How Truck Accidents Are Different From Car Accidents
Truck accident cases are often treated the same as car accidents by Michigan lawyers because the underlying Michigan No-Fault laws and filing requirements are the same. But there are critical differences that separate truck accident cases from other types of Michigan auto negligence cases. Truck accident lawyers who understand and respond immediately to these unique laws, safety regulations and truck company defense tactics are best positioned to help those injured in serious commercial truck accidents — especially since truck crashes are increasing daily on the freeways of Michigan’s congested cities, like Southfield, Detroit, Lansing and Traverse City.
Certain Laws Apply Only to Michigan Truck Accidents
For starters, there are specific federal and state laws that apply to truck accident injury cases that do not apply to other types of accident injury cases. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations (Title 49, parts 350-399) govern all trucks engaged in interstate traffic. Since the Michigan Department of Public Safety has adopted title 49, parts 382-384 and 390-399 of the federal regulations, the laws now apply to all trucks driving on Michigan roads.
There are also specific notice requirements under state and federal law that many local attorneys simply would not know — unless they are experienced with Michigan truck accidents and the special laws that apply.
Michigan Truck Accidents Have More Liable Parties
Liability after a truck accident may be the result of someone other than the truck driver, such as truck manufacturers, distributors, suppliers or retailers supplying defective parts. Too often, inexperienced attorneys don’t consider the additional parties. When the injuries are catastrophic or cause death, the failure of lawyers who are unfamiliar with the law can result in losing the additional insurance policy limits that could have been applicable to compensate the truck accident victim or family.
Truck Accidents More Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury
By definition, a large truck weighs more than 10,000 pounds. Therefore, crashes involving large trucks are more likely to result in serious personal injury and wrongful death than car accidents because of their sheer mass and larger size. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 10 percent of people involved in a truck accident in Michigan will be killed, requiring an attorney to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Large tractor-trailer trucks also carry a higher probability than cars of being involved in deadly multiple-vehicle crashes, because they can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds.
Trucking companies are required by federal and state law to keep records of equipment safety and drivers’ hours. But many attorneys fail to inspect these records, which is a huge mistake. That’s because trucking companies can destroy their records after a certain time period has passed. Poor equipment and driver fatigue can cause truck accidents, so careful study of the records may be needed to determine if negligence has occurred.
Michigan Auto Law Has the Experience to Handle the Differences
A truck accident lawyer from Michigan Auto Law has the knowledge and experience to pore through records, know the intricacies of state and federal trucking laws and to consider other liable parties, thus increasing the likelihood of getting an appropriate verdict or settlement for a truck accident victim.
Steven M. Gursten, who is an attorney and principal at Michigan Auto Law, is a past president of the Interstate Truck Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice and serves on the Board of Governors for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. He regularly speaks at seminars throughout Michigan and the United States, helping other lawyers properly handle truck litigation and truck injury accident cases. If you feel that you have a just claim for compensation, call a Michigan truck accident attorney. For a free, no obligation case evaluation, please fill out our contact form and we will respond to your inquiry within one business day. Or to speak to an attorney immediately, please call (800) 777-0028.