Although people assume most truck accidents occur on the highway, 63 percent of crashes in Macomb County involving a truck occurred on local roads. Truck accidents can occur at any moment, so it is important to prepare. If you find yourself involved in a truck accident in Warren, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to be sure you can obtain just compensation. At Matz Injury Law, our Michigan lawyers have deep experience navigating the complexities of a truck accident case. We can negotiate with insurance companies and other liable parties so you can focus on your recovery.
A 2019 study named I-94 the deadliest road in Macomb County. Ten fatal accidents occurred on I-94 from 2017–2019. The highway was responsible for 2% of Michigan’s fatal traffic accidents during that time.
Reporting from the Michigan State Police combines truck and bus accidents. Macomb County saw 1,243 bus and truck accidents in 2021, causing 276 injuries and five fatalities. Statewide, the total number of bus and truck accident fatalities increased by 32% from 2020 to 2021.
Car accidents and truck accidents differ in several important ways. Truck crashes can cause far more significant damage and severe injuries. The causes of truck accidents may also be different from those of auto accidents. Both can result from driver errors, such as speeding or distracted driving. Many truck accidents result because of the size of the vehicles. Truck drivers may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision with a careless motorist, or they may be unable to make a turn correctly.
As mentioned above, some semi-truck accidents result from unsafe driving by others on the road, not the truckers involved in the crashes. Truck drivers and trucking companies can also be responsible for collisions for a variety of reasons.
Michigan law defines reckless driving as the operation of a motor vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” In truck accident cases, reckless driving includes a wide range of unsafe acts like speeding, running red lights or stop signs, and trying to pass another vehicle unlawfully.
Truck drivers can be distracted just like other drivers on Michigan roads. They can take their eyes or minds off the road to do things like look at a smartphone or tune a CB radio.
Poor road conditions can cause all kinds of motor vehicle accidents. Debris on the road could cause one vehicle to swerve into another. Inadequate road maintenance could create potholes and other hazards.
Michigan is no stranger to bad weather. Rain, snow, sleet, and other bad weather can cause visibility problems and make the road extra dangerous. Tractor-trailer wheels can throw water and ice onto vehicles behind them, creating further hazards.
Many 18-wheeler accidents are the result of improper cargo loading:
Either situation can cause severe auto accidents.
Trucking companies expect truckers to keep tight schedules, often resulting in long hours on the road. Driver fatigue can be a serious danger to others. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers that limit the total amount of time they may drive before they must rest. Unfortunately, many trucking companies and drivers ignore these rules, leading to commercial truck accidents.
You have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim under Michigan’s no-fault law, which allows you to recover compensation from your own insurance company, no matter who was at fault in the accident. You can receive no-fault insurance benefits from your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
The damages you can receive from your own PIP coverage are limited. If you want to recover additional damages, you must make a claim against the at-fault driver. Michigan law gives you three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. If you do not file by this deadline, the court will dismiss your case and you may have no other options.
After a truck crash in Michigan, you may be eligible to receive two types of damages, depending on your case: economic and non-economic damages. These are both types of compensatory damages, since their purpose is to compensate you for the losses you have suffered.
These are your out-of-pocket financial losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent disability. They compensate you for the money you have directly lost because of the truck accident. Examples of economic damages resulting from a truck accident may include:
You can prove economic damages by providing medical bills, medical records, wage statements, and other documents.
These are the more subjective losses that you have suffered as a result of a truck accident. Non-economic damages compensate you for the negative impact that the accident and your injuries have had on your quality of life. One common type of non-economic damage, pain and suffering, covers both the physical pain you have suffered and the emotional distress the accident has caused you.
You cannot produce a bill that shows how a truck accident has diminished your life, so your truck accident attorney will have to prove that you have suffered non-economic damages in other ways. They may, for example, show evidence that compares your quality of life before the accident to your condition afterward.
You can talk to the trucking company’s insurance adjuster after the accident, but that does not mean you should. You will eventually have to make a statement as part of the insurance claim process, but you have time to speak to an attorney first. Remember that the insurance adjuster’s job is to get you to either:
Neither of these options benefits you.
Insurance companies know many ways to avoid paying the maximum compensation owed to accident victims. Given the chance, they will try to trick you into saying something that sounds incriminating. The more you appear to be at fault, the less the insurance company has to pay.
If you do speak to the insurance company before you have hired a personal injury attorney, keep your comments simple and short. All you need to tell them is that you either have an attorney or you will be retaining one soon.
If you have suffered serious injuries in an 18-wheeler accident, dealing with insurance companies and truck accident claims is probably one of the last things on your mind. You might have been too injured after the accident to gather evidence at the scene, collect contact information from witnesses, and take other steps to prepare for a personal injury claim. Even if you are feeling better now, you might not know how to start collecting evidence.
An experienced truck accident lawyer knows how to obtain evidence like police reports, witness statements, and medical bills. They can act as the go-between for you and the insurance companies to protect your legal rights while you focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back to your life.
From Southfield to Grand Rapids to Troy, our personal injury law firm has helped thousands of clients receive large settlements after their truck accidents. We care about our clients and want them to walk away with more. That is why we offer a low contingency fee of 22%.
The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.
We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.
We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.
All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.
At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.