For Justice in a Truck Accident, You Want the Bear!
Accidents involving large commercial trucks are very different from most car crashes. They typically cause terrible injuries that lead to permanent disability or death due to the size and weight of most commercial trucks. As victims struggle to recover the compensation they need to heal, they often encounter resistance from the large trucking companies and their insurers, creating more stress at an already difficult time.
The Kalamazoo truck accident lawyers at Conybeare Law Office aren’t deterred by commercial truck insurers and their attorneys. We use our legal skills to help ensure that you receive a fair settlement for your medical bills, wage loss, property damage, and pain and suffering. To schedule a free consultation with a Kalamazoo car accident lawyer, contact our office today. We represent clients throughout Kalamazoo County, Berrien County, Cass County, Van Buren County, and West Michigan.
What you need to know about truck accidents:
How Can Our Michigan Truck Accident Lawyers Help Your Case?
Large truck accidents often result in permanent injuries that prevent victims from working and supporting their families. That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced Kalamazoo truck accident lawyer on your side.
At Conybeare Law Office, we understand the laws that govern commercial trucking, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA). The FMCSA focuses on inspections and maintenance of commercial trucks, the type and amount of cargo that can be hauled, fatigue levels, alcohol and drug usage among drivers, as well as many other safety issues. We know how to recognize driver or company actions that violate these laws and hold them accountable.
Other advantages of working with Conybeare Law Office include:
- Truck accident victims deserve maximum compensation, and we use our collective decades of experience to make that happen
- We handle all truck accident cases on a contingency basis- if we don’t win, there is no attorney fee
- We have offices in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph to better serve clients across West Michigan
Please schedule a consultation to learn for yourself why so many clients have trusted us with their personal injury cases.
Truck Accident Statistics in Michigan
In 2020, the Michigan State Police reported 6,371 accidents involving large trucks. Forty-four of these collisions were fatal while 985 caused some degree of injury. The types of commercial trucks most frequently involved in accidents included:
- Tractor-Trailers: Tractor-trailers are 18-wheelers with cabs pulling closed trailers. Their blind spots are large, so there needs to be extra space around them for safety.
- Flatbed Trucks: Although flatbed trucks are usually also 18-wheelers, they pull open flatbed trailers instead of enclosed cargo containers. They are often used to transport oddly shaped cargo, such as lumber or vehicles.
- Tanker Trucks: Tanker trucks are sometimes used to carry hazardous materials, such as gasoline or chemicals. The release or ignition of dangerous materials during a collision with a tanker can be deadly.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
All common causes of motor vehicle accidents can also lead to 18-wheeler accidents, such as driver distraction, driving under the influence, and disobeying road rules. However, there are certain issues that are more unique to the trucking industry, such as:
- Time Pressure: There is a lot of pressure on truck drivers to meet deadlines while traveling long distances. Speeding, fatigue, and using prescription and over-the-counter drugs to stay awake are all factors that contribute to driver error.
- Equipment Failure: Truck accidents are sometimes caused by defective parts and/or poor maintenance procedures. When the front brakes fail, for example, it can lead to jackknifing. Similarly, tire issues can result in dangerous blowouts.
- Disregarding Federal Laws: The FMCSA sets standards for trucker hiring, training, fleet maintenance, cargo loading, sleep schedules, and more. A violation of any of these rules can lead to a tractor-trailer accident and result in trucking company liability.
- Trucking Company Negligence: A trucking company must ensure the safety and performance of its drivers and fleet vehicles. When they cut corners on maintenance and pressure drivers to work longer hours than the law allows, it can cause a commercial truck accident.
All of these elements have contributed to the following types of accidents:
- Jackknifing: In a jackknife accident, the trailer starts to slide out from behind the truck to one side or the other, so that the truck and trailer begin to form an L. It is typically caused by sudden braking.
- Underride or Override: In an underride accident, a smaller vehicle is wedged beneath a trailer. In an override accident, the large truck rides over the back of the passenger vehicle.
- Blind Spot Accidents: When truck drivers fail to keep an adequate lookout, they may cause a crash due to their truck’s blind spots. Merge accidents, unsafe lane changes, and sideswipes can occur as a result of blind spots.
