Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyer
Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyer
Trucks are inherently dangerous due to their size and mass. For this reason, truck drivers and trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their safety for the sake of pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists on the road.
Unfortunately, many trucks fail to uphold this duty, resulting in catastrophic truck accidents that leave thousands of injuries and deaths annually. It is only suitable for negligent parties in truck accidents to be held responsible for their actions, or lack thereof, and compensate the victims of their carelessness.
Did you sustain injuries or lose a loved one in a truck accident? If so, you might be entitled to financial compensation from at-fault parties.
Let the experienced truck accident lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, help you recover a fair settlement for your damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Prevalence of Truck Accidents in the US
According to the most recent data from the National Safety Council (NSC), 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2020. Moreover, 107,000 large trucks were involved in accidents resulting in injury. These numbers show a decrease in fatalities and injuries from 2019 but are still higher than injury and death rates in earlier years.
Fatal truck collisions in 2020 involved a total of 4,965 deaths. The distribution of fatalities is as follows:
- Occupants of other vehicles (71%)
- Truck occupants (17%)
- Non-occupants, e.g., pedestrians and cyclists (12%)
Research also shows that most truck collisions occur:
- On rural roads
- On non-interstate highways
- During the daytime
- In non-work zones
Types of Large Truck Accidents
The most common types of truck accidents include:
- Rollovers: A rollover accident occurs when a large truck tips over on its side or roof. Since a truck’s tractor-trailer has a high center of gravity, a truck can easily roll over when it suddenly turns right or swerves. Rollovers are some of the most dangerous and catastrophic accidents, with higher fatality rates than other crashes.
- Rear-End Collisions: A commercial truck needs more time to slow down and brake entirely due to its size and weight. If a car suddenly stops in front of a passenger vehicle or the truck driver is distracted, the truck can collide with the rear of the passenger vehicle.
- Head-on Collisions: These commercial vehicle accidents can occur on highways, red lights, and stops signs, usually when drivers fail to observe proper right-of-way, are distracted, or experience a mechanical failure, causing them to collide head-first with another vehicle.
- T-Bone Accidents: A T-Bone or side-impact collision occurs when a truck driver hits another car from the side or vice versa. Typical causes of T-bone accidents include failure to observe proper right-of-way, running red lights, speeding, and illegal turns.
- Underrides: Large trucks, such as semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles, have a wide clearance underneath tractor-trailers where a vehicle can slide under during a collision. Underrides are typically caused by speeding, improper turns, and tailgating.
- Jackknife Accidents: A jackknife accident is when a semi-truck bends at its point of separation between the cab and the trailer, mimicking the shape of a pocket knife. Jackknifes can be highly disastrous since semi trucks can take over multiple lanes of traffic and lose control.
- Sideswipe Accidents: These accidents involve commercial trucks hitting another vehicle from the side or vice versa. A truck can cause a sideswipe accident when it fails to check blind spots, drifts out of its lane, or changes lanes carelessly. The force of impact on the other car can cause it to careen off the road or collide with another vehicle.
- Wide Turn Accidents: Large trucks must swing wide when turning to prevent the tractor-trailer from hitting the curb or adjacent vehicle. A wide turn accident can occur if a truck driver drives too close to the curb, turns too fast, or fails to alert other motorists before turning. Similarly, a passenger car can cause a wide turn accident if it attempts to pass a semi-truck from the right while making a right turn or does not slow down for a truck turning at an intersection.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Many factors can contribute to a truck collision, including:
- Speeding: Large commercial vehicles are less stable than passenger cars and need more time to stop. Hence, speeding can make it difficult for a truck operator to avoid collisions before it’s too late. Moreover, speeding can easily cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle if it drives over a pothole or its cargo suddenly shifts.
- Aggressive Driving: In addition to speeding, aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, swerving, and brake checking are some of the most common causes of truck accidents.
- Intoxicated Driving: Drugs and alcohol can impair a driver’s judgment, coordination, concentration, and reaction time, increasing the risk of collisions. An intoxicated driver may sway in and out of their lane, fail to see an oncoming obstacle or worse–fall asleep at the wheel.
- Driver Overfatigue: Excessive sleepiness or tiredness can make any driver dangerous. Unfortunately, work days for truckers are longer than average. When fatigue and lack of sleep catch up to them, drivers risk falling asleep at the wheel or losing concentration, leading to an accident.
- Distracted Driving: Talking on the phone, texting, eating, and drinking while driving can take away a driver’s attention from the road. These behaviors increase the risk of a serious accident because a driver has less time to react to dangerous situations.
- Mechanical Failures: Tire blowouts, brake failures, broken taillights, and other mechanical truck failures can cause many kinds of accidents. For instance, a passenger car may rear-end a truck because of its broken taillights; a truck’s tire blowout can cause it to lose control and roll over on the road; brake failure can cause multiple-vehicle collisions, and so on.
