If you’ve been involved in a commercial vehicle accident in Indiana and believe you may need a lawyer, this guide can help.
Accidents happen, of course, and regardless of how minor or major an accident is, it’s a scary experience for all those involved. You may be dealing with emotional trauma and a stack of bills.
An accident with a commercial vehicle can be more destructive than with passenger cars, as commercial vehicles weigh a minimum of 20,000 lbs for single-axle vehicles and up to 34,000 lbs for tandem-axle vehicles and can have a gross weight of 80,000 lbs. This type of vehicle can outweigh a car by over 75,000 lbs.
In Indiana, commercial vehicles carry a specific type of insurance, and they are required by law to meet strict regulations. Nonetheless, some of these vehicles may fail inspections or lack proper insurance. Driver error, supervisor negligence, and other factors may contribute to severe collisions.
If you’ve suffered in a commercial vehicle accident in Indiana, you may need a lawyer. Insurance companies and truck companies may drag out your claim, as it’s expensive to admit fault and to pay victims. You may feel alone in your pursuit of legal compensation. What should you do after your accident? Are you entitled to compensation?
We’ll break down the following information to help guide you in your process:
- Facts about Indiana commercial vehicle accidents
- The definition of a commercial vehicle
- What to do after an accident with a commercial vehicle
- Statute of limitations to file a civil claim
- Compensation you may be owed
- How to find the right Indiana commercial vehicle accident lawyer
Important facts about Indiana commercial vehicle accidents
In Indiana, collision statistics are compiled yearly by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).The ICJI reports are compiled into books which are made available online. According to the ICJI, the following statistics were true in Indiana in 2020:
- Vehicle accidents caused 896 fatalities
- 38,913 non-fatal injuries were caused by collisions
- Driver error accounted for 85% of all accidents and 95% of fatal accidents
- 8% (14,221) of all accidents involved a commercial vehicle
- 157 people died in commercial vehicle accidents
- 2,589 people suffered non-fatal injuries in commercial vehicle collisions
- 14% of fatal accidents involved a commercial vehicle
According to CNBC, Indiana ranks number one in state infrastructure, which means roads can handle heavy traffic. Yet this honor also means an abundance of commercial vehicles traverse Indiana highways daily. Thus, heightened awareness of commercial vehicle operators, along with awareness of other drivers, is vital to avoid collisions.
What vehicles count as commercial vehicles?
A for-hire bus, a trailer, a truck, and a semi-trailer used with a tractor can all be defined as commercial vehicles. In Indiana, declared gross weight defines whether or not a commercial driver’s license is needed for vehicle operation. A commercial vehicle will also have a designated license plate and vehicle registration.
Vehicle manufacturers signify certain vehicles as commercial and determine a vehicle’s weight rating. Federally, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) defines commercial vehicles as those used for transporting passengers or property for commerce.
What you should do after a commercial vehicle accident
Investigating liability in a commercial vehicle accident in Indiana can take time. Therefore, it’s vital you take initial steps to ensure you have documented the accident and its aftermath properly. Don’t admit fault and don’t panic, but remember to follow these steps:
- Secure the scene: If you can’t pull over to the road shoulder, make sure you secure the scene of your accident with flares and traffic cones. Turn your vehicle’s flashers on. Following your accident, call 911 immediately following.
- File a police report: If none of the parties involved in your accident are injured and no vehicle has suffered damage greater than $1,000, you can file your report online with the state or through the municipal police department where you had your accident. If the police are required, the attending officer will fill out a detailed investigative report, including eyewitnesses and any obvious injury to the involved parties.You’ll need a copy of this report for your personal records and for a commercial vehicle lawyer, should you choose to retain one.
- Image documentation: In the immediate aftermath of your accident, take photos and video evidence. This will help the strength of any civil claims you may choose to pursue. Your Indiana commercial vehicle lawyer will use this evidence to advocate for justice in your case.
- Seek immediate medical attention: Commercial vehicle accidents may cause severe injury and vehicle damage. Although adrenaline after your accident may initially mask injuries, you could have underlying medical issues that could grow in severity. It’s important that you seek medical diagnosis and attention as soon as possible.
Statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits
Although your case may take time to build, Indiana state law IC 34-11-2-4 states that a civil personal injury suit must be filed within two years of your commercial vehicle accident. Exceptions are made if an accident victim was under 18 years old or suffered from a mental disability on the date of the accident. If the insurance companies are slow to pay you compensation, or you feel you may have a valid claim for compensation, it’s important to contact an attorney right away.
Potential compensation after a commercial vehicle accident
After an Indiana commercial vehicle accident, potential compensation is based on individual cases. Your deserved compensation depends on the circumstances of your accident. Promised compensation is never a guarantee: Avoid retaining a lawyer who promises you a certain monetary settlement.
Potential compensation after your accident includes:
- Vehicle repair: After an accident, if an insurance company does not automatically pay for your car repairs, you may be entitled to compensation — including rental car fees and Uber rides you must pay for as a result of your accident.
- Medical costs: Any medical prescriptions, treatments, procedures, therapies, appointments, permanent injury, and hospital bills fall under potential medical compensation.
- Loss of quality of life: If you’re no longer able to enjoy the quality of life you had before your accident, you may be entitled to compensatory damages.
- Loss of salary and future income: If you must take time off of work or quit your job, or if you can no longer work as a result of your accident, this falls under loss of salary and future income. (This includes tipped work and bonuses).
- Pain and suffering: Any temporary or permanent emotional or physical pain after the trauma of an accident may qualify you for a compensatory settlement.
We can represent you after a commercial vehicle accident
At Yosha Law, we care deeply about our clients. We’re here to encourage and support you and to ensure you don’t have to navigate any legal journey your case may take on your own. We want you to concentrate on your healing and want to help minimize the burdens you may carry after your commercial vehicle accident.
We can offer our seasoned and expert legal advice as your advocates. If you retain our services, we can:
- Advocate for you in any legal proceedings or meetings with other party representation
- Advise you on the merits of your case in a transparent, honest, and clear manner
- Determine appropriate compensation you may be owed
- Gather evidence to strengthen your case
- Retain forensic experts or witnesses
We personally invest in each client, and never settle for less than what we know you deserve. Our wealth of experience and legal expertise allows us to take up your fight against insensitive, corporate insurance companies who will do whatever they can to minimize their payout to you.
Decades of courtroom experience enables our legal teams to expertly try your case. Our client testimonials serve as evidence of the dedication and commitment we lend to each case. We have a 98% success rate against insurance companies’ final offers, and some of our clients have won large settlements.
Call Us for a Free Consultation
At Yosha Law, your initial consultation is free of charge. We also work on contingency — we only get paid if you get paid.
If you chose to retain our lawyers, you never have to feel like you’re just another case number. We’re committed to personally investing in each client, and our clients become a part of our family.
You don’t have to fight for justice on your own. Call us at (317) 334-9200 for a free consultation.