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Michigan truck accident FAQs

Frequently asked questions about being injured in a tractor-trailer or commercial truck accident

Our truck accident attorneys have provided answers to the most common questions from injury victims following a crash in Michigan.

To speak with an attorney today, call us at or fill out our contact form. There advice is free, and we are here to answer all of your questions.

Q. What exactly is a commercial truck?
A. A commercial truck is a vehicle used for the transport of commercial goods. Examples of commercial trucks are semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, big-rigs, delivery vehicles, freight trucks, dump trucks, Mack trucks and bucket trucks. A typical, fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. Here's more information about types of truck accidents.

Q. How does the No-Fault law apply to my truck accident?
A. The term "No-Fault" means that both parties involved in a car or truck accident are entitled to benefits from their auto insurance companies, no matter who caused the crash. Regarding truck accident cases, Michigan No-Fault law can become very complicated due to several additional issues such as different insurance policies, workers compensation, the independent status of truck drivers and the location of trucking companies.

That's why it's best to retain a lawyer who has extensive knowledge of the No-Fault Law and experience handling Michigan truck accident cases. For free advice from one of our truck accident attorneys now, call .

Here's more information about Michigan No-Fault insurance law.

Q. What is a "first-party" truck accident case?
A. A first-party truck accident case is between the truck accident victim and his or her insurance company for No-Fault benefits. No-Fault benefits, also called personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, include medical expenses related to the truck accident, wage loss for the first three years following the crash, household replacement services (chores/help with children), medical mileage and attendant care (nursing services).

Q. What is a "third-party" truck accident case?
A. A third-party truck accident case is between the truck accident victim and the at-fault driver, to prove negligence. In a third-party case, the truck accident victim can pursue non-economic damages for pain and suffering.

Q. What is the statute of limitations for pursuing a truck accident claim in Michigan?
A. A truck accident victim has three years from the date of the crash to file a truck accident lawsuit in Michigan — unless it's a case involving a child. In that instance, the child has 12 months from his or her 18th birthday.

Q. What's the first thing I should do after a Michigan truck accident?
A. Contact police, assess the scene and make sure everyone is okay. Since it's common for trucking companies to send defense attorneys, investigators, and insurance adjusters immediately to the scene to mitigate and lessen the company's liability, do not speak with them or sign anything. Otherwise, you could unknowingly relinquish your rights or put your truck accident case in jeopardy. Here's a checklist of what to do at the scene of a truck accident and what to do after.

It never hurts to call a truck accident attorney with any questions or concerns you may have. Call Michigan Auto Law at for help and free advice today.

Q. I can't afford a lawyer to represent me, what should I do?
A. Our law firm understands that personal injury litigation can be expensive, and that people injured in serious truck crashes are the ones who need help the most. That's why Michigan Auto Law charges its clients on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyers are only paid if they win monetary damages for their clients.

We advance the cost of litigation until ultimate resolution of the case. This makes it possible for people of all means to hire the most qualified truck accident lawyers. Here's more information on how contingency fees work. Take a look at our 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

Q. How do I deal with a trucking company and its insurance carriers after a crash?
A. Many large trucking companies have teams of lawyers, accident reconstructionists and investigators ready at a moment's notice to deploy to the scene of any serious injury or death accident involving one of their trucks. Their job is to mitigate and lessen the trucking company's liability for the accident. It's best to contact an attorney before you speak with your insurance company or the trucking company and their insurance carriers. If you sign the wrong documents, you may unknowingly relinquish your rights or settle for less compensation than you are entitled.

Q. I was injured in a truck accident, can I receive money for the time I missed work?
A. It is possible to receive money for the time you missed work due to your truck accident injuries. Your recovery in a personal injury action can include payment for income lost through missed work and for any lost "earning capacity" resulting from the crash. According to Michigan law, No-Fault (PIP) benefits will cover the first three years of wage loss depending on your income, up to a maximum amount of about $70,000 a year. If an accident victim makes more than $70,000 a year, he or she could be entitled to "excess wage loss," which is covered by the wrongdoer's insurance policy.

Q. If I was partially at-fault for a truck accident, can I still win the lawsuit?
A. It is possible to win a truck accident lawsuit if you were partially at-fault. According to Michigan law, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at-fault for the truck accident, you are barred from recovering any non-economic damages for pain and suffering. If you are found less than 50 percent at-fault for the accident, your non-economic and economic damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault. Finally, even if you are at-fault in a serious accident, you will still be entitled to Michigan attendant care benefits.

Q. Who can sue in a Michigan truck accident injury or wrongful death case?
A. Anyone who is injured, or the family members of a person killed in a truck accident can sue for pain and suffering damages — as long as another person or entity is responsible for the accident. This includes children, who can sue through parents or guardians, and truck drivers if someone or something else was at fault for the accident. Here's information for truck drivers who have been in crashes and need legal help.

