Do I Need an Attorney to Litigate My Truck Accident Case?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Many people tend to assume that a truck accident in Michigan is dealt with in the same way as auto accidents. And while it is true that Michigan’s no-fault law for vehicle accidents does apply, and that the filing requirements are the same, there are some major differences too.
Trucks and truck accidents have a number of specific laws at both state and federal level, which make dealing with truck accident cases more complicated than standard car claims.
Trucks can be very dangerous vehicles on the roads. When you consider that an unloaded truck and trailer weighs an average of around 35,000 pounds and that with a full payload, which can be anything up to the US limit of 80,000 pounds, then you can see just how catastrophic an accident involving one of these trucks can be.
When you add in additional factors such as drivers speeding to meet tight deadlines, long hours leading to lapses in attention, and poor weather or road conditions, then you can understand why accidents involving trucks have seen a dramatic increase in numbers in recent years.
Most Common Truck Accidents
- Jackknifing. This is when a long truck loses control – usually caused by sudden breaking – and the cab ends up at a 90-degree angle to the trailer.
- Rollovers. In some situations, losing control of your truck leads to the vehicle sliding then rolling onto its side.
- Blowout. As with any vehicle, a tire blowout can mean you lose any control over your vehicle.
- Making wide turns. If a driver steers widely to the right in order to make a left turn, they can lose awareness of some of the vehicles close to them resulting in a collision.
- Blind spots. Because of the sheer size of some trucks, there may be areas around their vehicle that they cannot see. These blind spots can result in collisions when changing lanes.
- Under ride. This can happen if a truck stops quickly and any vehicles behind it and unable to stop in time can end up underneath the rear of the trailer. This type of accident has a high fatality rate.
- Rear ending. Another potentially fatal type of accident due to the sheer weight of trucks. This happens when a truck runs into the back of a vehicle in front of it.
- Load loss. If a poorly secured load falls from a truck, it can have devastating effects.
- Head on collisions. Probably the type of accident with the highest fatality rate.
- T-bone. This most often happens when a truck runs a red light (or another vehicle runs one) and the truck hits the other vehicle side on.
There are some specific laws that oversee the use of all commercial truck and to accidents involving these types of vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is part of the Department of Transportation and its mission is to “… prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.”
Its activities include developing and standardizing the testing and licensing of drivers, analyzing safety data and developing safety resources, identifying high-risk carriers and removing them from the roads where necessary, working on safety programs such as roadside inspections, and various other safety-related programs.
The Michigan Department of Public Safety has adopted several parts of the national laws and these apply to all trucks operating in Michigan.
Whereas there is usually only limited liability when a car accident has occurred, with a truck accident there may be more liable parties. These complications are a good reason to engage competent accident attorneys from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
Liability can extend beyond the driver or other parties involved in the accident. Potentially liable parties include the manufacturer of the vehicle, the shipper or broker of the load, distributors or suppliers, and retailers if they have supplied defective parts for the truck. As these cases can get very complicated, sometimes just hiring a lawyer is not enough, and you will need an experienced truck accident lawyer fighting your case.
Truck Accidents and Personal Injury
Given the sheer size and weight of most trucks, it comes as no surprise that truck accidents and injuries go hand-in-hand and that the resulting injuries can often be very serious. Hiring an experienced and competent personal injury lawyer from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. means that every aspect of a personal injury claim resulting from a truck accident will be thoroughly investigated.
Our law firm has vast experience in this area and can deal with every step of the process including accident litigation, negotiations with any involved insurance company, and looking into all the pain and suffering experienced by accident victims. And given that around 10% of people involved in a truck accident in Michigan will be killed, there may likely be a wrongful death lawsuit as a result.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration now requires that all commercial trucks have a black box installed, which makes it easier to analyze data from any collision or accident. These boxes also allow your personal injury attorney to look at non-crash data such as how many hours and miles the truck has gone in a certain time.
When you hire an attorney, you want someone who will know how to fully investigate all aspects of the truck accident. That includes police reports, witness statements, any footage or photos of the accident, as well as data from the black box and from all the trucking company’s safety reports pertaining to the truck. Many law firms simply do not have the experience or in-depth knowledge to carry out such detailed investigations.
Due to their very size and nature, accidents involving trucks can often have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. While standards of safety may have improved over the years, the sheer numbers of these vehicles on our roads means that the amount of accidents they are involved in have increased substantially. The types of injuries and disabilities suffered can often be devastating and there is also a high fatality rate for truck accidents.
When you are looking for a law firm to represent you, you want one who has experience in this area so that you can be sure that any investigation will be thorough and that representation and litigation will be carried out to the highest of standards. Given the potential for injuries or fatalities from truck accidents, you also want expert medical opinion.
Here at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, we have an experienced nurse attorney as one of our senior partners. Eileen E. Kroll can offer highly competent legal representation as well as expert advice on the medical side of your case. We offer a free initial appointment to evaluate your case and advise you on how to proceed. If you would like to know more, book your complimentary consultation by calling 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.