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Are Commercial Trucks Always at Fault For Rear-End Crashes?

Key Takeaways

  • Liability for truck accident cases tend to be very complex due to the different parties and insurance companies typically involved.
  • Many specific and dangerous factors are present in truck accidents that are not present in other types of passenger motor vehicle accidents.
  • Multiple parties can be held responsible in rear-end truck accidents, including the driver, the truck’s owner, and the manufacturer of the truck and its parts.
  • Compensation tends to be higher in truck accidents than in other car accidents.
  • Working with an experienced Michigan truck accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need to heal and move forward after suffering severe injuries.

Getting rear-ended is a scary experience. Getting into a rear-end collision with a semi-truck is worse. Because of its size, an accident with a semi-truck can absolutely derail your life. Truck accidents also tend to be more complex than traditional car accidents, involving more potentially liable parties and higher damages.

The compassionate and diligent personal injury attorneys at Matz Injury Law will explore the critical aspects that influence the outcome of your case, including the truck driver’s and truck company’s liability, the calculation of damages, and the negotiation process with insurance companies.

If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, now is the time to hire an experienced Michigan accident lawyer to help guide your case toward resolution. Call Matz Injury today to obtain a free consultation.

Why Commercial Truck Accidents Are More Dangerous

Collisions with commercial trucks are usually more dangerous than crashes with passenger vehicles and the statistics back this up. Especially when it comes to serious injuries and fatalities (wrongful death). According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 97% of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2021 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.

Factors that make a commercial truck accident more dangerous include, but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle size and weight
  • Potential spills of hazardous materials
  • Risk of driver fatigue
  • Truck driver blind spots
  • Weight distribution in truck

Additionally, truck drivers need to leave much more space when needing to stop in time before hitting the vehicle in front of them. If an 18-wheeler neglects to consider an appropriate stopping time, an accident can be devastating for the individuals riding in the car the at-fault driver hit.

Who is Liable for a Commercial Vehicle Accident in Michigan?

Multiple Parties May be Liable

Multiple parties may be liable in many truck accidents. Commercial vehicle rear-end accidents tend to be complex because multiple parties may be associated with potential negligence.

Possible responsible parties in commercial truck accidents:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company/truck owner
  • Vehicle manufacturer
  • Parts manufacturer
  • Maintenance company
  • Shipping company
  • Loading company
  • Leasing agent
  • And other potential parties

Are Semi-Trucks Always at Fault for Rear-End Accidents?

Typically, the truck driver and the truck owner are the primary responsible parties. In Michigan, vehicle owners are equally liable as the driver unless the vehicle was stolen. In some truck accidents, multiple parties may be found negligent. For example, if you are a passenger in a vehicle and your driver hits a semi-truck, there is a decent chance both your driver and the truck driver were partially at fault.

Damaged white van being towed onto a flatbed truck, with a worker in hi-vis gear nearby, in a suburban setting with greenery and buildings in the background.

Why Working With an Attorney is Important

It is critical to involve a Michigan auto accident attorney because, depending on the extent of the injuries and factors involved, multiple insurance companies and/or lawsuits may be involved. An experienced Michigan truck accident attorney knows how to pursue these different avenues for compensation and the kinds of evidence they need to support your claim.

Real-Life Example of Multiple Liability Factors

Our law firm is currently working on a semi-truck accident case in which a truck was parked on the side of an expressway, but it appeared the truck was partially obstructing the roadway. The driver did not place proper warning signs after it broke down.

Our client was a passenger in an SUV that clipped the side of the semi-truck going 70 mph. In this case, our claim is the driver should not have hit the truck, but the tractor-trailer and the company that owns it should not have left it on the road as they did. We are working to gather evidence and build a case that both the SUV driver and the semi-truck driver were partially liable for our client’s injuries.

Our Success With Commercial Truck Accident Settlements

Insurance companies are notorious for denying claims or offering inadequate settlements that do not cover the full extent of your losses. Matz Injury Law cares about what happens to our clients, and we work hard to earn them fair settlement amounts. Beyond that, we charge a lower contingency fee than most law firms. That means that you walk away with more money in your pocket at the end of your case.

  • $1,000,000 settlement for a woman in Northern Michigan who fractured both ankles as a result of being rear-ended by a gravel truck
    • The client kept an additional $107,635 with Matz Injury Law’s “22, not 33” fee.
  • $750,000 settlement to a family in Eaton County whose SUV was struck by a commercial vehicle
    • The client kept an additional $84,975 with Matz Injury Law’s “22, not 33” fee.
  • $750,000 settlement to the family of a young driver in Lapeer County whose car was struck from behind by a semi
    • The client kept an additional $84,975 with Matz Injury Law’s “22, not 33” fee.
  • $325,000 settlement on behalf of an 18-year-old man who suffered a wrist injury as a result of an automobile/truck crash in Kent County
    • The client kept an additional $36,823 with Matz Injury Law’s “22, not 33” fee.

