It is likely that at least once in your lifetime you have experienced driving behind a vehicle when it kicks up dirt or rocks and hits your windshield. Most of the time this does not cause any serious damage other than a small scratch on your windshield or body paint, but what if you were behind a large flatbed or commercial truck in Detroit and you encountered a much more serious hazard on the road such as spilled cargo? Falling cargo causes a car accident more than you think.
If the cargo in a large commercial truck is improperly secured and loaded, it can shift during transit and cause the driver to lose control of the truck, or worse, the cargo could come loose entirely and pose a serious risk to drivers on the road as they try to steer out of the way. If you or a loved one have been injured in a semi-truck accident such as this, you may have a cause of action against the truck driver.
Is a Truck Driver Automatically Responsible for Falling Cargo?
A study conducted by AAA in 2016 determined that over 200,000 accidents between 2011 and 2014 cited falling cargo as a contributing factor. Improperly secured cargo was found to be the cause of the majority of these accidents. During the same time period, road debris was found to be the cause of over 39,000 car accidents and 500 fatalities. Loose cargo can cause very serious injuries to drivers, and some people that sustain injuries in these cases are left with crushing medical debt and are unable to work. So who takes the blame for accidents caused by falling cargo?
Many people automatically assume that the truck operator is at fault for these types of accidents, but that is not always the case. There are many other factors at play in these types of accidents besides the truck driver’s responsibilities. There are often several different individuals and companies involved in transporting any type of cargo. That means that the blame can be assigned to many different individuals, and many of these entities likely have different insurance carriers. Because of this, these cases can quickly become complex. That’s why it’s important when falling cargo causes a car accident you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.
If you or a loved one are involved in a Detroit trucking accident, you will be entitled to the same compensation as those involved in other types of car accidents. Michigan is a no-fault state, which allows compensation from two separate claims, third-party negligence claims and personal injury protection (PIP) claims.
A Michigan PIP claim allows an accident to receive the following benefits:
- Payment of medical expenses up to the amount of PIP coverage available under the policy
- Three years of lost wages from the date of the accident
- Replacement services to cover household chores or childcare needs the victim can no longer complete for up to three years from the date of the accident
- Attendant care (in-home nursing)
- Medical mileage
- Out-of-pocket medical costs
- Vehicle and/or home modifications
Negligence claims can be pursued by the victim of the accident if the truck driver is found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident. Since this type of claim covers non-economic damages as well as physical pain and suffering, the payout can be sizeable. The following benefits may be available to victims in negligence claims:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of quality of life
- Mental suffering
It’s critical to have an experienced Detroit semi-truck accident attorney who can walk you through these two types of claims, as they can quickly become complex and difficult to navigate on your own.
Here at Lee Steinberg, we treat our clients like family and we are always available to discuss the details of your case and situation. We work aggressively to win your case and get you the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to find out how we can help.