How Do You Determine Who Is at Fault After a Truck Accident in Indiana?

Red truck overturned and lying in ditch on side.

Anyone injured in a collision involving an 18-wheeler or another commercial vehicle knows that these accidents are very different from regular passenger vehicle crashes. The injuries victims suffer are often more severe, the property damage is usually significant, and many unique factors must be considered when seeking compensation.

Getting the justice and fair compensation you’re owed requires determining which parties were at fault for the accident. This can be more challenging in an Indiana truck accident case since multiple parties could potentially be at fault, including the driver, the trucking company, maintenance companies, parts manufacturers, cargo loaders, and others.

If you were injured in a truck crash in Indiana, you could be entitled to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses you suffered as a result. The Indiana truck accident attorneys at Truitt Law Offices have the knowledge and experience to investigate who is at fault and hold them accountable for the harm you’ve suffered.

Contact us at any time for a free case review.

Factors in Determining Fault for a Truck Crash

If you were injured when a large commercial truck hit your vehicle, you might assume that the truck driver is the liable party. While truck drivers are usually responsible for accidents they cause, other parties could potentially be liable as well. Due to the complicated nature of determining fault, you should get an attorney involved from the start.

To determine who was at fault, several factors must be considered. First, you will need to show that a person or other entity was negligent in some way. For example, if the driver was texting just before the crash, that could demonstrate negligence. Then, you’ll need to show how the driver texting, in this scenario, led to the crash and your injuries. Finally, you’ll need to show that you suffered losses, like medical expenses and lost wages because you couldn’t work while recovering.

Types of Evidence in Truck Accident Cases

Truck accident attorneys understand the importance of moving quickly to gather and preserve vital evidence from the accident scene. Some common types of evidence that an attorney may use to prove fault include:

  • Accident reports
  • Photo evidence  
  • Surveillance or traffic cam footage 
  • Alcohol and drug tests
  • The truck’s black box data recorder
  • The truck driver’s travel logs
  • Cell phone records
  • Witness statements

Some types of evidence may be difficult to obtain on your own. For example, the trucking company might be reluctant to hand over the truck’s black box data recorder or the driver’s travel logs for fear of being held liable. They might even tamper with this evidence to prevent it from being used to support your case.

Does the Insurance Company Have the Final Say on Fault?

Once you file a claim, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation into the accident. Because insurance companies are in the business of paying out as little as possible, they could try to shift blame over to you or simply negotiate a settlement in bad faith.

In that case, you could take the at-fault party’s insurance company to court by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Both sides present evidence for their claims in court, and a judge or jury gets the final say on fault. If they believe you’ve successfully proved liability, they will determine how much you should receive from the insurance company.

Do I Bring a Suit Against the Driver or the Trucking Company?

Determining liability is critical if you hope to bring a claim or lawsuit against all the at-fault parties. If the truck driver caused the crash, you would file your claim or lawsuit against them and their insurer. If the trucking company or another entity contributed to the accident, you would initiate legal action against them.

However, it could get murky if various parties start pointing fingers at each other. That’s why it is crucial to get to the bottom of who played a role in the accident. A seasoned truck accident attorney will have the skills to identify all liable parties and all potential sources of compensation.

Potentially responsible parties might include:

  • The truck driver – In most cases, truck driver negligence contributes to truck crashes. Driver negligence can take many forms, including distracted driving, fatigued driving, drunk driving, speeding, reckless driving, failure to yield, and more.
  • The trucking company – In some instances, the trucking company could also be partly liable for a truck accident. For example, if an investigation determines that the trucking company failed to perform due diligence in hiring the driver, failed to provide adequate training, failed to supervise the driver, forced them to violate federal Hours of Service regulations, or neglected to perform regular maintenance on the truck, they might bear some responsibility for the accident as well. If the negligent trucker was an employee, the trucking company would be vicariously liable.
  • The truck’s owner – In some cases, trucks are leased by trucking companies and owned by third parties. If the truck is owned by a third party and the owner supplied the trucking company with a defective truck, they might also be partly liable.
  • A third-party maintenance company – If the trucking company outsources maintenance and inspection duties to a third-party company and that company neglects to perform those duties, they could also potentially have some liability.
  • Cargo owners and loaders – When cargo loaders fail to correctly secure the cargo in a truck, the load can start to shift around. That can throw off a truck’s center of gravity and result in an accident. If cargo loaders were negligent, then they could also be liable.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims in Indiana?

Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. That means if you are injured in a truck accident, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties. If you do not initiate legal action within that time frame, the court will probably dismiss your case, and you will not be able to pursue the compensation you need through the legal system.

Because the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is short in Indiana, it’s critical to get in touch with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Get Legal Help Proving Fault for an Indiana Truck Crash

If you were injured in a truck accident in Indiana, reach out to the 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Truitt Law Offices today. We have the resources to conduct a full investigation into the accident, quickly gather and preserve evidence to support your case, identify all liable parties, estimate your losses, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Our attorneys work on contingency, so you won’t owe us legal fees unless we secure compensation for you.

Contact the Indiana truck accident attorneys at Truitt Law Offices for a free consultation.

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About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…