- Inclement Weather: Commercial truck drivers must adjust to poor weather conditions, such as rain, snow, sleet, and fog, to avoid an accident. If a trucker drives carelessly in inclement weather, their vehicle can start skidding or sliding (hydroplaning) due to wet roads or crash into another object due to poor visibility.
- Poor Road Conditions: Besides inclement weather, truckers must make adjustments when driving on roads with potholes, uneven pavement, road debris, and other hazards.
- Negligent Car Drivers: Other drivers can cause semi-truck accidents if they cut off a truck, try to drive past it from the right while it is making a wide turn, drive too close to a truck, and so on.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
A truck accident can cause life-changing injuries for everyone involved, including truckers, other vehicle occupants, and non-occupants. Here are some of the most common injuries that our truck accident lawyers have seen:
- Head and Neck Injuries: Common truck-accident-related injuries to the head and neck include concussions, contusions, whiplash, and scalp wounds. More severe head trauma can result in brain hemorrhaging, intracranial hematomas, and skull fractures. In the worst truck accident cases, victims suffer permanent brain damage, coma, and death.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: A spinal cord injury results from damage to the vertebrae in the spinal column. It can result in severe and life-long complications, such as chronic pain, deep vein thrombosis, urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, and paralysis.
- Fractures: Many semi-truck accidents cause broken bones resulting from the forceful impact on the body. Fractures can range from mild (hairline cracks) to severe (compound fractures with bones breaking through the skin) but are excruciating in any case.
- Lacerations: A truck accident victim can suffer deep cuts on their skin due to broken glass, plastic, and metal.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: The force of a trucking accident can stretch or tear the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Common soft tissue injuries in trucking accidents include sprains, strains, and seatbelt injuries. Severe cases can result in instability, rupturing, and extreme pain.
- Crushing Injuries: If a truck accident victim gets crushed between two or more objects in a collision, the pressure on the compressed body parts can cause damage to the muscles, nerves, and organs. Crush injuries are common in underrides, where victims are more likely to get squeezed under tractor-trailers.
- Amputation: A semi accident can be severe enough to cause instant dismemberment. Otherwise, a victim may suffer serious injuries that require amputation later.
- Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma to internal organs (e.g., spleen, liver, kidneys) can cause organ failure, internal bleeding, coma, and eventual death.
What to Do if You are Involved in a Truck Accident
No one wants to imagine getting into a trucking accident. But no matter how careful you are on the road, there is always a risk of it happening.
Here’s what to do if you ever find yourself in such an accident:
- Get Out of the Way of Traffic. Move your vehicle to the side of the road if possible to avoid further collisions. If your car is no longer operational, wait for assistance.
- Call the Authorities. Call 911 immediately to ensure all injured victims receive immediate medical treatment. The police will also arrive to assist victims and document the scene.
- Document the Scene and Obtain Information. Take pictures of the accident scene and record the exact date, time, and location of the incident if you are able. Obtain the information of everyone involved (names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance information), including the responding police officers and witnesses. Photograph skid marks, debris, traffic signs, and other relevant objects.
- Seek Medical Attention. Undergo an assessment at the hospital to identify all of your injuries. Doing so will also produce a medical record you can use to prove your injuries in a legal claim.
- Record the Effects of Your Accident. Keep a journal to record your physical and non-physical symptoms, including your pain and emotional trauma. Note the number of work days you missed and keep all financial records, such as medical bills and car repair invoices.
- Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer. Call a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin your accident case.
Who May be Liable in an Indiana Truck Accident Case?
Depending on your case’s circumstances, there may be one or more liable parties in your semi-truck accident, including:
Truck drivers have a legal duty to avoid injury to pedestrians and other motorists. They could face liability if they fail to meet this obligation and cause a truck accident.
A truck driver might be liable if they caused an accident due to:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to yield when required
- Failure to adjust to weather conditions
Like a truck driver and other drivers, trucking companies have a legal duty to maintain the safety of public roads. A trucking company could face legal repercussions if the accident was caused by:
- Inadequate maintenance of commercial trucks
- Lack of safety equipment
- Overscheduling, causing driver overfatigue
- Improper cargo loading or overloading the tractor-trailer
- Hiring incompetent truck drivers
If hazardous road conditions played a part in your truck accident, you might also be able to file a case against Indianapolis government agencies responsible for maintaining public roads.
Indiana citizens cannot sue the government because of sovereign immunity, which protects government entities from liability in various situations. Unfortunately, these situations include:
- Temporary road or property conditions caused by weather
- Highway or roadway design or maintenance, as long as the road is “reasonably safe”
Nevertheless, you may still be able to seek compensation from the government. For state claims, you must fill out a Notice of Tort Claim for property damage or personal injury with the Attorney General’s office within 270 days. Damages may be capped at $700,000 for each individual and $5 million for all parties involved.
