, our truck accident attorneys have the experience and resources in place to try a commercial vehicle collision case properly. This is how we do it:
We have years of experience handling truck collision claims and have obtained favorable results.
The Haque Legal has recovered millions of dollars for victims of accidents with large commercial vehicles. The number of different parties potentially responsible for your injuries makes semi-truck accidents very complicated. The tractor is usually owned separately and apart from the trailer. This results in potentially two separate companies being responsible for your injuries. In turn, we will now have another set of defense lawyers involved in defending the claim. There are often many different avenues to getting you the compensation you deserve. For example, if we can prove the truck was improperly loaded with goods, the entity responsible for loading the truck may be liable along with the company that employs the driver. It is not uncommon for there to be multiple defendants in a tractor-trailer accident.
We recently recovered $3.2 million for a truck accident victim who suffered a traumatic brain injury. This case, due to extensive preparation and investigation, was settled in pre-trial mediation without the client ever having to go through a lengthy court battle. We were able to turn the case around based on what our expert uncovered through analyzing the black box data. The analysis of the black box data illustrated that the 18 wheeler was traveling 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Further, we retained an expert on trucking industry protocols. He combed through voluminous employment records to unearth numerous driving violations which enables us to amend our initial complaint and add a count for negligent hiring and retention. The respective insurance carriers were more amenable to resolving the claim and at a much higher amount due to the pressure of defending the case we had built. See here for more case results.
We identify all lines of insurance coverage.
Semi-truck accidents are inherently complicated as there are multiple lines of insurance coverage since the truck and the trailer are often owned by two separate corporations, and thus are insured by different carriers. We can hold you responsible, and pursue, both parties for the negligence that caused your injuries. This requires extensive investigation and the testimony of multiple expert witnesses, all of which Haque Legal truck accident attorneys are prepared to handle.
We have the financial resources to handle 18 wheeler accident cases.
Trucking accident cases are expert laden and costly since it is often necessary to prove complicated subject matters. Proving that a specific part failed, or that a specific hiring practice resulted in an injury, will require the expert knowledge of a hired witness. As a result, truck accident cases are very expensive to handle for a law firm. Since we have handled many different commercial truck cases in the past, we already have a network of witnesses and investigators ready to prove your case.
Every trucking accident requires a thorough and often expensive fact-finding mission.
As we’ve mentioned, there are many different avenues to pursue financial compensation in a truck accident case. There may be a potential claim due to improper or negligent maintenance of the truck. In order to determine this, we look at trucking logs, maintenance records, inspections records, etc. Additionally, there may have been an instance of negligent retention or hiring on the part of the trucker’s employer. In order to determine if this was a possible cause, we examine employment records, training, certifications of the driver, and past citations for violations such as speeding, safety violations, etc. It is also possible to pull camera footage on many highways, which can help determine the cause of serious truck crashes.
Michigan Trucking Accidents
Large commercial trucks are common across the State of Michigan as they are used to transport goods and materials for businesses. We rely on big rigs to deliver everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. But unfortunately, these mammoth vehicles can also be very dangerous. Every day in Michigan, there are nearly 11 serious crashes involving commercial trucks. And because of the size and weight of these vehicles, accidents involving trucks are often much more dangerous or fatal than your typical car accident.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Just like every other type of vehicle, semi-truck drivers are sometimes the cause of accidents and sometimes the victims. In addition to the normal dangers found on the road, such as distracted drivers and speeding, truck drivers also often have to face the danger of fatigue that can set in after long shifts at the wheel. This is because truck drivers are often paid by the load, so in order to make more money, they must make more deliveries. This can only be accomplished by driving for longer periods of time. This lack of rest is regulated by different governing agencies, but these rules are not always followed.
In addition to the danger of a truck driver’s own negligence, the vehicle itself can create a danger to other drivers. Sometimes trucks are loaded improperly or are not adequately inspected before the driver begins their route. Mechanical breakdowns during operation can lead to loss of control over what is often a 40-ton vehicle. Sometimes, poorly loaded freight can fall from the truck and damage unsuspecting motorists. These are just some of the unique issues facing commercial trucks.
The magnitude of an automobile accident involving a semi tractor-trailer truck is another variable in these types of cases. The sheer size and weight of these large commercial vehicles increase the danger of wrongful death and serious bodily injury to anyone involved in a truck accident (including the truck driver). Commercial vehicle accidents often result in traumatic brain injuries, broken appendages and bone fractures, serious damage to the neck and back, and neurological damage.
Truck Accident Liability
A commercial vehicle accident is a unique situation. Not only is the vehicle much larger than other vehicles, often resulting in catastrophic injuries, but the number of parties potentially liable for the accident is significant as well. Let’s take a closer look at the potential defendants in a truck accident case.
Potential Defendants in a Truck Accident Case
Since big rig accidents often cause very serious injuries–often significantly more serious than typical car accidents–it is important to identify every party who was potentially responsible in order to get the injured victim the compensation they will need to cover their current and future damages.
The list of parties potentially responsible for a serious commercial truck accident extends far beyond the driver. Liability for a commercial truck accident could include the driver’s employer, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, third-party contractors, and the insurance companies who hold the policies for each of the aforementioned.
Truckers often work within many different business relationships. They may work directly for the company they are delivering for; or they may be an independent contractor, simply hauling the goods for the company that owns the cargo. If the driver works directly for the trucking or shipping company, then that company may be liable for any negligence that led to the truck accident. In order to prove that this is the case, the injury victim’s attorney would need to prove that the accident occurred while the driver was driving directly for that company.
