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Michigan Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer: Call Now For A Free Consultation!

Michigan Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer: Were you injured in a commercial truck accident?

A Michigan commercial truck accident lawyer will help you win the compensation and noneconomic and economic damages you’re legally entitled to after you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a crash. The stakes are high for you and your family. Get an experienced Michigan lawyer who has handled hundreds of commercial truck accident cases and who understands this  specialized area of law on your side.

Commercial trucks are a type of motor vehicle used in business, primarily for the transportation of goods, people, and materials. They are subject to special federal and state safety regulations that other types of motor vehicles – like cars, pickup trucks and SUVs – are not.

These special federal safety rules for commercial vehicles are intended to protect the public.  Commercial transportation companies have to contractually promise to follow these mandatory safety rules. When these safety rules are followed, the likelihood of a crash plummets and people stay safe. When they’re violated, innocent people can get hurt or killed.

Hiring a specialized Michigan commercial truck accident lawyer who can identify when these rules are violated  will establish legal liability against the commercial truck that hurt you and your family.

These safety violations will also be an important factor in determining the amount of compensation and money damages that will be paid to you.  Although Michigan law does not have punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, to “punish” a commercial transportation company that willfully violates these mandatory safety rules, the saying that liability drives damages is very true.  The more rules that your Michigan commercial truck accident lawyer can prove were violated, the larger the settlement or verdict in a truck accident case tends to be.

Sadly, most personal injury attorneys, especially those that work for the large firms on TV, do not have this specialized experience.  This is why an experienced Michigan commercial truck accident lawyer who specializes in this area of law is so important in cases involving commercial truck crashes.  These cases involve specialized knowledge that a general practice or a personal injury attorney trying to handle 300 files just doesn’t have.

To learn how much your case may be worth in the hands of a Michigan commercial truck accident lawyer who specializes exclusively in truck accident law, check out our Settlement Calculator.

What is a commercial truck?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) define a “commercial truck” as any self-propelled or towed truck used on a public highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the truck: (1) has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more; (2) is designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver; or (3) is used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity that requires placards under federal hazardous materials regulations (49 CFR § 390.5).

A separate set of the FMCSR governing uniform licensing standards for commercial vehicle drivers uses a slightly modified version of this definition. The difference in the definition is in the gross weight limits. The licensing standards apply to operators of vehicles with gross weight ratings of 26,001 pounds or more rather than 10,001 pounds or more (49 CFR § 383.5).

The FMCSRs establish the equipment and operating rules for motor vehicles that transport goods and people in interstate commerce.

Commercial truck characteristics

Our Michigan commercial truck accident lawyers provide the specific characteristics that distinguish a commercial truck from other vehicles below:

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): Commercial Trucks typically have a high GVWR, which is the maximum weight that the vehicle is rated to carry, including the truck’s own weight. This weight can range from 26,001 pounds (11,794 kg) and higher.
  • Multiple Axles: Commercial trucks often have multiple axles to distribute the weight and provide stability when carrying heavy loads.
  • Trailer Compatibility: Many commercial trucks are designed to tow trailers, which can further increase their cargo-carrying capacity. These trucks are often equipped with a fifth wheel coupling or a similar mechanism to connect with trailers.
  • Specialized Cargo Beds: commercial trucks can have various types of cargo beds, such as flatbeds, refrigerated trailers (reefers), dry van trailers, tanker trailers, and more, depending on the specific transportation needs.
  • Diesel Engines: Commercial trucks are commonly powered by diesel engines, which provide the torque and durability needed for long-haul transportation.
  • Large and Tall Cabs: Many commercial trucks have larger, taller cabs with sleeper berths to accommodate long-distance truck drivers who spend extended periods on the road.
  • Safety and Compliance Equipment: Commercial Trucks are required to have various safety and compliance equipment, including reflective tape, proper lighting, mud flaps, and more, to meet regulatory standards.
  • CDL (Commercial Driver’s License): The operation of commercial trucks typically requires a specialized commercial driver’s license (CDL) due to the increased size and complexity of these vehicles.
  • Weight and Size Regulations: Commercial trucks are subject to strict regulations regarding their weight and size. These regulations help ensure safety on the road and protect infrastructure.
  • Function: Commercial trucks are primarily used for transporting cargo over long distances.

Why are commercial trucks so dangerous?

