Warren, MI - Each year, more than 2,000 people are injured in truck accidents in Michigan and some of them will suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. Recovering damages is a complex process that hinges on determining who can be held accountable. It may be the driver’s fault, but other parties, like the trucking company or the manufacturer, may be to blame as well.
If you were recently involved in this type of crash in Macomb County, MI, you must talk to experienced Warren truck accident lawyers to see what types of damages are available and where you can get them from.
Michigan is a no-fault state, which means you can recover part of the damages through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Unless you have unlimited protection, you won’t be able to get the full amount of damages you suffered. For instance, PIP only covers your lost income for three years and you cannot get pain and suffering damages no matter how badly you were injured.
If you have sustained severe injuries, only seasoned Michigan truck accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. Your lawyers will have to determine who is liable for damages and you may have to sue them if an agreement with their insurer cannot be reached.
You can seek compensatory damages, which are of two types.
Economic damages refer to your financial losses, those that you can prove by bills. If your medical expenses far exceed your PIP coverage, you can get the rest of the money by suing the trucker, his employer, the shipping company responsible for loading the vehicle, or the manufacturer of a defective part.
If you are left with a permanent disability that will affect your earning capacity for the rest of your life, you will be compensated for that as well.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for your pain and suffering. This refers to both the physical pain caused by the injuries and the mental suffering you’ve been through. In Michigan, there is no cap on pain and suffering damages associated with truck accidents. Skilled truck accident lawyers can ask for whatever sum they consider appropriate. They will, however, have to convince the jury that you deserve, for instance, $1 million for your suffering.
In such a case, your lawyers will present as evidence the opinion of medical experts describing how much pain an injury like yours causes. Your lawyers may also present testimonies from your family and friends to show how much your life has changed since the accident. If you have a diary detailing your daily struggles or home videos, these can also be presented in court.
Unlike most states, Michigan does not allow punitive damages in motor vehicle accidents. In other states, you could seek punitive damages if the trucker was drunk, for instance. Michigan only allows exemplary damages, to compensate victims for the “humiliation, sense of outrage, and indignity resulting from injustices maliciously, willfully, and wantonly inflicted by the defendant.”
This doesn’t apply to personal injury claims which are based on negligence, and not malicious or wanton conduct.
This only shows how important it is to have a good lawyer to get the maximum available under compensatory damages.