The Most Common Causes of Trucking AccidentsLarge truck accidents injure and kill thousands of people in the United States each year. Because tractor-trailers are so much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, the damage they cause when they’re involved in crashes can be huge. Knowing what the most common causes of truck accidents are in Indiana could encourage motorists to drive more safely when commercial trucks are nearby. The most common cause of truck collisions in Indiana is truck driver error. This covers a range of actions, including: Fatigued driving Drunk or drugged driving Speeding or reckless driving Distracted driving Lack of experience or qualification as a truck driver Failing to compensate for adverse road conditions Failing to check blind spots Attempting a dangerous turn or maneuver Driver error isn’t the only cause of truck accidents, however. A crash could also be due to: Lack of truck maintenance or inspection that leads to malfunction of brakes, tires, lights, windshield wipers, or other parts that may lead to an accident Improperly loaded cargo that shifts or may even fall off of open truck beds Faulty parts such as defective brakes or tires that malfunction and lead to a crash Adverse road or weather conditions such as potholes, missing dividers, road construction debris, inadequate signage, rain, sleet, or snow can lead to a crash Knowing the cause of a truck accident can contribute to safer driving in the future, but it’s also crucial for helping determine liability in a personal injury case. Your semi-truck accident attorney needs to know what caused the accident so they can name the liable parties in your claim and increase the chances you’ll receive compensation for your injuries.
What You Should Do Immediately After a Truck AccidentIn the moments after you’ve been in a truck collision, you may feel bewildered and disconcerted, and not know what to do. If you’re badly injured, you should call an ambulance as soon as possible if you’re able, or get someone else to do it for you. After seeking medical attention for yourself or anyone else who was hurt in the crash, you should take these steps after the truck accident:
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Wait until emergency personnel and the police arrive. If you leave before they get there, you could end up facing criminal charges. A police officer can evaluate the collision and create a police report, which will include names of the people involved and details about the accident.
- Collect evidence. If you are well enough, try to take photos of the vehicles involved in the crash, especially your own. Also take photos of your injuries if you can.
- Call a truck accident attorney. After you’ve seen to your medical needs and feel healthy enough, book a consultation with a lawyer that specializes in truck collisions. They can help you understand what your next steps are and start the process of filing a personal injury claim for you.
Our truck accident lawyers will prove who was at faultIn truck accidents, multiple parties can be at fault. Our job is to prove that your injuries were a direct result of negligent actions of one or more of the other parties involved in the crash. Proving another party (the defendant) was liable is crucial for getting you compensation. Determining fault in truck accidents is a big task because these collisions tend to be more complex or involve more than two parties. The responsibility for the accident could lie with:
- The truck driver
- The truck manufacturer
- The trucking company that employs the driver
- The owner of the truck
- The shipping company that loaded the cargo
- Any third-party contractors involved with the maintenance, loading, inspection, or leasing of the truck
- A municipality responsible for road upkeep
Truck Accidents vs Car AccidentsThe aftermath of a truck accident tends to be more complicated than that of a regular motor vehicle accident. Typically, the damage and the injuries sustained are much more severe. The major differences between truck accidents and car accidents are:
- Larger and more insurance policies: Trucking companies usually have higher insurance policies to account for the damage they can cause. If there were multiple vehicles involved in the crash, you’ll have to deal with multiple insurance carriers as well.
- Severe injuries: Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, whereas passenger vehicles weigh between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. Brain or head injuries, fractured bones, severe burns, spinal cord injuries, injuries that cause permanent disabilities, and fatalities are more typical of truck accidents.
- More medical bills: More severe injuries result in higher medical bills. You may need one or more surgeries as well as months of physical or occupational therapy to recover — all of which adds up.
- Property damage: The damage to vehicles and tractor-trailers involved in truck collisions can be extensive, costing thousands of dollars for repairs, or even totalling the vehicle.
- Strict trucking regulations: Commercial vehicles are more heavily regulated than regular passenger vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules about truck driver training, keeping logbooks, inspections, and more.
The Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Indiana
When a passenger vehicle stays in a truck’s blind spot, it reduces visibility of the vehicle for the truck driver, and can lead to a collision. Always attempt to stay out of a truck’s blindspot when you’re driving near one because if you don’t, the consequences could be fatal.
A truck driver may lose control and cause the truck to skid and fold at the connection between the cab and the trailer. Jackknife accidents can be very dangerous because they could result in the truck colliding with several lanes of traffic.
When a truck brakes suddenly, a smaller vehicle behind it might not stop in time and cause the smaller vehicle to slide underneath the truck. These accidents are very dangerous and usually lead to severe injury or death.
In a rollover accident, a tractor-trailer rolls onto its side, usually from taking a turn or curve too fast. Adverse weather conditions can also cause a truck driver to lose control and roll over. Nearby vehicles are at risk of being crushed.
