Federal law mandates that truck companies in Michigan carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance, maintain their vehicles in safe working order, restrict the size of loads to appropriate levels, and ensure drivers are experienced and responsible. Unfortunately, as police, lawmakers, and truck accident attorneys like Johnny Hawkins with the Law Office of J.L. Hawkins, PLLC can attest to, even with strict safety regulations on both the state and federal level, truck accidents are still common and are responsible for the injury and death of hundreds of Michigan residents each year.
Every day, someone is injured or killed in a collision with a truck in Michigan, such as an 18-wheeler, box truck, dump truck, or semi. Over 13,000 truck accidents were reported in Michigan in 2014, according to state police crash statistics. Many of these accidents happen through no particular person’s fault. However, the majority are the result of careless driving or unsafe vehicles.
Accidents that result from carelessness can be attributed to either the driver or their employer. Truck drivers tend to work long shifts, and are often pushed beyond their limits by their employing company. With strict deadlines and drivers having to deal with a workday that is well beyond the 8-hour standard, accidents are likely to occur. Truck drivers may become fatigued or may fall asleep at the wheel, may speed in order to arrive at their destinations on time, or may engage in a variety of other reckless actions on the road, such as weaving, cutting off other drivers, improper lane changes, and failing to yield to other motorists or pedestrians. Some truck drivers even consume alcohol or engage in the use of recreational drugs while operating their vehicles.
Equipment and vehicle problems can also contribute to the likelihood of a truck accident. Often, truck companies fail to perform safety checks on their trucks to ensure everything is working properly, overload cargo, which can cause a load to spill on the road, and may not properly train their drivers. All of these factors can create hazardous conditions on Michigan roadways and can lead to severe or even fatal injuries for those who are involved in a collision with a large commercial truck.
What to do After Being Involved in a Truck Accident in Michigan
Because of their sheer size, an accident involving a commercial truck can have much more drastic consequences than a collision involving passenger vehicles. Those who are hurt in a collision with a large truck often suffer serious injuries, including fractures, spinal cord trauma, brain damage, limb loss, and paralysis. Unfortunately, a large percentage of victims don’t survive.
After a collision, it’s important that victims contact police, obtain medical treatment right away, and consult with a Michigan truck accident lawyer like Johnny Hawkins at www.jlhawkinslaw.com to determine their options as far as filing a claim. Because many accidents involving trucks are the result of the truck driver or company’s negligent actions and failure to abide by traffic safety standards and regulations, victims and surviving loved ones may be eligible to obtain compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and wrongful death.