Semi-truck accidents are some of the most devastating crashes on the road. Heavy trucks, dangerous cargo, and high speed can all combine to cause severe or fatal injuries to anyone in the vicinity. But who pays after an accident? Christensen Law can answer these trucking accident questions for you.
Keep reading to find out who can be held financially liable and how the Michigan no-fault insurance law applies to truck accidents. For personalized advice related to your case, call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Who Gets Sued in a Truck Accident?
After a truck accident in Michigan, several different parties could potentially be liable. These could include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking companies
- Truck owner
- Cargo loaders
- Maintenance and repair companies
- Truck and part manufacturers
- Other motorists
In many cases, more than one party may be held accountable for a wreck. To maximize your recovery, it’s essential to pursue every possible source of compensation. A commercial trucking accident attorney can identify these parties for you and file claims against every potential defendant.
How Do Michigan No-Fault Laws Apply?
The Michigan no-fault insurance law requires drivers to have policies that will cover them in an accident. That means that you would first seek compensation through your own auto policy before bringing a claim against someone else. However, you may also have a case against another liable party if you are seriously injured. The state’s personal injury laws say that individuals can pursue compensation if they suffer a serious impairment, permanent disfigurement, or death after a trucking accident. If you were hurt, speak with a lawyer right away to determine whether your case meets the Michigan serious injury threshold.
What Happens if a Driver is an Independent Contractor?
Some truck companies may try to escape liability by misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor. If they succeed, they could avoid being held liable for injuries caused by the driver in a truck accident. However, a good injury lawyer can gather evidence to refute this deceptive defense. For example, proof showing that the company had significant control over how the driver’s work was done could show the driver was an employee, not an independent contractor. In the vast majority of cases, the independent contractor scheme fails to protect the trucking company.
When is the Company Liable?
Trucking companies may be liable when their employees cause an accident that hurts you while they are on the job. But you’ll need to show that their acts were either within the scope of employment or that a legal doctrine called respondeat superior applies. Let’s look at these in more depth:
Acts within scope of employment: When truckers are working and cause an accident, it may seem obvious that their actions occurred within the scope of employment. But the law and courts see it differently. To determine whether someone’s actions fall within the scope of employment, they may look at the driver’s actions, job description, when the accident happened, and many other factors.
Respondeat superior: This rule says that employers can also be held responsible for the actions of their employees when a crash occurs on the job. So, if a driver’s negligence causes an accident while they’re on company time, they could be held liable.
Damages in a Truck Accident Case
After a trucking accident, many types of compensation may be available. But the type and amounts will depend on the facts of your case. Compensation could cover:
- Medical costs
- Wage loss
- Attendant care
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Contact a Semi-truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a Michigan truck accident, contact Christensen Law now. Our legal team is ready to relieve your stress and guide you through the process of seeking answers and getting justice. We offer consultations for free and are ready to talk when you are. Contact us today to learn more.