If a truck driver has to brake suddenly and doesn’t have enough space between the truck and car in front of it, it could cause the truck to rear-end a smaller car. This type of rear-end collision can be fatal.
A trailer might have improperly loaded cargo that shifts around during transport. If a truck has an open trailer bed, the cargo can slide off and hit other vehicles at high speeds, or create dangerous obstacles on the road.
Semi-Truck Accidents by the Numbers
- 97% of fatal collisions with commercial vehicles involve large trucks.
- 88% of large trucks involved in fatal collisions were in a multi-vehicle crash.
- 10.4% of all fatal collisions involve large trucks.
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the most dangerous days of the week for large truck collisions.
- 48% of large truck crash deaths happen between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
- The highest number of deaths in truck crashes don’t occur on interstates and freeways, but on other major roads.
- The highest number of large truck collisions happen in June.
- In 2020, there were 4,444 fatal crashes involving large trucks in the U.S.
- There were 310,000 property-damage-only crashes involving large trucks in 2020.
What Are Indiana’s Commercial Trucking Laws?
Commercial trucks that operate in Indiana must follow state and federal laws that regulate commercial transport. These trucking laws address the size and weight of tractor-trailers, shift limits for drivers, speed limits, lane restrictions, and other important details that help keep all vehicles safe on the road.
Speed Limits and Lane Restrictions
In Indiana, trucks must drive 65 mph on the interstate, whereas passenger cars can drive 70 mph. Commercial trucks must also stay in the right lane when traveling on interstate highways in Indiana, except to pass another vehicle, enter or exit the highway, or avoid a road hazard. On three-lane highways, large trucks can use the two far-right lanes.
In order to drive a large commercial truck, drivers need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To get a CDL, a driver must:
- Have a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) for at least 14 days
- Complete entry-level driver training
- Pass a basic controls test
- Pass a vehicle inspection test
- Pass a road test
- Submit to a driving records inspection that covers the previous 10 years
- Submit to a background check from the company that employs them
Driving Shift Limits
Fatigued driving is a big issue for truck drivers, so there are laws in place to regulate how often and for how long drivers can operate a commercial truck.
- Drivers can only operate a truck for a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for ten consecutive hours.
- Drivers may not drive any more after the 14th consecutive hour on duty, if it follows an off-duty period of 10 consecutive hours.
- Drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for a period of eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
- Drivers cannot drive after 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days or 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days. A seven- or eight-day period starts after the driver takes 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.
Truck Size Requirements
A commercial truck can weigh no more than 80,000 pounds, including the wheels, single axle, tandem axle, and tri-axle. Trucks must also fit within height, width, and length restrictions.
What Our Truck Accident Lawyers Do for You
After you’ve been in a bad truck accident, you deserve an advocate who will go over your case thoroughly and fight for your right to seek compensation for your injuries. We handle each truck accident case with extreme attention to detail, working as much as we can for a favorable outcome for our clients.
What You Can Expect When You Work with Us
- We meet with you to discuss your version of what happened and provide you with an initial assessment. We can estimate the value of your case and what kind of settlement would be best for you.
- We investigate your case by examining the scene of the crash and interviewing witnesses. We also look at records pertaining to truck maintenance, truck driver training, the truck’s black box (which records how the truck was being operated at the time of the crash), and other relevant records.
- We gather evidence for your case, including photos taken by you or security footage from a nearby establishment if there was one, pictures of the crash site, records from medical professionals and police, and cellphone records of the truck drivers or other parties.
- We hire experts who can testify as expert witnesses and help us reconstruct the scene of the crash. We also call on other experts who can assess the extent of your injuries or project how much recovery you’ll require.
- We negotiate with all insurance companies involved to reach a fair settlement for you. We’re familiar with the tactics that trucking companies’ insurance carriers use to avoid paying you a reasonable amount and we’re willing to go to court if they refuse to make a fair offer.
- We prepare your case for trial if going to court ends up being the best option for you. We stand by your side at every stage to file the right paperwork, oversee discovery, represent you in front of a judge or jury, and file an appeal if needed.
The Damages You Can Recover from a Truck Accident Personal Injury Case
When you’ve suffered serious injuries from a truck accident, your focus is most likely on recovery. You may also wonder, however, how you’re going to pay your mounting medical bills, or for the repairs to your vehicle. You could be entitled to monetary compensation for the damages you’ve suffered, which can help you cover some of the expenses you’ve already incurred and pay for future costs you may have.
The typical damages you can recover from a truck accident case in Indiana are:
Medical bills for treatment, emergency room visits, doctor’s visits, or therapy
Lost wages or benefits if you’ve missed work
Reduced earning potential if you’re unable to work indefinitely
Repairs to your vehicle or vehicle replacement
Pain and suffering
Mental anguish or emotional distress
Loss of companionship
Loss of enjoyment of life
Other accident-related expenses
Our truck accident attorneys can calculate what damages you may be entitled to recover by looking at your medical bills, pay stubs, and other documentation related to your accident. Our goal is getting you a reasonable settlement that covers these damages and helps you reclaim some of what you’ve lost in the accident.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for a Truck Accident in Indiana
If you’ve lost a loved one in a tragic truck accident in Indiana, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Nothing can make up for the one you’ve lost, but you could get compensation to help pay for end-of-life expenses and find a sense of justice. You could also prevent the negligent party from causing further deaths in the future.