When a truck driver works independently–meaning they own their own truck and simply accept short-term contracts to haul a set amount of cargo from one destination to the other–the victim’s attorney would need to investigate how much oversight the contracting company exercised over the driver, and thus how much responsibility they have for the accident and injuries.
Determining which parties have some blame in the situation is important because as we mentioned, each of these entities likely will carry separate insurance policies that could potentially all payout separate amounts. The help of a truck accident lawyer helps ensure a semi-truck accident victim gets as much money as possible to rebuild their shattered life.
Semi Driver Fatigue Contributes to Accidents
The most common act of negligence that a driver can commit is driving while they are tired. Driver fatigue sadly results in thousands of unfortunate and senseless accidents on American roads each year. In the context of truck drivers, the potential for catastrophe is all too real when fatigue becomes an issue. Federal trucking laws, known as Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, govern:
- The amount of time a driver can be on the road for a single stretch;
- How much time must be taken off between shifts; and
- How many hours they can log during a specific week.
It’s not at all uncommon for drivers to falsify their driving logs in order to be able to drive for more time. In fact, many trucking companies imply or expressly request their drivers to falsify records. Sadly, many trucking outfits place unrealistic scheduling demands on their drivers, and sleep deprivation is often a common result.
Many factors result in truck driver fatigue:
- Long stretches of night driving
- Irregular schedules with little routine
- Unhealthy eating on the go
- Loading and unloading cargo in between trips
The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that fatigue plays a role in excess of 30% of trucking accidents.
Exposure Of The Broker Or Carrier
A broker is an entity that arranges for the transportation and/or movement of cargo by a motor carrier such as a semi-truck. The broker simply brings together the truckers and the company that is attempting to ship goods. Brokers utilize computer tracking software and data to monitor the movement of goods and the trucks they have brought in to handle the task.
In analyzing the liability of a broker, Haque Legal Michigan truck accident lawyers look at:
Did they do their duty?
Whether the broker has acted in accordance with their duty to inspect the motor carrier/truck, inspected the safety history of the truck and drivers with whom they have contracted with.
Where are they in control?
How much control the broker exercise over the truck and the driver. This can be investigated by inspecting the dispatch records, and whether the broker monitored and reviewed trip records or notes. Did the broker approve the receipts and bill of lading changes?
Negligent Maintenance and Hiring Claims
Trucking cases are generally very complex based on a bevy of state and federal laws that sometimes conflict with one another. We often retain experts to determine whether the trucking company utilized faulty equipment or was negligent in maintaining the truck itself.
Haque Legal truck accident attorneys examine the following:
- Were the tires defective, retread, or unevenly worn?
- Were the brakes, axles, hitches, and a variety of other parts working and checked routinely?
- Were the maintenance logs complete, updated, and in accordance with both state and federal statutes?
In regards to negligent hiring and retention claims, we will examine the employment history of the driver and determine whether such individual was properly trained and experienced in operating a semi-truck or commercial vehicle. There are federal and state provisions concerning the due diligence that must be applied by the trucking company in examining the driver’s safety history and criminal record. Trucking outfits can face massive liability for failing to adhere to such safety provisions
Damages from a Truck Accident
Just like after a car accident or any other catastrophe, a person injured during a truck accident is entitled to seek recovery for their damages so that their life can be restored as close to possible to its original state before the accident.
Truck accident claims can pursue compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Surgery and other medical treatment costs
- Rehabilitation fees and procedures
- Nursing home care costs
- Lost income during the incident
- Loss of earning capacity in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In certain cases, the injured victim’s family may seek compensation for loss of consortium, which means that their spouse or parent can no longer provide the same level of companionship they could before the accident.
Punitive damages, in certain extreme situations, may also be available if the driver or company acted in a way that intended to cause harm (“bad faith”) or in a way that they should have known would have caused harm. Punitive damages are meant to punish a company financially, like a fine, to discourage them from acting in a similar way in the future. It should be noted though that punitive damages are often dramatically lowered by judges and rarely covered by insurance policies.
Truck Accident Settlement
Seeking the appropriate medical care after a commercial vehicle accident is vital to protecting your health, but can lead to a mountain of medical bills. In order to pay for these bills, accident victims often accept extremely low settlement offers from insurance companies trying to quickly close the case. It’s important to remember that the insurance companies are looking to settle your 18-wheeler accident for as little money as they possibly can, all for the sake of profit.
Make sure you are aware of your rights if you are the victim of a collision involving a commercial vehicle. Whether you are the truck driver, or another motorist unfortunate enough to fall victim to a serious semi-truck crash, you have the right to recover from your injuries.
The trial attorneys at Haque Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, MI, specialize in personal injury law and have years of experience with all types of automobile accident claims. Our reputation for aggressively representing our clients to the insurance carriers is evident in our everyday diligent work toward maximizing our clients’ settlement offers. Rest assured, at Haque Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, MI, your truck accident case will be handled with the utmost importance. You will never be pressured to take an unreasonable settlement offer, as our lawyers are ready and willing to take the case as far as necessary when the insurance carrier fails to take the proper course of action and make a fair offer.
*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Fahd Haque or another injury lawyer at Haque Legal which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing personal injury law. Fahd Haque himself has been practicing personal injury law in Detroit and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms.
Contact A Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer At Haque Legal
In addition to our accomplished truck and car accident lawyers, Haque Legal works with several automobile accident investigators who will break down and reconstruct the accident scene. Whether your crash involved driver error, faulty mechanical equipment, or improper loading techniques, our truck accident investigators will get to the bottom of what caused the collision that injured you.
If you are the victim of an accident involving a commercial truck or are a driver, the truck accident lawyers at Haque Legal are committed to maximizing your recovery. We service clients all over the state of Michigan. Contact us or call (248) 996-9954 for a FREE consultation.