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shutterstock_1205973391-300x200Wrong-way accidents occur when a vehicle crosses into the opposite lane and veers into oncoming traffic, colliding with a vehicle traveling in the other direction. Last year, at least 421 crashes in Michigan occurred as a result of someone driving the wrong way on a divided road. Nationally, fatalities resulting from wrong-way accidents have been on the rise. As AAA reports, wrong-way accidents often result in head-on collisions, which can be especially dangerous for drivers and passengers.

A recent news article detailed a wrong-way accident that left three people dead in Iron Mountain, Michigan. A car was traveling in the northbound lane of a local roadway when it suddenly crossed into the southbound lane and struck another car. The other driver tried to brake, but he sadly could not avoid the collision. Both drivers died at the scene, along with one passenger. The other passengers, a woman and two children, were transported to the hospital for their injuries. One of the children was in critical condition. Police are continuing to investigate the crash, but they believe speed was a contributing factor.

What Are the Most Common Causes of a Wrong-Way Accident?

Many different factors can lead to a wrong-way accident. First, drivers may be distracted. They may be talking on the phone or texting while driving, both of which result in drivers paying too little attention to the road in front of them. Second, a driver who is speeding might veer into the opposite lane at a high speed. In this scenario, even if a driver sees another car approaching from the opposite direction, they may not have time to swerve out of the way before a head-on collision occurs. Excessive speeding can cause a driver to lose control of the car more easily, leading to a deadly wrong-way crash. Finally, drivers may travel into the wrong lane if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the AAA, driving under the influence increases a person’s odds of being a wrong-way driver. Driving under the influence means an intoxicated driver becomes a danger to everyone else on the road.

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shutterstock_1591595077-300x136Too often, car accidents involving large trucks can be fatal. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s most recent data, nearly 46,000 large trucks were involved in crashes leading to injuries in 2020. During that same year, there were 4,842 fatal crashes involving large trucks. Among the fatal crashes involving large trucks, the critical event that led to 63 percent of the crashes was another vehicle in or approaching the large truck’s lane.

A recent news article reported that a driver was killed in an accident involving a box truck in Ray Township, Michigan. After the two vehicles collided, the Corvette driver crashed into an electrical pole on the side of the road. The truck driver did not suffer any injuries, but the Corvette driver was killed.

When Can You Sue Employers for Employees’ Actions in Michigan?

Under Michigan law, an employer can be held liable for an employee’s actions following an accident using a legal concept known as respondeat superior or vicarious liability. To establish vicarious liability, a plaintiff must show that the employee works for the defendant and acted within the scope of his employment during the accident. Acting within the “scope of employment” means, in part, conducting some activity during the employee’s designated working hours that ultimately benefits the employer’s business. By contrast, an employer could escape liability if its employees committed negligent acts beyond the scope of employment, such as using an employer-issued vehicle for unauthorized personal trips. Under Michigan law, this rule applies even if the accident occurs during normal working hours, so long as the employee is not completing a task to benefit the employer’s business.

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shutterstock_2154301145-300x200Multi-vehicle accidents can result in a chain of injuries, along with considerable property damage. In particular, truck accidents can lead to especially severe injuries due to the size and weight of a typical truck. As a recent truck accident in Michigan illustrates, a head-on truck collision involves significant force, often leading to devastating high-impact crashes.

According to a recent news article, two people were injured following a head-on truck collision in Paw Paw Township, Michigan. The three-vehicle collision occurred on Highway 51 when a pickup truck driver traveling northbound sideswiped a semi-truck going southbound. After crossing the centerline, the pickup truck driver then collided head-on with a southbound box truck. The drivers of the pickup truck and box truck were taken to the hospital for their injuries.

Establishing fault in a truck accident can raise several issues. First, a driver may be borrowing another person’s truck to transport his or her personal items. In this scenario, Michigan law would assign liability to the truck owner for the truck driver’s actions. In other words, a person who suffers injuries from a motor vehicle accident can sue the vehicle’s owner, even if the owner was not driving at the time of the accident. Conversely, the owner is not liable unless he or she knows or permits someone else to drive the vehicle. However, if the driver at the time of the injury is the owner’s spouse or immediate family member, Michigan law presumes that the owner knew and consented to the use of his or her vehicle. If a plaintiff sues the owner and the driver who borrowed the owner’s truck, the plaintiff can only recover one sum from all defendants. For example, if the plaintiff sues for $50,000 in damages, they can recover a total of $50,000 from all defendants, rather than $50,000 from each defendant.

shutterstock_400863919-300x200We often think of cars and other road vehicles as high-risk machines that should be operated safely at all times. But boats and other marine craft, even those used for recreation, can bring about accidents, injury, and even death when operated in an unsafe manner.

