What to Do After a Truck Accident in Michigan

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Fender benders are one thing, but accidents with eighteen-wheelers or other heavy commercial vehicles can be quite devastating. They can be caused by driver error, an improperly maintained vehicle, bad road conditions, and inclement weather, among other factors. Insurance companies will handle your claims most of the time, although it's often a good idea to consult with an attorney to make sure your interests are being properly represented. Attorneys often can work with insurance companies to ensure that you're getting the right compensation for your injuries and/or vehicle damage.

The following is a summary of what to do after a truck accident in Michigan, including a summary of Michigan liability law and common causes of action for claims.

What to do Immediately After a Truck Accident

Truck accidents tend to quite severe, often resulting in serious injuries or death. Therefore, it's important to check on everyone involved (assuming you're in a condition to do so) immediately following the accident and to call for emergency help. If possible, it's also a good idea to move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of traffic. Also, make sure you take notes and snap photos, talk to any witnesses, and exchange information with the other parties (i.e. driver's license information, truck driver's employer, insurance information, etc.).

Liability and Michigan Truck Accidents

Michigan is a "no-fault" state, which means that all parties to a truck accident are entitled to benefits regardless of who was at fault. Either party to an accident may be entitled to damages through their insurer for medical expenses, lost wages, and nursing or home care services. Of course, the at-fault party may have their insurance policy cancelled or their premiums hiked.

Also, it's important to remember that the other party's insurance company may try to get you to sign onto a settlement relatively soon after the incident. But doing so before speaking with an attorney could prevent you from obtaining a full recovery as some injuries can take time to manifest. An attorney will have a better idea of what your actual damages should be, such as the impact of the injuries on your future earning capacity or expenses related to long-term physical therapy.

Michigan Truck Accident Laws: The Basics

Truck accidents often have devastating consequences, so you'll want to make sure you get help handling your injuries and claims for damages. A good start is understanding the law, but reading statutes written in legalese can take time. That's why we've provided the following plain-language summary of Michigan's laws and procedures regarding truck accidents.

Statutes

Michigan Compiled Laws:

Causes of Action and Damages

If you've been injured as the result of a truck accident, you should file a claim with your insurance company. Since Michigan is a no-fault state, recovering for you injuries isn't contingent on whether the truck driver (or another involved party) was negligent; however, it could impact how the insurance companies negotiate the claims.

The truck driver's employer, the owner of the truck, the manufacturer of the truck, the truck maintenance company, and other parties also may be held liable (via their insurers).

Examples of negligence include:

  • Driver fatigue;
  • Speeding or other traffic violations;
  • Impaired driving;
  • Failure to provide drivers adequate rest between trips; and
  • Faulty truck design or improper maintenance.

Economic recovery, or damages, may include the following:

  • Medical and home care expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Diminished earning capacity;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Wrongful death.
Federal Trucking Regulations

Truck drivers and their employers must adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) regulations. You'll want to establish whether the truck driver violated any of these regulations before filing a claim, which include:

  • Maximum number of hours the driver may work within a specific time frame;
  • Truck driver's alcohol and drug use history;
  • Truck driver's driving history;
  • Maintenance schedule for trucks and trailers; and
  • The level of training the driver received.
Statute of Limitations

Within 3 years if anyone was injured or killed in the accident (also, within 3 years for property damage).

Keep in mind that for wrongful death claims the "clock" starts running at the time of the victim's death, which may come later than the date of the accident.

See also Michigan Civil Statute of Limitations.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

  • Michigan Laws - Summaries of select laws spanning criminal, injury, family, small business, real estate, consumer, and other practice areas.
  • Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.

Michigan Truck Accident Laws: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Michigan Truck Accident Claim

Since truck accidents can be deadly and often result in either serious injuries and demolished vehicles, you'll want to make sure you recover your losses. An experienced legal professional will understand the law and how it applies to your particular claim. Get started today and contact a Michigan personal injury attorney near you.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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