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The Michigan No-Fault Law (MCL 500.3108) guarantees that dependents of a Michigan accident victim are entitled to benefits when that loved one dies due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident. It doesn’t matter if they were a pedestrian, on a bicycle, a motorcycle, or in a car or truck, or whether the deceased was at fault. A no-fault policy maintained by one person includes all family members living in the same residence.  

Causes of truck damages.

Damages and wrongful death claims are much higher when accidents involve big rigs or tractor trailers, simply because of their size alone and then the individual problem that yielded a crash accident such as reckless driving, DUI, poor driver training, swinging turns, absence of braking distances, tire blowouts, overloaded cargo, weather, road maintenance, and other drivers.

A typical tractor-trailer or other large truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds by law. Most passenger vehicles are about 3,000 – 4,000 pounds, and are significantly outsized by a semi-trailer, but a bicyclist or a pedestrian rarely has a chance of escaping injury if they are hit by one of these large vehicles with or without cargo load.  A young man in the Grand Rapids MI was riding his bike and missed a stop sign causing him to clip the back end of a tractor trailer where he died from his injuries.

Costs of accident and wrongful death.

Accident and wrongful death claims are expensive and take a toll on insurance and courtrooms in Michigan.  The State of Michigan’s data shows a slight reduction in motor vehicle crashes from 2017 to 2018, accounting for costs that exceeded $44,515,956,700, with comprehensive costs for death at about $10,562,000; suspected serious injury $1,155,000, Suspected Minor Injury $318,000, Possible Injury $147,000, No Injury $48,700.  Kent County showed no increase in fatalities in 2017.

Michigan is a comparative fault state with regard to damages and the law states:

Damages shall be assessed on the basis of comparative fault, except that damages shall not be assessed in favor of a party who is more than 50% at fault.”  Comparative fault damages will cover vehicle damages and pain and suffering.  The “comparative fault” law does not apply to claims for Michigan No-Fault benefits because, under Michigan’s No-Fault Law, “fault” is not pre-condition to collecting benefits that are reasonably necessary to a victim’s care, recovery or rehabilitation.

If the truck accident resulted in fatalities to any person(s) involved in the accident, a wrongful death claim can be pursued.  Under Michigan Wrongful Death Act, only the deceased person’s spouse, children, step-children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, or the person inheriting the decedent’s estate, can receive compensation for this type of legal claim. If the accident was caused solely by the cyclist, the no fault portion can at least cover burial expenses and out-of-pocket expenses related to the death.

Time limitation.

There is a 3-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, and surviving family members may be barred from seeking civil damages for the untimely death of their loved one if they do not act within this timeframe. This is one reason it is very important to consult with a Michigan wrongful death attorney soon after the passing of your loved one.

Proof of negligence.

Negligence will need to be proven for a wrongful death claim to be initiated in a case.  Seeking effective legal counsel who have experience in truck accident cases is a prudent decision.  USAttorneys.com can help you locate an experienced legal professional in your county.

Sources:

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(o4kpydz02jffs2p5ueh5m1vu))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-500-3135

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(0xoqlfhybakch1wxb41tlmts))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-500-3108