Accidents involving large trucks are among the most devastating we see. This is due to the huge size differential between everyday passenger vehicles and many of the commercial vehicles they encounter on the road. When these vehicles collide, passengers in the smaller of the two are at greater risk of suffering serious or even fatal injuries.
If you were involved in a truck accident in Indiana, you are likely wondering how you can recover compensation for your injuries. Accidents involving large commercial vehicles are often more complex than other motor vehicle accidents because there may be multiple liable parties. Ultimately, you may secure compensation from the truck driver, their employer, cargo owners, or even the truck manufacturer.
In all cases, you should not wait to speak with an attorney. The sooner you do, the sooner they can evaluate your case and start mapping your path toward maximum compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Truitt Law Offices are here to help. Call us today for a free consultation.
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What Are Some Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Indiana?
According to a report by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (UPPI), though commercial vehicles are involved in only 7.7 percent of all traffic accidents in Indiana, accidents involving these vehicles account for 16.7 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. “Commercial vehicles” include large trucks, combination vehicles, pickup trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds, buses, and vehicles carrying hazardous materials.
The UPPI further reports that anywhere between 13,000 to 17,000 accidents involving commercial vehicles occur in the state each year. In 2017 alone, these resulted in 3,297 injuries and 152 deaths. Driver error is the primary factor in nearly 94 percent of commercial vehicle accidents. Common causes of Indiana truck accidents include:
- Unsafe lane maneuvers, such as swerving
- Following too closely
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Improper turning
- Disregarding traffic lights
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
Who Are The Liable Parties in Truck Accidents?
Accidents involving large trucks are often characterized by the large number of potential at-fault parties. If you are injured in one of these accidents in Indiana, you may be able to secure compensation from:
- Truck driver – Of course, many large-truck accidents are caused by the truck driver’s irresponsible behavior. Among other things, this may include speeding, driving while distracted, following too closely, failing to check blind spots, and driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Trucking company – If the truck driver is directly employed by a trucking company, that company could be held liable for accidents caused by the driver’s actions while operating in the “course and scope” of their employment. A truck company could also be liable if it knowingly hired an unqualified or unlicensed driver, did not properly train its drivers, pressured drivers to work beyond their hours-of-service limits, or failed to administer required drug tests. Further, if the company failed to properly maintain its trucks, it could be responsible for an accident caused as a result.
- Truck manufacturer – If a truck defect or malfunction causes an accident, the manufacturer could be on the hook for products liability.
- Truck maintenance crews – Truck maintenance crews must perform routine maintenance on commercial trucks and ensure they meet all safety standards. If a truck malfunctions because of improper maintenance, the person responsible for maintaining the truck could be liable.
- Truck loaders – The cargo in a commercial truck must be loaded, balanced, and appropriately secured to prevent accidents. A cargo loader who fails to meet these requirements could be liable for a crash caused by improperly loaded or secured cargo.
- Other motorists – In many cases, car accidents involving large trucks are not caused by truck drivers at all. For example, if a third-party driver recklessly cuts in front of a large truck and causes it to collide with your own vehicle, that driver could be liable for resulting injuries.
How to Prove Negligence in an Indiana Commercial Truck Accident?
The vast majority of personal injury cases, including those involving large trucks, rely on a negligence theory to recover compensation. According to this legal theory, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely to reduce the risk of harming others. This is known as the duty to use “reasonable care.”
Failure to uphold this duty can lead to legal liability when someone is injured as a result. However, injured victims must prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the responsible driver caused the accident. An experienced attorney can help you build a strong negligence case by:
- Gathering evidence from the scene
- Interviewing witnesses
- Examining surveillance footage
- Requesting a copy of the police accident report
- Demanding records from the truck company, such as employment records, maintenance records, and “black box” logs
- Handling communication with insurance companies
- Negotiating an out-of-court settlement
- Taking the case to court if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached
What Compensation Is Available for Truck Accidents in Indiana?
If you were injured at no fault of your own in an auto accident involving a large truck, you might be entitled to a wide range of compensation. With the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney, you may be able to pursue compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses related to treating your injuries, including hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, medications, and medical equipment
- Lost wages if you are unable to work while you recover
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injuries result in permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Lowered quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Wrongful death
- Property damage
Contact Truitt Law Offices for Help After an Indiana Truck Accident
If you were injured in a large-truck accident in Indiana, do not hesitate to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. The experienced commercial truck accident attorneys at the Truitt Law Offices can evaluate your case to determine who is liable for your injuries and how much compensation you could be owed. We are ready to handle your case and fight for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.