Trucking Accidents Attorney in Holland, Michigan
Semi Tractor Trailer Personal Injury Lawyer
Gerald R. Stahl has been representing victims of Semi Truck Accidents in Michigan since 1982.
A Victim Needs an Experienced Attorney After a Trucking Accident
If you are injured in a semi tractor trailer accident, you need a lawyer that is experienced in not only establishing truck driver liability, but also ensuring that all proper companies are defendants and are held liable for the injured victim. Proving liability can be very complicated and requires knowledge of many different trucking rules. In Michigan, you have the same rights as you have under the Michigan No Fault Act. You also have additional rights regarding commercial vehicles as well rights under the Federal Motor Carrier Act.
Injuries After a Trucking Accident
Trucking accidents result in devastating injuries to the victims. Many times these injuries are permanent and disabling or result in death of the victim. It is critical that you protect your financial future, your family and your health. In the case of the death of a victim, a wrongful death claim must be made on behalf of the family. This requires holding the at fault parties fully accountable for the injuries.
Frequent Causes of Semi Truck Accidents
There can be many factors contributing to the cause of a Semi Tractor Crash. Listed below are some possible contributing factors.
Hours of Serve: This refers to driver fatigue which can occur when the driver fails to comply with sleep and hours of service requirements.
Swerving out of Lane: This can result in loss of control and failure to see traffic in the oncoming lane.
Improperly Loaded Trailer or Overloaded Trailer: The weight of the trailer can cause the load to shift and flip the trailer. In the case of an overloaded trailer, the tractor may have difficulty turning and stopping. This can also cause jack-knifing and rollover.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Truck drivers can go out the night before and drink alcohol and still be illegal to drive. Also, they could take drugs to stay awake and suffer from lack of sleep.
Truck Maintenance: Trucks must be serviced routinely and have proof of maintenance records. They are also required to have daily inspection reports and repair records.
Maneuverability: Trucks often have long trailers. These trailers are difficult to turn or maneuver. I have seen Semi crashes in Holland, Michigan, where the Tractor pulls out to make a left turn but becomes trapped because the maneuver was not made early enough or in a wide enough fashion. This can cause the road to be blocked.
Improper Driver Training: A driver must be qualified and have a CDL license as well have certification of prior traffic violations. The company hiring the driver should also be aware of the driver’s employment history. Has the driver completed adequate educational and training programs. Employers should also make sure the driver is medically qualified to operate a tractor trailer.
Determining the Responsible Parties After Semi Truck Crash
The law regarding the operation of tractor trailers, or big rigs, covers both Federal and State Statutes. Consequently, there are several potential responsible people and companies after a serious crash. Here are some of the potential responsible parties:
Driver: More likely than not the semi driver will have some responsibility in any serious crash where they cause an accident. The reason for this is that by virtue of the operation of the vehicle they are responsible for compliance, driving, and inspection.
Trucking Company: The trucking company that owns the vehicle can be held accountable for poor hiring or maintenance of vehicles. They also can create a pattern of conduct that would show neglectful practices in the past. Has the trucking company supplied manuals, guidelines, rules or regulations to their drivers?
Cargo Company: The question here is whether the trailer was loaded properly by the cargo company. Was the cargo company obligated to load the trailer? If the cargo company improperly loaded the trailer, did that contribute in any way to the cause of the accident?
Manufacturer or Maintenance Company Liability: The question here is whether the truck had a defective part. For instance, a truck could have a bad braking system that ultimately leads to a serious injury accident. Was that braking system a defect in manufacturing or was it improperly maintained by a separate company.
Improper Road Maintenance or Design: The county road commission and state road commission are responsible for road design and road maintenance. If the state is aware of an area that frequently has traffic accidents, then their neglect to repair it should be investigated for potential liability. Some road commissions may justify the defective design problem because of costs of repair. While other road commissions may try to make a temporary fix. This could show a pattern of neglect or negligent conduct.
Spoliation Letter After a Trucking Accident
An experienced attorney will send out a spoliation letter to all the parties shortly after the crash in order to attempt to preserve evidence related to the collision before it can be destroyed. The letter warns that if the party fails to properly secure and preserve these important pieces of evidence, it will give rise to a legal presumption that the evidence would have been harmful to the trucker in the case.
Trucking Accident Accountability
The bottom line is holding the responsible parties accountable after a trucking accident. Under the Michigan No Fault Act, a person can sue or make a claim against the at fault driver's insurance company for pain and suffering if they are seriously injured in the crash. The no fault rules are complicated. Thus, it is important to protect and preserve your rights after a trucking accident. The assessment of damages must be made on the basis of comparative fault. Damages can be awarded in a personal injury action for pain and suffering that has already been endured by the injured victim as well as future pain and suffering. Whether the defendant is the truck driver, the trucking company or insurance company, Gerald R. Stahl has the experience and determination to hold the at fault party accountable.