Car accidents become significantly worse when a commercial truck or tractor-trailer is involved. Their size and weight — a fully loaded semi can weigh over 80,000 pounds — generate forces many times that of cars when involved in a crash. Incapacitating injuries and deaths are common in accidents with commercial trucks, often leaving families of victims without an important source of income while simultaneously burdening them with medical bills and depriving them of a loved one’s affection and involvement either permanently or temporarily.
For these reasons it’s important to know what damages can be recovered in accidents with commercial trucks. Victims and their families don’t need financial strains and worries on top of the stress of painful injuries or loss of a loved one. Insurance claims and personal injury suits can often alleviate financial strains and create a less stressful situation for healing or grieving.
In Michigan the state’s no-fault insurance laws ensure that most everyone is covered for medical expenses, lost wages, cost of services to replace home responsibilities of the injury victim, and most other economic losses due to an automobile accident. While there may be some complications involved with differences in insurance policies between auto drivers and truck drivers and out-of-state trucking companies, automobile occupants in Michigan or occupants of a Michigan-insured car driving in other states are generally assured of having these economic losses covered. Only an uninsured driver driving his or her own uninsured vehicle is at risk for not being covered in Michigan.
It is important to note that there are limits to no-fault insurance coverage for loss of income and replacement services (medical expenses have unlimited coverage in Michigan). Michigan no-fault insurance also does not provide coverage for pain and suffering or non-economic losses. To recover lost wages or costs of household replacement services beyond those covered by no-fault insurance, or to recover damages for pain and suffering, injury victims must initiate a third-party personal injury lawsuit. However, Michigan laws require that injuries involve serious impairment of body function to qualify for a third-party lawsuit. The lawsuit should be brought against the truck driver, the company that employed the driver and/or owned the truck, and potentially other defendants connected to the truck and driver.
In Michigan there is no limit to the amount of damages that can be recovered for pain and suffering in accidents with commercial trucks. Commercial trucks are required to have a minimum of $750,000 in coverage for pain and injury cases. While there is no limit to the recovery amount that can be awarded, it can be difficult to recover more than the truck is insured for and nearly impossible to do so without the help of a skilled attorney.
When a truck accident results in the death of a victim and the deceased was not at fault for the accident, the victim’s family can recover damages through insurance claims and wrongful death lawsuits. All the same damages that can be recovered for an injury victim can also be recovered by the family of a wrongful death victim, including pain and suffering, though the process is different for some damages. In addition, the family can also sue for loss of consortium and other damages related to losing a close family member, including loss of income for a spouse who is too stricken with grief to return to work.
Michigan no-fault insurance should cover all medical expenses, burial expenses and some loss of income for a wrongful death victim just as it would have had the victim not died. To recover all other damages, a wrongful death lawsuit must be brought against the truck driver, the company he was driving for and other defendants who may be liable. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of the deceased’s estate and the deceased’s spouse or another close family member serves as representative of the estate.
Get help with your Michigan truck accident case from an attorney with extensive experience in these complex personal injury cases.
Because truck accident cases involve complex matters of law beyond those involved in a car accident and the difficulty in bringing a lawsuit against trucking companies and their skilled attorneys, personal injury and wrongful death suits against trucking companies should only be represented by attorneys highly experienced in such cases. In Michigan, the personal injury firm of Sachs Waldman, P.C., includes several attorneys who have extensive experience in commercial truck accident injury cases. We will fight for you and assist you in building the strongest case possible and getting you all the benefits and damages you’re entitled to. Call our Detroit personal injury attorneys’ office at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation.