Michigan Semi Truck Accident Law: What You Need To Know
When you have been injured in a semi truck accident in Michigan, one of the most important things you can do is hire an experienced attorney who understands the law in Michigan. These types of automobile crashes are very different from one involving a passenger motor vehicle, and having an attorney that can show the federal and state safety rules and regulations that were violated can help to get you the best possible settlement for your injuries and losses.
To find out what your case may be worth, please check out our Settlement Calculator.
What is a semi truck accident?
In Michigan, a semi truck accident is a crash that involves a commercial vehicle that consists of a “tractor” (which most people call the “cab”) and the trailer which carries the freight and is hitched to the tractor. These vehicles are also called “18 wheelers” and “tractor trailers.”
What are the types of semi crashes in Michigan?
In Michigan, there are many types of semi truck accidents that may occur, but the most common include: (1) head-on collisions; (2) rear-end crashes; (3) broadside accidents; (4) a jack-knifed tractor-trailer; (5) roll overs; and (6) truck underride crashes (where a passenger vehicle slides underneath the truck’s trailer).
Causes of these types of crashes
In Michigan, the most common cause of semi truck accidents involve driver error. However, as every commercial motor carrier has a non-delegable duty to safely train, supervise, and monitor their drivers, even cases involving truck driver error usually involve a larger failure in the safety system of the company itself.
Other examples of failures in safety systems include: (1) trucking companies negligent hiring of unqualified and unsafe drivers; (2) truckers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; (3) dangerous out-of-service-trucks; (4) chameleon carriers; (5) truck driver fatigue; (6) no punitive damages; (7) bad weather; (8) speeding; (9) failing to yield; and (10) improper lane usage.
You legal rights to pain and suffering compensation
After a semi truck accident, you or a loved one may be able to recover pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault truck driver, the owner of the truck, the motor carrier and other responsible parties. You will need to prove the truck driver was negligent and you will have to comply with the laws of the state in which the crash occurred.
Your legal rights to wrongful death compensation
If you have lost a loved one in a crash with a semi, then you and your family may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, the owner of the semi truck and other responsible parties.
In most states, a wrongful death lawsuit allows you and your family to recover damages for: (1) medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses; (2) pain and suffering compensation; and (3) loss of the deceased’s financial support, society and companionship.
Who can be sued after a semi truck accident?
In Michigan, the following parties are the ones you may be able to sue after a semi truck accident: (1) the driver who caused the crash; (2) the maintenance company; (3) the shipping company; (4) the load broker; (5) the leasing agent; (6) the trailer owner, if different from the owner of the tractor; (7) the loading company; and (8) the vehicle manufacturer.
How much could my settlement be worth?
In Michigan, the amount of the settlement you can recover after a semi truck accident will depend on the liability coverage limits of the truck driver and truck company involved. Federal law requires interstate trucks to have a minimum of $750,000 to cover bodily injury and property damage.
Trucks that are hauling hazardous materials and large buses may be required by federal law to carry a minimum of $5 million in liability coverage.
Other factors that may affect the amount of your settlement after a crash with a semi include your injuries, medical needs (present and future), work disability and the experience and track record of your attorney.
Your legal rights to Michigan No-Fault benefits
When you have been injured in a semi truck accident in Michigan, you are entitled to collect No-Fault PIP benefits from the responsible auto insurance company to help pay for your medical bills, lost wages, transportation costs for medical appointments, and attendant care services.
To protect your right to recover Michigan No-Fault insurance benefits, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called a “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after your crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
Generally, the insurance company that is responsible for paying your No-Fault insurance benefits will be your insurer or the insurer of your spouse or a relative living in your home. If no coverage is available through those sources, then you will need to apply for No-Fault benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
If you do not file your application on time, then the auto insurance company will use this to deny your claim and refuse to pay any and all of the No-Fault benefits you would have otherwise been entitled to.
Were you injured in a semi truck accident? Get help from a Michigan Auto Law truck crash attorney
If you are injured in a semi truck accident in Michigan and you want to know about your legal rights to sue for pain and suffering compensation as well as other non economic and economic damages, you can speak to an experienced attorney at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced trucking attorney by visiting our contact page or chat feature on our website.
Michigan Auto Law specializes in semi crash cases and receives referrals from lawyers all over Michigan and the U.S. Michigan Auto Law attorneys have spoken at nearly 300 seminars and legal education programs throughout the country, educating other personal injury lawyers on how to handle semi truck accident cases. Attorney Steven Gursten is a past-president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group. Michigan Auto Law is also the only law firm in Michigan that has national board certification in truck accident law.
Our law firm has an extensive record of success, including recovering the highest recorded semi crash jury verdicts and settlements over multiple years, according to year-end compilations of settlements and trial verdicts by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. These include:
- $34.5 Million – A Michigan Auto Law attorney and his team secured the largest-reported tractor-trailer crash settlement in the U.S. for the year of this crash. It is the largest truck settlement to date by any Michigan attorney or law firm. The defense’s “final offer” before trial was $14 million. The case settled for $34.5 million in trial.
- $13.5 Million – Our attorneys settled a case for a victim in a car vs. tractor trailer crash who suffered major burn injuries.
- $10.5 Million Truck Accident Settlement – A Michigan Auto Law attorney obtained this recovery for a woman who was seriously injured when a truck crashed into her vehicle.
- $9 Million – Our attorneys obtained this recovery for a man who lost both of his legs in a rear-end collision. This was the largest pain and suffering trucking settlement of the preceding decade for a rear-end crash in the state. The insurance company for the trucking company attempted to settle this case for $1 million with the client’s previous attorney, who had urged the client to take this offer before a Michigan Auto Law attorney got involved in the case.
- $6.2 million – This confidential out of state trucking death case was settled by a Michigan Auto Law attorney, who was brought in to try the case by another attorney after the insurance company made a “final” offer of $1 million dollars to the widow of the man who was killed.
For more than 50 years, our semi truck accident law attorneys have been helping people like you who have been injured in truck crashes and truck crash wrongful death cases. Our lawyers understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships you are experiencing. We can help.