According to a recent article, a woman experienced serious leg injuries in an accident on Lake Michigan. The woman was on an inflatable raft when a large boat reversed and ran over the device, injuring the woman and another individual. Cell phone footage of the accident shows that she and the other person were sucked under the boat. The severity of the injuries necessitated the amputation of both of her feet. In the days after the amputation the woman expressed shock and difficulty adjusting, imploring boaters to use more caution on busy recreational lakes and waters.

Damages for Serious Injuries in Michigan

Just like careless drivers in car accidents, negligent boat operators can be held liable for a victim’s injuries in civil court. Boat operators who fail to use reasonable care in operating their boats or are under the influence of drugs and alcohol are likely to be found negligent by a jury, which means they may owe you for your economic and emotional damages. Injuries, particularly injuries that result in scarring and disfigurement, can be financially compensated for in court through both types of damages award. And when video footage of the accident is available, as in the recent accident, victims may be able to more easily prove the cause of their harms.

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shutterstock_84041677-300x200Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that a previous amendment to Michigan’s insurance laws was unconstitutional, reversing the amendment in a way that is now favorable to individual policy holders across the state. The ruling comes as a victory for victims of car crashes that find themselves in need of money for medical care and that might normally face uphill battles in getting their insurance companies to compensate them for their care.

In 2019, a significant change to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law made it so that many insurance companies could take reimbursement away from injured Michiganders after their accidents occurred. Individuals that had previously paid for lifetime medical care in their insurance policies often saw their benefits slashed when they then became victims in a traffic collision and needed more intense medical care. As a result, these same victims often lost access to critical care when they needed it the most.

Late last month, however, a three-judge panel on the Michigan Court of Appeals decided that changing the terms of patients’ coverage after their accidents violated the Michigan constitution. Now, because of the ruling, insurance companies are unable to cut victims’ coverage after they are involved in any kind of car accident. If a Michigan driver, then, has enrolled in coverage that provides for full-time care and that driver then becomes the victim of an accident, their coverage will stay in place after the accident occurs.

shutterstock_673012249-300x206According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, over 50 percent of U.S. traffic deaths happen when a driver crosses the center line or edge of a roadway. Crossing the center line can result in a head-on, or frontal, collision, which accounted for 58 percent of passenger vehicle deaths in 2020, according to reports from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute.

These statistics are grim for passenger cars, but compound when one considers the added risk motorcyclists experience in the event of head-on collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than passenger car occupants due to their size and exposure.

Deadly Michigan Motorcycle Accident

According to a recent article, a Michigan man died after his motorcycle collided in a head-on crash with a van. Early investigations report that the van crossed the center line of the highway and crashed into the motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle was ejected and died at the scene. A passenger also riding on the motorcycle was also ejected and suffered critical injuries and hospitalization. Whether or not the victims wore helmets is unclear. Witnesses claim the driver of the van was considerably over the center line, so much so that another motorcycle was almost struck. The driver of the van showed signs of intoxication and had open intoxicants in his vehicle, and an investigation is pending.

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shutterstock_744979924-300x200Not all Michigan crashes are accidents, and drunk driving incidents are a prime example of preventable crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day, over 30 people in the nation die in a drunk-driving accident. Recent statistics indicate that nearly 11,700 people were killed in an alcohol-related traffic accident in 2020- a 14% increase from the previous reporting year.

Alcohol is a substance that can significantly reduce a person’s brain function, which can lead to cognitive impairment and difficulties with reasoning and coordination. In essence, alcohol impairs all the abilities related to safely operating a vehicle. After consumption, alcohol passes into the bloodstream and metabolizes in the liver. The blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured by the amount of alcohol in a certain amount of blood.

