The city of Gary sees plenty of traffic from semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles, whether they are traveling to Chicago or any of the other major metropolitan areas throughout Indiana. Fortunately for everyone, most trips that commercial trucks take end without incident thanks to the extensive training and professional conduct of the drivers who pilot these massive machines.
Unfortunately, as personal injury attorneys in Gary know all too well, trucks that do get involved in motor vehicle accidents tend to cause uniquely catastrophic harm to everyone else involved. If you were hurt in an incident stemming from a truck driver’s negligence or that of their employer, a knowledgeable Gary truck accident lawyer could be an important ally to have by your side.
Available Damages After an 18-Wheeler Accident
While any collision between motor vehicles can cause serious injuries to the drivers, passengers, and passers-by involved, the sheer weight and size of the average commercial truck can make even a low-speed collision uniquely dangerous and deadly.
The severity of these wrecks means that civil claims following truck accidents are often extremely valuable in terms of recoverable damages. Unfortunately, this is due to how likely the injuries are to be permanent and devastating in nature.
Depending on the specific injuries a plaintiff experienced and the extent of the impact those injuries have on their life, recoverable damages in a commercial vehicle wreck claim might include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Home/vehicle modifications to allow for mobility despite a newfound disability
- Lost wages and decreased earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain
- Vehicle replacement costs
- Lost consortium
- Disfigurement or disability
- Psychological trauma, such as PTSD
An Indiana truck accident attorney could clarify what losses might play a role in a particular semi-truck crash case during an initial consultation.
Fault in Truck Accidents Explained
Part of what makes civil litigation following commercial truck crashes especially complex is the number of different parties who could bear partial or primary fault for the wreck.
Even if a collision stems entirely from a truck driver acting recklessly or carelessly in operating their vehicle, their employer still may bear vicarious liability for failing to ensure they hired only qualified and dependable drivers, or for failing to provide proper training and rest periods for their employees as required by trucking laws in Indiana.
A third party who was not directly involved in the actual crash could also be at fault. For example, if a supplier did not ensure that cargo was properly secured prior to transit, and that cargo later shifts and causes the truck’s driver to lose control of the vehicle, fault for a crash might lie more with the supplier than the person who was actually driving the truck at the time.
Causes of Truck Collisions
There are many different reasons commercial truck accidents happen, and these can often be traced back to negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company. These include:
Drivers spend long periods of time on the road, so they may resort to dangerous behaviors like texting, talking on the phone, or watching videos and movies while they’re beyond the wheel. These are dangerous in any vehicle, but in a commercial truck that weighs many times more than your average car, this kind of negligence can easily prove to be deadly.
There are laws regarding how many hours drivers can drive and how often they must take breaks, but trucking companies can fail to uphold these laws or set unrealistic expectations that cause drivers to break these laws to make their deadlines.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Setting unrealistic schedules and expectations of truck drivers can also lead to speeding and reckless driving to stay on schedule. Drivers may also speed to try to make up for lost time if they made unauthorized stops.
Driving While Under the Influence
Drivers may use drugs and alcohol to stay awake for long periods of time and to cope with their lifestyle. Trucking companies are required to test drivers for drugs and alcohol, but they may fail to do so.
Negligent Hiring and Improper Driver Training
A truck driver shortage has led to many drivers who lack proper training ending up behind the wheel of these potentially deadly vehicles. The truck driver shortage also led to a new law being passed in 2022 that allows teens to drive commercial trucks. This lack of training and experience has caused many tragic accidents.
Failure to Maintain Vehicles
Sometimes the cause of a semi-truck accident is the truck itself, either due to a failure to maintain the vehicle or manufacturer defects. In their Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report from 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stated that the most common vehicle-related cause of most truck accidents is the tires.
Establishing Negligence After a Truck Accident
To get a settlement or court award after a truck accident, you will first need to prove negligence on the part of another party or parties. To do this, you will need to establish that:
- You were owed a duty of care by the other party
- The other party breached that duty of care
- This breach of duty of care caused the accident and your injuries
- Your injuries (or loved one’s death) resulted in damages
More than one party’s negligence may have contributed to the truck accident, so you may have to establish negligence against parties that include the driver, the trucking company, a loading company, a manufacturer, or even a government agency if the wreck was caused in part by road conditions.
Getting Compensation After a Truck Accident
In truck accident claims, the damages are usually high due to the severity of the injuries, which could require lifelong care and a permanent loss of the ability to work. Some damages you may be able to recover include:
- Medical bills
- Emergency transportation costs
- Lost wages
- The cost of future medical treatment
- Compensation for the loss of the ability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Costs associated with wrongful death, such as burial and funeral expenses
The insurance companies have many tricks they will use to try to devalue your claim. Yosha Law will not let them get away with it. Let us fight to get you the full and fair compensation you are entitled to in your unique situation.
How Comparative Fault Could Impact Recovery
Another factor that can have a dramatic effect on civil recovery efforts is the degree to which the injured party filing suit was to blame for causing or worsening their own injuries through their own negligence.
Under Indiana Code §34-51-2-6, any person who bears a portion of fault for their own civil damages may be subject to a proportional reduction in their final damage award’s value based on their percentage of total fault.
Furthermore, any plaintiff found more at fault for their accident than all defendants combined may be ineligible to obtain any civil compensation for that incident whatsoever. Support from a knowledgeable truck wreck lawyer in Gary could be essential to understanding and effectively contesting allegations of comparative fault during claims.
Discuss Legal Options With a Gary Truck Accident Attorney
Dealing with the various short-term and long-term repercussions of a 18-wheeler collision can be immensely difficult for anyone, especially someone who sustained severe and possibly life-threatening injuries during that wreck.
Things can get more complicated still if you try to pursue civil recovery for the damages you experienced in a crash like this without guidance from someone who has successfully handled similar cases before and understands the dos and don’ts of a truck accident claim.
A knowledgeable Gary truck accident lawyer could work diligently and tirelessly on your behalf to obtain the compensation you need for the injuries you did not deserve. Learn more by calling today.
Let Us Fight For You – Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation
Right now, you might feel like life will never go back to normal. Despite your mounting medical bills and significant physical and emotional pain, faceless insurance companies will try to devalue the quality of a life – whether it’s yours or a loved one’s. But, you don’t need to fight this battle alone.
Though no amount of money can undo what has happened to you, and you may be entitled to full and fair compensation under the law. Our expert team of legal professionals are here to fight for your brighter future and make your voice heard.
Let us know what’s happened to you and receive a free case evaluation as your first step toward justice.