For local or municipal claims, you must submit your Notice of Tort Claim to the government agency being sued within 180 days.
Filing an Indianapolis Truck Accident Claim
Before you can file a personal injury claim against responsible parties, you must prove:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to you (everyone has a duty of care to prevent injury to others within reason)
- The defendant breached this duty of care
- This breach resulted in the truck accident
- The accident directly led to your injuries and other losses
Substantial evidence is vital to proving fault in commercial vehicle accidents. Your Indianapolis truck accident attorney will collect forms of proof to show the liability of at-fault parties, such as:
- Documentation of the crash scene
- Surveillance or dash cam footage if available
- Data from the truck’s event data recorder or electronic control module (similar to a black box in aircraft)
- Police report
- Incident reports from the trucking company
- Witness accounts
Additionally, your Indianapolis truck accident lawyer will need evidence of your damages, including:
- Photos of injuries
- Medical records
- Record of lost wages
- Medical bills
- Car repair invoices
Damages in a Semi Truck Accident Claim
Our skilled lawyers help truck accident victims recover fair compensation for economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for treatment costs, including hospitalization, medication, surgery, and anticipated future medical treatment.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if you become permanently disabled from the accident. These damages may include loss of future earning capacity, mobility aid expenses, and rehabilitation.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including physical pain, emotional distress, mental trauma, etc.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for wages and income lost while recovering from your injuries or caring for an injured loved one.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for quality of life lost following the accident.
- Property Damage: Compensation for personal property lost or damaged in the accident.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies from a semi-truck accident, including funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical expenses, and grief.
Reaching a Settlement
An experienced attorney can help you file claims against all parties involved. If a truck driver caused your accident, their trucking company would be responsible for paying damages since trucking companies extend liability coverage to drivers.
Similarly, if another driver caused your semi-truck accident, you could file a claim against their personal auto insurance.
Unfortunately, auto and trucking insurance companies don’t always offer fair settlements to victims of semi-truck crashes. You may receive an initial offer that is lower than what you deserve. In that case, have your truck accident attorney negotiate for a better offer.
Never admit fault or volunteer information to an insurance company; they may use your words to lower your settlement or deny your claim entirely. Instead, let your Indiana truck accident lawyer handle all communications with the defendant’s insurance company.
Other Legal Options
Our commercial truck accident attorneys can help you file a personal injury lawsuit if:
- The defendant’s insurance company refuses to make a better offer
- The defendant denies liability for your damages
Your trucking accident case will go to civil court, where a judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and determine a verdict.
However, not all commercial vehicle accidents are destined for court. Since litigation can be expensive and drawn-out, your semi-truck accident attorney could help you pursue compensation through mediation or arbitration. These alternative dispute resolution methods are often less formal, less expensive, and less time-consuming than a court trial.
Statute of Limitations
According to Indiana Law, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the incident (Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4).
Our truck accident attorneys can help you file your case as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline or losing crucial evidence. Once the two-year window is up, the court may no longer hear your case unless it has exceptional circumstances.
The Role of Truck Accident Lawyers
Proper legal representation is critical in any accident involving negligence. To win your semi accident case, your Indianapolis truck accident attorney will:
- Investigate how and why the accident happened
- Establish the liability of responsible parties
- Determine the extent of your damages
- Consult with medical experts and other Indianapolis truck accident attorneys
- File a legal claim on your behalf
- Negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company
- File a truck accident lawsuit, if necessary
- File a personal injury claim against the government, if applicable
How to Avoid Truck Collisions
You can reduce your risk of a truck crash with a few simple tips:
- Allow enough space between your vehicle and the truck when driving behind semi trucks
- Never pass a semi-truck from the right side, even if it shows no indications of turning
- Slow down when you see a semi-truck making a wide turn
- Pass quickly but carefully when overtaking a large truck; never slow down once you have successfully switched lanes
- Stay out of blind spots
- Be predictable when driving near a semi-truck; use turn signals, pay attention to signs, and follow the posted speed limit.
- Lower your bright lights when driving behind a large truck at night
- Report a negligent driver to their trucking company
- Avoid distractions
Arrange a Free Case Evaluation with an Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Did you sustain injuries or lose a loved one in a semi-truck accident? If so, you have the legal right to recover compensation from at-fault parties.
The affiliate attorneys at Injury Lawyers Team have been handling truck accident cases for years. We help victims file legal claims or lawsuits against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and drivers of other vehicles involved. Through our work, we have helped countless semi-truck crash victims recover financial compensation for medical bills, emotional trauma, lost income, and other losses.
Contact our Indianapolis truck accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our Indianapolis truck accident attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for our services unless we win your truck accident case.