Other types of truck accidents include head-on collisions, broadside collisions, truck rollovers, and tire blowouts.
Common Commercial Truck Accident Injuries
Due to the difference in size and weight between tractor-trailers and passenger cars, passenger car occupants tend to suffer severe injuries in tractor-tractor collisions. Below are some of the most common truck accident injuries.
- Broken and fractured bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Head and neck injury
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Partial and full paralysis
Tragically, many 18-wheeler accidents end in death. A Michigan truck accident lawyer from Conybeare Law Office can help you file a wrongful death claim if a loved one lost their life in a collision.
What Are the Average Truck Settlement Amounts in Michigan?
Every truck accident case is different, so there are no typical settlement amounts. When determining a value for your claim, your personal injury lawyer will take the following into account:
Economic Damages: These quantifiable losses include your medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage.
Non-Economic Damages: These losses include pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium if you are married.
Wrongful death claims include funeral and burial expenses and loss of the financial and personal support the victim would have provided to their family had they not died.
The amount you ultimately receive will depend on factors like the nature and extent of your injuries, your age and health before the crash, and how your injuries are expected to affect your future. The Kalamazoo truck accident lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will aggressively negotiate for maximum compensation and, if the other side refuses to be fair, take your case to court.
Who Pays Compensation After a Michigan Truck Accident?
Truck accident victims may have more than one source of compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, you may be able to file a claim against one or more of the following parties:
The Truck Driver: If the truck driver caused the accident by driving carelessly or negligently, you can pursue a claim against the driver.
The Trucking Company: Michigan law holds the trucking company liable for the negligence of its employees. You can also sue the trucking company if they failed to maintain the vehicles properly or failed to train and supervise their drivers.
Parts Manufacturer: Truck accidents may not always be the direct fault of the driver. When parts of a truck are faulty or defective, a crash can happen. In this case, you may have a claim against the company that manufactured the part.
Cargo Handling Company: Some trucking companies use third-party cargo handling companies to load and unload their vehicles. If the latter’s employees fail to properly stack and secure all cargo and it spills into the road, causing an accident, that company can be held liable for any injuries.
Your Auto Insurance: Under Michigan’s no-fault law, depending on the type of auto insurance you had, your auto insurance may be responsible for some, or all, of your medical bills and wage loss.
Identifying and assigning fault can be difficult, but the personal injury lawyers at Conybeare Law Office know how to investigate these accidents.
– Preserve evidence, such as the truck’s black box, which contains details about the speed it was traveling and whether the brakes were applied before the collision.
– Request and review logbooks, maintenance records, driver history, and other evidence related to the accident.
We have helped many clients achieve the settlements they need to move forward after a commercial truck accident and will fight for a similar outcome for you.
What Should I Do After a Commercial Truck Accident?
If you have been in an 18-wheeler accident, your immediate concern should be your wellbeing. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries and call 911. While you’re waiting for the police and an ambulance to arrive, take the following steps:
– Get the truck driver’s information (including the company they work for)
– Collect contact details for any witnesses
– Take photos of the accident scene, including the truck, your vehicles, and the road conditions
When the police arrive, request that they later send you a copy of the accident report. If you don’t believe you’ve been injured badly enough to go to the hospital, see your doctor as soon as possible: you’ll need medical documentation of any injuries for your future claim. Then call a Michigan truck accident lawyer to protect your rights as you seek compensation. The truck company will act quickly to try to limit its financial responsibility. You need to know your rights so you can protect them.
Our Kalamazoo Truck Accident Lawyers Are Waiting For Your Call
The Michigan personal injury law firm of Conybeare Law Office represents victims of truck accidents throughout Kalamazoo County, Berrien County, Cass County, Van Buren County, and West Michigan. We also represent the families of fatal accident victims. We are proud of our track record for holding trucking companies and their drivers accountable for the injuries and losses they cause and will fight aggressively for you and your family. To schedule your free consultation, call The Bear today at 269-769-BEAR or fill out this contact form. Remember: if it’s not fair, call the Bear!