Q. Who can be sued in a truck accident case injury or wrongful death case?
A. Any person or entity responsible for causing the accident can be sued, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the shipping company and sometimes a load broker and the trailer owner. Additionally, any other driver or entity whose negligence contributed to the accident in any way can be sued, such as vehicle and tire manufacturers or public and private property owners.

Q. What can someone who is injured or killed in a truck accident recover?
A. For a first-party truck accident case, Michigan residents injured in truck accidents are always entitled to No-Fault (PIP) benefits such as wage loss, household replacement services (chores/help with children), and medical expenses including medical bills, prescription reimbursement, medical transportation/mileage reimbursement and attendant care.

Survivors of victims killed in truck accidents are allowed certain survivor's loss benefits, such as funeral costs of a minimum of $1,750.

For a third-party pain and suffering lawsuit, non-economic damages can be unlimited. However, the wrongdoer trucking company has an insurance policy limit, which is the maximum the insurance company will pay. Generally, the insurance company will make its best effort to keep any settlement within that policy limit. In interstate trucking cases, the minimum policy limit is $750,000.

But an experienced truck accident lawyer can get you all of the benefits and damages you are entitled. Steven M. Gursten has received record-breaking Michigan truck accident jury verdicts on behalf of his clients, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Call us at for free truck accident legal advice today.

Q. Who is responsible for paying my medical bills after my truck accident injury?
A. The answer to this question depends on several factors including what auto insurance coverage you purchased, what auto insurance company is providing your No-Fault insurance benefits, and whether your health insurance policy excludes auto accidents or takes a secondary position to the auto insurer. Most people have the auto insurer in secondary position to their health insurer, because it is cheaper. This may sound confusing and overwhelming, but a truck accident lawyer can take a look at your insurance policies and easily tell you where to pursue payment of your medical bills. Call us at for free truck accident advice today.

Q. Who pays for my vehicle damage after a truck accident?
A. Whether you receive compensation for your vehicle that was destroyed in a truck accident is based on what is specified in your individual auto insurance policy regarding coverage for collision and property damage. However, according to Michigan law, you are entitled to up to $500 for mini-tort coverage for any deductible that insurance doesn't otherwise pay.

Q. How much money will I receive for my Michigan truck accident case?
A. Every truck accident case and every person is different. It depends on several factors such as how serious your injuries are, how long the injuries last, the permanency of injuries and whether surgery is involved. In addition, the insurance investigation will be critical. Often, there are different layers of insurance coverage, excess layers, umbrella insurance policies or sister corporations. There can also be different entities, such as shippers and load brokers, who may also be responsible and have additional insurance coverage. Under Michigan law, you must have a "threshold" injury to qualify for a third-party pain and suffering case (against the wrongdoer driver and owner of the truck). This means that your personal injury from the truck accident must meet certain thresholds set by law.

Q. How long will my Michigan truck accident lawsuit take to resolve?
A. Each lawsuit is different, but generally, the time period could be anywhere from several months to three years.

Q. Where will my truck accident case be filed?
A. Where your truck accident case is filed depends on where the truck accident occurred and who is involved. The first location to file a lawsuit under Michigan law is the county where the accident occurred and the defendant resides, if both are the same. The second location is the county where the accident occurred and the plaintiff resides, if both are the same. If neither applies, the case can be filed in the county where the plaintiff and defendant reside or conduct business, if both are the same. If all of the above do not apply, the plaintiff has a choice to file in the county where the accident happened, or in the county where the defendant resides. If the defendant does not reside in Michigan, the plaintiff could file in the county where the plaintiff resides. If none of the defendants are from Michigan, the case can be moved to federal court, as long as the alleged value exceeds $75,000. A No-Fault (PIP) case can be filed anywhere the defendant conducts business.

Q. I'm a Michigan resident but my truck accident happened in another state, should I hire a lawyer from the state the accident occurred in, or a Michigan truck accident attorney?
A. It is in your best interest to contact one of our truck accident lawyers at Michigan Auto Law. Because Michigan is a No-Fault state, its truck accident law is highly complicated. Most out-of-state attorneys don't fully understand our insurance laws and trucking laws. We have handled serious truck accident cases throughout the United States, and we work with the most trusted out-of-state attorneys and experts to ensure the best results possible. We can help obtain your No-Fault insurance benefits and other damages. Take a look at the Michigan Auto Law Attorney Evaluator and our 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

Q. How are trucking companies regulated?
A. Trucking companies are regulated by the federal government. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes rules and regulations that govern commercial motor vehicles and the companies who operate these vehicles.

Q. Are trucks required by federal law to carry insurance?
A. Yes. Federal law requires commercial trucks traveling in interstate commerce to carry $750,000 of insurance for bodily injury and property damage. Michigan has adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules and regulations to govern its commercial trucks, so the insurance standard applies in our state as well.

Get help from a Michigan truck accident attorney today

If you still have questions, call one of our attorneys at or fill out our free contact form. There is no cost or obligation.

Here's more information about the special qualifications of our truck attorneys, and how we can help you.