Related Article: Championing a Lower Attorney Contingency Fee

Legal Challenges in Commercial Vehicle Claims

Commercial vehicle accident claims can be more legally complex due to several factors and unique obstacles not found in other types of personal injury cases. Some of the potential challenges in a semi-truck accident case include:

  • There is a higher likelihood of multiple potentially responsible parties for the car crash.
  • Michigan’s no-fault rules mean you must first file a claim through your own insurance coverage.
  • Michigan also implements comparative negligence laws, which can affect your compensation.
  • Federal traffic laws, Michigan truck laws, and other traffic rules fall into play, so these must all be considered when filing a truck accident claim.
  • It can be challenging for accident victims to obtain evidence to prove fault in a truck crash.

It is to your advantage to obtain experienced legal representation when pursuing a personal injury claim. Your personal injury lawyer can handle negotiations with your insurance company and other insurance companies involved. Your attorney can build a strong case if a personal lawsuit is necessary.

Compensation After a Michigan Commercial Truck Accident

Compensation tends to be higher in a Michigan commercial truck accident than in a simple car accident. This is because these accidents typically result in more severe injuries, extensive property damage, and a higher degree of pain and suffering for those who become injured or disabled from the accident.

Aside from no-fault coverage, Michigan also follows comparative negligence rules. This means you cannot have more than 50% of the fault to pursue compensation from the truck’s insurance policy. Everything will be based on the specifics of your case, along with the available insurance policies of the liable party or parties.

How much you receive will depend upon the nature and severity of your injuries. For instance, a spinal cord injury, back injury, or traumatic brain injury/head injury often leads to lifelong disabilities and high medical expenses. The average settlement for this type of case is higher.

Related Article: Past Settlements

Calculating Your Settlement After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

A damaged car with its front end crushed is wedged under a red semi-truck trailer on the side of a road, surrounded by trees.

As insurance companies or a jury decides how much your truck accident settlement is worth, they will examine the circumstances of your case. In some cases, your compensation may be limited by insurance policy limits and how much fault you are assigned.

In Michigan, accident victims may be eligible for multiple types of compensation. The amount largely depends upon the liability insurance coverage the at-fault parties have purchased. Factors considered include types of injuries, present and future medical needs, level of disability, and how long it will impact your life.

Economic Damages

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future wages
  • Other calculable losses

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Other losses affecting a victim’s quality of life

Economic damages are easier to prove since you can show receipts for actual financial losses and expenses. Non-economic damages are more difficult because these losses can be significant but do not have a specific dollar amount attached. Working with a Michigan personal injury law firm can help you gather and establish the proof you need to build a strong personal injury claim.

Why Clients Choose Matz Injury Law

Clients look to Matz Injury Law for legal advice because we have decades of experience helping Michigan accident victims. We pride ourselves on our high level of personalized customer service. When you work with our law firm, you will work directly with a lawyer who will provide strong communication, regular updates on your case, and total transparency about the legal process and how your case is going.

To date, our attorneys have earned more than $300 million for our clients. We have logged hundreds of thousands of miles throughout Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas to meet with our clients. Unlike other personal injury law firms, our fee is 22%, unlike the standard 33% the majority of firms charge. Since commercial accident settlements are usually large, that additional 11% can make a huge difference in our clients’ take-home amounts to help them recover and move forward after the collision.


“Not only was I contacted back right away after requesting some information online, but Mr. Matz assisted me in making some phone calls on my behalf and got results right away. I did not retain him and he still helped me and offered to do even more. Amazing customer service, very friendly, kind, and personable, and FAST results!!!! I know who I will contact if I ever need an attorney again.” — Karina S.

“We recently had a horrible tragedy in our family and had to seek legal help. We were fortunate to find Matz Injury Law. Steve Matz contacted us immediately and got right to work. From the moment we reached out to Steve he demonstrated professionalism, expertise, and genuine care of our legal needs. […] We are immensely grateful for Steve Matz guidance and support. We would not hesitate to seek their assistance again in the future. He is not your billboard attorney where you are just another number. We highly recommend Matz Injury Law.” — Robert B.

Don’t Underestimate the Impact of a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer

Many accident victims think they are better off trying to obtain a settlement alone. While you can certainly do this, we do not recommend it. Insurance adjusters actively work to diminish the worth of an accident claim. In complex cases such as truck accidents, the insurance companies will work hard to reduce their financial obligation to the victim. Fighting insurance companies while recovering from severe injuries is difficult and can be demoralizing. You deserve someone on your side who knows how to fight for your compensation.

Matz Injury Law has years of experience representing victims of Michigan truck accidents. With Matz Injury Law by your side, you will never feel alone. We will stand with you every step of the way, advocating for you and fighting for the justice you deserve.

There is no financial risk to hiring Matz Injury Law. We work on a contingency fee, which means we only charge you if we win your case. To schedule your initial free case evaluation, contact us today at 1-866-22Not33 (866-226-6833) or complete our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Commercial Vehicle Accident?

Michigan has a three-year statute of limitations for filing an accident claim.

How Long Do Commercial Vehicle Settlements Take?

Every case is different, but commercial vehicle settlements generally take several months. It may take years if the case is complex (e.g., multiple liable parties, settlement contested, or the case goes to court).