Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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_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_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.

shutterstock_620008691-300x225Michigan roads can be dangerous under any conditions, with many drivers failing to pay enough attention to the road, speeding, following too closely, or operating their vehicles while impaired. Accidents that involve semi-trucks and other large vehicles are even more dangerous. Although truck drivers must be licensed and trained to safely operate their vehicles, the pressures and stress involved with hours of driving can lead to lapses in judgment. A local news report discusses a recent accident involving two semi-trucks and a car, which ended in tragedy.

According to the recently published article, the crash happened on April 28 on Interstate 94 near Albion township. It appears that a semi-truck driver was following a car too closely, and when the car started braking to avoid colliding with another semi-truck in front of it, the semi in the rear crashed into the car. After the initial collision, the car was crushed into the other semi-truck and sandwiched between the two large vehicles. When police and EMTs arrived on the scene, the only occupant in the car was pronounced dead, and one of the semi-truck drivers was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Victims of accidents involving semi-trucks or other large vehicles may face different challenges in seeking compensation for their losses. Semi-truck drivers have an increased duty to the public to operate their vehicles safely, and state and federal regulations mandate acceptable and unacceptable driving practices. An accident victim needs to know exactly what regulations applied to the trucker involved in the crash and should be able to determine if any safety regulations were violated before the accident occurred. If an accident victim can demonstrate that a truck driver was not complying with safety regulations or was in violation of a traffic law before an accident occurs, then proving the truck driver’s negligence and holding them accountable becomes much easier.

shutterstock_667288234-300x200Head on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of car accidents for several reasons. One of the reasons why head on collisions are so dangerous is that they often involve high speeds, as these accidents typically occur on undivided highways or other roads that have higher speed limits. Another reason why head on collisions often result in such serious injuries is that the impact in these accidents is direct, meaning a vehicle goes from traveling full speed to a complete stop in a split second. The results of a head on accident are often fatal, and even when motorists survive, they may suffer lifelong debilitating injuries.

According to a recent news source, a head on collision in Cheboygan County claimed the life of one Michigan man. The accident occurred on M-68 near the M-33 junction in Koehler Township at approximately 5:25 in the morning. Evidently, the driver of a Ford pickup truck was heading eastbound on M-68 when he suddenly lost control of the vehicle. The truck crossed over the center median and into oncoming traffic, at which point it collided with an oncoming car, driven by a 54-year-old man from Onaway. Emergency responders came to the scene and determined that driver of the car had died from the injuries he sustained in the accident. The driver of the pickup truck suffered minor injuries. Emergency responders were able to treat him on the scene, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

Fault in Michigan Head On Accidents

Head on accidents don’t just happen; they are almost always caused by driver negligence. In the case discussed above, there is no indication of what caused the driver of the pickup truck to lose control and cross into oncoming traffic. While the official investigation is still underway, it is likely that the driver was somehow negligent.

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Sometimes, when you are involved in an accident, the at-fault party is charged criminally for his actions. Most commonly, this typically involves a driver who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is a crime in most states. When the at-fault party is charged criminally, however, it does not guarantee that you, as the victim, get compensation. In fact, to receive damages for your injuries or property damage from the crash, you have to file a separate civil claim against the driver. Understanding this distinction between criminal and civil cases is crucial to getting the compensation you deserve.

According to a recent local news report, a pickup truck driver took a number of substances before he was involved in an accident that killed one teen passenger and severely injured another. The prosecutor stated that the driver picked up two teens and others before heading to a house party, where he consumed alcohol and “whippets,” which are inhalants that substantially affected his ability to drive and operate his vehicle. After the accident happened, the driver fled the scene on foot. Various witnesses corroborated that the driver was drinking at the party, and the prosecutor also obtained a video of the driver inhaling whippets before the crash. The driver pleaded no contest to several counts, including operating while intoxicated and causing death and failing to stop at the scene of the accident when at fault for causing death.

When an at-fault party is charged criminally, they are typically being prosecuted by the state. The result of the criminal case is typically a punishment handed down by the state, such as jail time or community service. The victim in the accident is not involved in the criminal case outside of potentially being included as evidence of the at-fault party’s wrongdoing.

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