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When Should I Consult a Lawyer After a Truck Accident?

An injured man filing an insurance claim form

A truck accident can prove to be an extremely terrifying experience. The impact of a collision with a big rig, long-haul truck can leave you reeling from shock and hurt. Truck accidents can cause trauma and may result in grievous injury. These alone are good reasons to consult a lawyer after a truck accident.

A standard car weighs an average of 4,095 pounds and an SUV can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. However, the average weight of a commercial truck ranges from 10,000 to 85,000 pounds. Thus, regardless of the circumstances, a truck accident has potential to cause massive injury and property destruction. 

After your truck accident, you may decide to retain legal counsel as you pursue your personal injury claim. But you’re in the thick of your recovery process — you don’t want to add to the stressful aftermath of your collision. 

The good news is hiring a lawyer can actually help alleviate your stress. If you have an empathetic, expert legal team in your corner, you can concentrate on your healing. This is particularly true when dealing with a commercial truck accident claim in Indiana, where the legal intricacies can be as complex as the recovery process itself. For example, a seasoned truck accident lawyer in Fort Wayne is versed in the state regulations and federal laws that apply to commercial trucking. With their expertise, they can navigate the maze of legal procedures, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your best interests, allowing you to focus on what’s most important: your health and recovery.

In this article, we’ll help answer some common questions, including:

  • Do truck accidents differ from car accidents? 
  • What type of damage payouts can you expect if you pursue a claim? 
  • When should you consult a lawyer after a truck accident? 
  • How will a lawyer improve your chances at just compensation?

U.S. Statistics on Truck Accidents 

Commercial trucks drive a staggering 300 billion miles annually on U.S. roads. In 2020, trucks were involved in over 415,000 reported accidents. In 2021, truck-involved accidents accounted for 5,601 of 42,915 accident fatalities and accounted for 130,000 injuries.

Nationally, truck drivers are required to undergo extensive training and specific CDL licensing. Nonetheless, truck accidents can and do occur.

Tow truck driver loading a wrecked vehicle

Truck Accidents in Indiana   

In Indiana, truck accidents can occur in any condition. Truck drivers must pay close attention to their brakes as trucks take longer than cars to come to a full stop. Truck brakes can burn out more quickly than car brakes, which is why truck ramps throughout the U.S. highway system provide a vital safety measure. 

Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Fatigued driver: Truck drivers often must drive long distances in one trip. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requires truck drivers to take sleep breaks; however, drivers still may experience fatigue.
  • Inexperienced driver: Some trucking companies may hire drivers without appropriate truck driving experience. An inexperienced driver may not understand the nuanced skills required to operate a commercial truck.
  • Failure to adapt to adverse road conditions: Inclement weather requires slow and cautious driving by truck operators. If a truck cannot stop or a driver loses steering control, a collision may occur.
  • Improper maintenance of truck parts: If a trucking company does not adhere to a regulated maintenance schedule, truck parts may wear out or malfunction while a truck is in operation.
  • High winds: High winds may cause a driver to lose control of a truck. In extreme wind conditions, a truck could topple over or swerve between lanes.

Why you may need a lawyer after your truck accident

Determining fault in a truck accident can prove difficult: Legally, multiple parties may bear responsibility. Some examples of liability attributed to varied parties in a truck accident include:

  • Truck driver: If a truck driver is under the influence or driving at extreme speeds, liability may fall on their shoulders.
  • Trucking company: A trucking company that fails to adhere to safety training, sleep schedules, or other driver requirements may be held legally responsible for an accident.
  • Truck manufacturer: If a truck is found to have faulty or malfunctioning parts, the manufacturer could be liable for an accident.
  • Cargo company: A truck hauling improperly packaged cargo (for example, hazard or flammable materials) that causes an accident could lead to liability for the cargo company.

A commercial truck may have coverage from multiple insurance companies. After a truck accident, insurance companies may try to deny liability and project blame onto another company. If you try to file a legal claim on your own, you may find yourself dealing with the run-around from insurers who want to deny or lower your claim.

A man with an injured leg recovering at home

Potential personal injury claims

An Indiana truck accident lawyer can help you explore the specific damages and compensation you may be owed after your accident. Potential reasons for you to seek a personal injury legal claim include, but are not limited to:

  • Emotional or Mental Distress: Diagnosed psychological injuries suffered due to an accident.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: After a truck accident, emotional, mental, or physical injuries that reduce your quality of life.
  • Lost wages: Lost income, both present and future, as a result of your accident.
  • Medical expenses: Any documented medical appointments, hospital stays, prescribed medication, or procedures you’ve undergone due to injuries sustained in an accident.
  • Pain and Suffering: Non-economic emotional or physical trauma suffered. 
  • Wrongful Death: If you’ve lost a loved one as a consequence of a truck accident.

In cases like Gary wrongful death attorney services, where a truck accident leads to the tragic loss of life, the legal complexities can be overwhelming for the grieving family. An attorney specializing in wrongful death claims in Gary can provide compassionate and skilled representation, ensuring that the family’s rights are upheld, and they receive the compensation they deserve for their immeasurable loss.

Indiana statute of limitations 

Before you consult a truck accident lawyer and file a personal injury claim, you may need some time to process the suffering you’ve endured. However, it’s important to note that Indiana has a statute of limitations on all personal injury claims. Indiana state law IC § 34-11-2-4 requires you to file your claim within two years of the date of your accident. Even if you have a valid claim to damages, after the statute of limitations expires you may no longer have legal recourse to compensation.

When to consult a lawyer

In the immediate aftermath of your truck accident, it’s vital you take several steps before consulting a truck accident lawyer. This will allow a lawyer to have a firmer grasp on the merits of your case and a better sense of what compensation you may be owed. Before you consult a lawyer you should:

  • Gather evidence at the scene of your accident: Take photos and video of the results of your collision. Ensure any eye witnesses are included on subsequent police reports.
  • File a police report: If your accident is severe, you should remain on the scene of the accident and wait for law enforcement to arrive. The attending officers will then conduct a preliminary investigation and fill out an official report; this report includes date, time, contact information, description of the accident, and other important legal documentation. However, you can also file a police report online within 10 days of the accident.
  • Seek medical attention: It’s vital any injuries you’ve sustained are diagnosed and documented by medical officials.

You can see a more complete list in our downloadable Personal Injury Checklist.

After you’ve gathered all your documentation, research local truck accident lawyers. If the insurance company seems slow to act on your filed claim, it may be time to consult a lawyer.

Look for positive client reviews, a proven track record, signs of empathy and care for individual clients, and avoid inflated promises or guarantees. Bring your documents with you to your initial consultation. An expert truck accident lawyer will help you discern what damages to seek, and guide you in your pursuit of justice. 

At Yosha Law, we are passionate about our clients, and consider them part of our family. We can help you after your truck accident and will fight for what you’re owed. 

We also offer an initial free case evaluation where we can help you explore the merits of your case. We will stand beside you and help navigate your case through the legal process. 

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