Why does Michigan have more truck accidents than many other states? One reason is its lack of punitive damages.
Where damages are monies ordered by a court to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury, punitive damages are additional monies awarded when the defendant acted with recklessness, malice or deceit.
Specifically, punitive damages are a way of penalizing the wrongdoer and making an example to others.
Michigan lawyers cannot legally recover punitive damages against trucking companies that knowingly hire unqualified, careless truck drivers who commit safety violations that cause accidents. The absence of punitives allows bad trucking companies to continue to break the law and put profits over people, and to avoid being punished for egregious behavior that results in serious injury or deaths.
Here’s how it works without punitive damages: The trucking companies have insurance and the insurance pays for the injuries or deaths the trucking company causes in crashes. Meanwhile, the trucking company itself avoids any punishment — or any deterrent to doing it again — other than an increase in its insurance premiums.
Because lawyers in Michigan cannot sue a trucking company for punitive damages, the worst truck drivers who can’t find a job in states with tougher laws and punitive damages actually come to Michigan to drive large commercial trucks on our roads.
But just because Michigan’s law and public policy is one of the worst in the country does not mean your case isn’t worth fighting for. Despite the lack of punitive damages here, our truck accident lawyers have helped enforce important truck safety regulations to make our roads safer.
To speak with a truck lawyer today, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028, or fill out our free contact form. There is absolutely no cost or obligation.