What Happens if a Delivery Truck Gets into an Accident?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If a delivery truck is involved in an accident, the results can be devastating. The size and weight of the vehicle, combined with its speed, increase the risk of severe injuries or death for anyone involved.
If you, or a member of your family, have been in an accident with a delivery truck, you should consult an auto accident attorney in Michigan. A lawyer with extensive knowledge in this area of law can help you identify the responsible party so you can file a claim for the damages you are entitled to. Accidents involving a trucking company often have more than one liable party.
Who Can Be Liable For Truck Accidents?
After a truck crash, it is important to evaluate the evidence to decide which parties may be liable. Frequently in this type of accident, more than one party can be held accountable. Depending on the facts of the case, any of the following may be liable either on their own or in combination with another party:
- The truck driver: If they were disobeying traffic laws or breached Federal or State trucking regulations, the driver may be considered negligent.
- The delivery company: If they failed to comply with Federal or State regulations regarding drivers working hours, truck maintenance, and inspection requirements
- The truck owner: This may be a different entity from the delivery company in certain circumstances. They may become liable if they fail to ensure compliance with maintenance and inspection regulations.
- The cargo handlers: If the accident was caused by the cargo moving because it had been negligently loaded, the company who loaded the truck could be liable.
- The repair and maintenance providers: If the vehicle was not properly maintained or repairs carried out were performed negligently, these service providers may be responsible for the accident.
- Manufacturers of the truck or parts: If the accident was caused by a defective design or part of the truck, the manufacturer could be to blame for your injuries.
To maximize your compensation payout, it is necessary to identify every party who may be liable. Therefore, hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer is important to identify and file claims against every potential defendant.
What Happens if the Federal Government Owns the Truck?
The usual rules do not apply if you are involved in an accident with a federally owned vehicle, such as a USPS (U.S. Postal Service) truck. The Federal Tort Claims Act permits people who have been injured by employees of the United States to file a lawsuit against the federal government. A notice of the injury must be filed within two years of the crash. The notice must be served on the federal agency that employs the driver.
The injured party must file the notice using an administrative claim form known as Form 95. This form must be completed in its entirety, fully disclosing all property and injury claims. Failure to comply with all the requirements of this form may lead to the federal government voiding your claim.
The statute of limitations applying to filing a claim against the federal government is only two years, not the usual three years in typical Michigan accident cases. If the federal government denies the claim, you only have six months from the denial to file a lawsuit.
Due to the shorter timescales allowed for filing your claim, it is vital to consult a skilled auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Happens if the State Of Michigan Owns the Vehicle?
If you are in an accident with a state-owned vehicle, such as a truck delivering residential waste bins, the State Administrative Board can determine and settle your claim if it is under $1,000. You must complete and file form DTMB-1104. You will also have to file documentary evidence supporting your case, such as police/incident reports. Receipts must support your claim for losses.
If your claim is for more than $1,000, you file against the state in The Court of Claims. This is a court set up specifically to hear all civil actions against the State of Michigan.
What if I am Involved in an Accident with a Delivery Truck Out of State?
If you sustain injuries in an accident with a commercial truck outside of Michigan, you may wonder what steps to take next. Remember that you are covered by Michigan’s no-fault PIP benefits through your insurance company, even if the accident occurs outside of Michigan. The amount of compensation you can receive from your insurance for medical bills still depends on your level of fault compared to that of the large truck.
Ensure you collect the driver’s contact information for your claim, especially if your vehicle has been damaged or you sustained injuries in the crash. Take photographs of the accident scene before moving the vehicles off the road, as long as it is safe to do so. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of the commercial truck driver’s license and the plates on the truck.
However, because Michigan’s no-fault law is so complex, the best course of action following an accident with a commercial truck outside of Michigan is to hire a car accident attorney.
Talk to an Attorney Following a Delivery Truck Accident
If you are injured in an accident with a delivery driver, seek legal counsel immediately. These cases often involve multiple parties, making it challenging to know who is liable to pay compensation.
At this traumatic and worrying time, you need the help of experienced personal injury attorneys, and we are eager to assist you. Speak to one of our personal injury attorneys about your case to get started.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
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.