Our Michigan accident lawyers know commercial trucks are essential for the transportation of goods and materials but are generally more dangerous than other types of motor vehicles on the road for several reasons:

  • Size and Weight: Our Michigan truck accident lawyer are aware that commercial trucks are significantly larger and heavier than most other motor vehicles. As a result, the physics involved in truck accidents involving Commercial Trucks can lead to devastating consequences, as the impact of forces is so much greater than with a passenger car.
  • Longer Stopping Distances: The sheer weight and size of  Commercial Trucks require much longer distances to come to a complete stop, increasing the likelihood of rear-end collisions.
  • Limited Visibility: Our Michigan commercial truck accident lawyers know commercial truck drivers have more restricted visibility.  While there is no such thing as a “blind spot” if a trucking company is training its driver properly and employing side mirrors to eliminate blind spots, there are areas around the truck that have restricted visibility.   A good example is directly behind the truck. This is why truck drivers are trained in G.O.A.L., or Get Out and Look.  These areas can make a crash involving a large commercial truck more likely when a transportation company does not have a good safety and training program.  
  • Truck Driver Fatigue: Our Michigan commercial truck accident lawyers know that commercial truck drivers often face rigorous schedules with few breaks, which leads to fatigue and impairs reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Maintenance and Mechanical Failures: Commercial Trucks are always on the go, with little down time, which means mechanical failures occur more often. Failure to maintain/replace brakes, tires, and other essential parts increases the risk of a crash.·       Distracted Driving: Like so many other drivers on our roads, commercial truck drivers can also be distracted by calls, texts, and other forms of distracted driving.  However, because these large trucks are more akin to “moving brick walls,” the consequences can be so much worse when a truck driver is driving distracted. 
  • Weather Conditions: Our Michigan commercial truck accident lawyers know commercial trucks are less maneuverable in adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, and ice. Wet and/or slick roads make it challenging for commercial truck drivers to control their vehicles.
  • Inexperienced or Unqualified Drivers: Proper training is paramount for commercial truck drivers. Lack of experience and qualifications greatly increases the risk of accidents.
  • High Center of Gravity: Commercial trucks often have a higher center of gravity, making them more prone to rollovers, especially when attempting to navigate sharp turns at higher speeds.
  • Cargo Shifts: Improperly secured or balanced cargo might shift during transit, which affects the commercial truck driver’s ability to maintain the vehicle’s stability and control it. This, too, can lead to rollovers and serious accidents.
  • Hours of Service Regulations: As noted, fatigue-related accidents occur when truck drivers exceed their allowed hours of service as regulated by government authorities. This can be a common occurrence in the industry. 

Driver error is the most common cause of commercial truck accidents

Our Michigan commercial truck accident lawyers found that these types of driver errors most commonly cause collisions involving commercial trucks: (1) speeding; (2) driving without enough rest; (3) driving under the influence of substances such as drugs, alcohol or prescribed medicine; and (4) being distracted by phones or other electronic devices.

Pain and suffering after a commercial truck crash

An experienced Michigan lawyer likely be able to recover pain and suffering compensation after a commercial truck accident as well as other noneconomic damages if you have been injured in a crash. Determining pain and suffering, unlike determining economic damages for medical bills and lost wages, depends on proving that the defendants were negligent and that your injuries have affected your  normal, pre-accident life under Michigan’s auto accident injury threshold law.

Wrongful death lawsuit after a commercial truck accident

When a commercial truck accident has taken the life of your loved one, you may be able to hire a Michigan lawyer to recover damages and compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent parties. 

Damages in a wrongful death action include medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of your loved one’s financial support, society and companionship.

No-Fault benefits after a commercial truck crash

No-Fault personal protection insurance benefits – which are also referred to as No-Fault PIP – are also available if you have been seriously injured in a commercial truck crash in the Great Lakes state. These PIP benefits will help you pay for your medical bills, lost wages, transportation costs for medical appointments, and attendant care services. 

The insurance company that will pay your No-Fault insurance benefits will likely be your own insurer. If you don’t have auto insurance, then you may be able to claim benefits through a policy purchased by your spouse or a relative who lives in your home. If coverage is not available through any of those sources, then you will need to apply for benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.

Your application for benefits – whether filed with the responsible insurance company or with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan – must be filed within one year of your crash. If it’s not filed within that time, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits. 

Settlement and compensation for a commercial truck accident

The most important factors our that will affect how much compensation you may receive in a settlement include: (1) your injuries, (2) your present and future medical needs, (3) your present and future lost wages, (4) the extent of the liability coverage of the truck driver, trucking company and other defendants, and (5) the track record and reputation of your Michigan commercial truck accident lawyer.

Generally speaking, interstate trucks will have a minimum of at least $750,000 in liability coverage (the federal minimum) to cover bodily injury and property damage, but many commercial transportation companies will often carry significantly more. 

Were you injured in a commercial truck accident in Michigan and need a lawyer? Call now for a free consultation.

Michigan Auto Law has lawyers that specialize in commercial truck accident cases. For more than 50 years, our trucking litigation attorneys have been helping people like you who have been injured in truck accident injury and death cases. We have a demonstrated record of success, including the  largest recorded truck crash settlement in the state.  Our Michigan lawyers have also recovered the largest jury verdict for a commercial truck accident more years than any other attorney or law firm in the state.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a commercial truck accident and you want to seek compensation, you can call one of our experienced Michigan lawyers at (800) 968-1001  for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by visiting our contact page or chat feature on our website.

Commercial Truck Accident