If you have been involved in a truck accident in Michigan, you might immediately wonder who could be liable for the crash and the injuries and property damage you may have suffered. Multiple parties may have liability for a truck accident. Furthermore, determining liability may occur at various stages of a truck accident claim, based on many different pieces of evidence.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Michigan
Common causes of truck accidents in Michigan include:
• Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
• Reckless driving, such as excessive speeding or weaving in and out of traffic
• Failure to check mirrors or use turn signals
• Running red lights and stop signs or disregarding other traffic signs and signals
• Failure to yield right of way
• Unsafe turns
• Drowsy or fatigued driving
• Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Truck driver inexperience
• Unfamiliarity with route/getting lost
• Failure to conduct required truck inspections
• Inadequate or improperly performed truck maintenance
• Defective trucks or truck parts
• Unsafe cargo loads, including overweight, unbalanced, or unsecured loads
• Poor road conditions, including broken pavement, potholes, debris, or black ice
• Adverse weather conditions
• Nighttime driving
Who Could Be Liable For a Truck Wreck?
Liability for a truck accident may be borne by parties other than the truck driver. Other parties who may have liability for a truck crash and your injuries include:
• The trucking company
• The owner of the truck, if the truck is not owned by the truck driver or the trucking company
• The truck’s manufacturer
• Manufacturer of a part used on the truck
• The truck’s mechanic
• The cargo company/freight broker
How Is Liability Determined after a Truck Crash?
Following a truck accident, liability for the crash may be determined by several different parties. First, a determination of liability may be made by law enforcement officers who respond to the crash scene. A law enforcement officer will investigate the accident and prepare a police accident report. In many cases, the officer who prepares the report will note which party or parties they believe caused the accident and how it was caused. The trucking companies may also conduct their own internal investigation to determine who may have caused the crash.
The insurance companies will also make a determination of liability for a truck accident of the parties involved in the accident, including the trucking company’s insurer, the insurers of other companies who are alleged to have liability for the crash, and the insurers of other drivers in the crash. Insurers who may have to pay money on behalf of their insureds will want to decide for themselves who bears liability for the accident. These determinations typically inform the settlement negotiations process in a truck accident claim.
Finally, if a truck accident claim goes to trial, liability for the crash will be decided by a jury or by a judge sitting as a factfinder after the parties present their evidence. Unlike the police, the trucking companies, or the insurance companies, the determination made by a jury or judge is legally binding.
Types of Evidence Your Attorney Will Look For
When you turn to Mihelich & Kavanaugh, P.L.C. to represent you in your truck accident claim, some types of evidence we may use to identify who should be held liable for the crash include:
• The truck driver’s hours of service logs
• Drug/alcohol screens performed on the truck driver after the accident
• The truck driver’s employment and driving history
• Logs from the truck’s electronic data recorder or “black box”
• The trucking company’s dispatch logs
• The load/freight manifest for the truck
• The truck’s inspection and maintenance records
• Post-crash truck inspection reports
• Police accident reports or arrest/criminal records
• Surveillance or traffic camera or dashcam footage
• Eyewitness statements
Contact a Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a truck crash in Michigan, reach out to Mihelich & Kavanaugh, P.L.C. for a free, no-obligation consultation to go over your legal rights and options with one of our knowledgeable Macomb County truck accident lawyers.