In most states, including Michigan, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08. However, crash data indicates that many accidents involve situations where the impaired driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dl. Even a BAC of .02 begins to affect a driver’s cognitive ability.

shutterstock_676181746-300x200Every day, there is a wide range of different vehicles being driven by individuals, including what are known as off-road vehicles. Off-Road Vehicles, or ORVs, are motor-driven recreational vehicles that are capable of cross-country travel and that are meant to be used off-road or on dirt roads. ORVs are not meant to be driven on paved roads or highways. These vehicles are capable of traveling on land, snow, ice, marsh, and other landscapes. ORVs include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), and other similar vehicles. ORVs can have different sizes depending on the type of vehicle. For example, ATVs can weigh more than 600 pounds, in addition to being able to reach speeds of 65 mph or more.

In a recent news article, a 17-year-old Greenville resident passed away after an ORV accident in Otisco Township. According to the report, the 17-year-old driver and an 18-year-old passenger were riding in the ORV when the vehicle flipped over. The 17-year-old driver died in the crash, while the 18-year-old passenger was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Initial reports suggest that speed and recklessness were likely factors in the accident, and neither individual wore a helmet at the time of the accident.

In the state of Michigan, ORV license and trail permits are valid for one year, which begins April 1 and ends March 31 of the following year. The Michigan state government website includes information about permit requirements and trail etiquette, in addition to reminding people that operators under the age of 16 in Michigan are required to take an approved ORV education course.

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shutterstock_628251-300x200In action-packed movies and action-packed tv shows, it is not uncommon to see a scene involving speeding vehicles crashing into objects that result in the vehicle erupting into flames. When these types of crashes happen in the real world and involve a vehicle catching fire, these crashes can be especially devastating for those involved and even for those who witness the fiery crash. According to research conducted by the National Fire Protection Association, “an estimated 212,500 vehicle fires caused 560 civilian deaths, 1,500 civilian injuries; and $1.9 billion in direct property damage in the US during 2018.” The causes of vehicle crashes that involve fires are not always easily identifiable or immediately clear and take some time to be investigated properly.

A recent news article revealed the details of a tragic accident that occurred during an air show in Battle Creek, Michigan. A 40-year-old male died while driving a semi-truck powered by jet engines 300 mph down a runway as part of a performance. A video shows him driving past an explosion on the runway when his jet-propelled truck catches fire and appears to roll. The crash took place during the show’s pyrotechnic portion when planned explosions were going off. The crash is still under investigation.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading causes of vehicle fires were mechanical failures or malfunctions and electrical failures or malfunctions. The association stresses the importance of regular maintenance on vehicles to prevent vehicle fires. When vehicle crashes include fires, family members of accident victims may wonder how this impacts their ability to recover damages. One may be able to bring a product liability suit against the vehicle manufacturer. The manufacturer of a vehicle can be held liable for defective trucks they design when it is proven that the vehicle posed a reasonable risk of harm, that a safer version of the vehicle could have been manufactured, and the defect was a direct cause of the injuries sustained. In addition to the possibility of product liability suits, victims and the loved ones of those killed in these types of accidents should consult with an experienced lawyer who can help determine which type of civil lawsuit may be viable.

shutterstock_552711124-300x200Auto-pedestrian accidents in Michigan present a serious danger to commuters trying to navigate our cities on foot. The aging roadway infrastructure in our state often lacks adequate safety features to allow pedestrians to safely cross roads and highways. A pedestrian was recently killed when she was hit while attempting to cross the street in Detroit in May 2022. A recently published local news report discusses the accident and the consequences being faced by the driver of the vehicle involved.

According to the facts discussed in the news report, the victim, a 32-year-old Detroit woman, was attempting to cross the intersection at Livernois and Dragoon street when she was struck in the median by a truck. The driver of the truck fled the scene after the crash, and the woman was pronounced dead by authorities after they arrived on the scene. Although the driver of the truck fled the scene of the crash, the 24-year-old Detroit man later turned himself in and was placed under arrest for his role in the fatal crash. According to the article, the man was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash, and reckless driving that caused death.

Although the driver of the truck may face serious criminal consequences for his role in the victim’s death, the family of the victim may need to pursue a civil claim against the driver to receive financial compensation for the loss of their loved one. Drivers on Michigan roads owe other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians a basic duty of care to prevent intentional or negligent injury by the driver’s conduct. When a driver violates that duty by driving negligently or violating traffic laws in the process of causing an accident, they can be held accountable for the consequences of the crash.

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