Our wrongful death attorneys may be able to file a lawsuit if the death was caused by a wrongful act or omission of another party. As the deceased’s personal representative, you can argue that this other party was negligent and seek compensation since the deceased can no longer do so.
Indiana Truck Accident Lawsuits: FAQs
Unless you have experience as a personal injury lawyer and dealing with truck accidents, you most likely won’t know if you have a case until you talk to an attorney. Our semi-truck accident lawyers provide free consultations so you can speak with us about your situation and we’ll be able to provide you with an initial assessment and let you know if pursuing a claim is a good idea for you.
It’s hard to say what any given semi-truck accident case in Indiana is worth, since each case differs significantly. Generally, more severe injuries tend to result in higher settlements. There are several factors to consider when determining the amount of your settlement, including:
- Your losses
- The extent of your injuries
- Your lost earnings
- Your age, earning potential, and family situation
- The amount of insurance coverage available
- Whether a death occurred
- The jurisdiction where the claim is filed
- The judge and jury if there is a trial
For a truck accident case, you may receive a settlement or court-ordered award, if the case goes to trial. A settlement consists of compensatory damages, which cover any losses you’ve suffered, and may also include punitive damages, which punish negligent parties and attempt to deter them from doing the same thing in the future.
Our tractor-trailer accident attorneys work on contingency, meaning the payment is a percentage of whatever your final settlement or award is. Since settlement amounts vary greatly from case to case, there’s no average cost for a truck accident attorney.
Semi-truck drivers may cause accidents in some situations, but they can also be victims of another party’s negligence. Road hazards, other drivers who are distracted or driving recklessly, fatigue from working long hours, pressure from employers to make deliveries faster, or a vehicle malfunction can all contribute to an accident where the truck driver isn’t at fault.
If you’re a truck driver who was injured in a recent accident, our legal team can determine what the cause of the accident really was and if you can receive compensation for your damages.
In Indiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. If your truck accident occurred more than two years ago, you may not be able to file a claim or be eligible to receive compensation for your damages.
We understand that you want to focus on recovery and getting your life as closely back to normal as you can after an accident. This process takes time, and can even be lifelong, however. You shouldn’t wait too long to see an attorney about your claim since there is a time limit for your case.
Yes, you can recover some damages even if you are partly at fault for a semi-truck accident. The principle of modified comparative negligence applies in these situations. If you are 20 percent at fault, you can recover 80 percent from the defendant who caused your losses. Also, it’s highly likely that you can recover workers’ compensation money as a truck driver involved in a crash, regardless of who is at fault.
Many people believe that if they are partly to blame for an accident that they shouldn’t bother with seeing an attorney. Even if you aren’t sure that you’re to blame for the crash, you should still see an attorney. They can investigate the accident for you and determine who was at fault and how much.
No, you don’t have to go to trial to get what your case is worth. Most of the time, personal injury cases are settled before going to court. In truck accident cases, the injuries are usually severe, which translates to a higher settlement amount.
The insurance companies for the trucking agency may push back hard to avoid paying out a large settlement, and your attorney may have to set a court date to show that you’re ready and willing to go to trial. Once they see that, they tend to back down and make more reasonable offers.
Legally, you can file a personal injury claim for a truck accident without hiring an attorney. Practically, however, it’s a bad idea. Personal injury claims are complicated enough when they involve two parties driving passenger vehicles. The complexity of a truck accident that may involve multiple vehicles — meaning multiple insurance companies and legal teams to deal with — is enormous. It’s too much for someone without legal training to take on alone.
Our semi-truck accident attorneys have the experience needed to deal with trucking companies, insurance carriers, and other parties’ lawyers in a way that benefits you and increases the chances you’ll get a fair settlement. When you hire our legal team for your case, we will ensure you won’t get taken advantage of.
Our Indiana truck accident attorneys will seek justice for you
After you’ve experienced a devastating truck accident, or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you need the support of a strong advocate. You need someone who will defend your rights, work tirelessly to get you justice, and patiently explain every part of the process to you.
At Yosha Law Firm, we stand by you from day one, all the way until your case is over. We remain in constant communication with you to provide updates on your case and make ourselves available to answer your questions. We investigate your accident thoroughly to ensure we don’t miss a single detail, and we prepare every case for the possibility that it will go to court.
We do everything in our power to get justice for you, so that you can recover some portion of what you lost.
We don’t get paid unless you do
After a bad truck accident, you and your loved ones are focused on recovery. You may have medical bills piling up, along with lost wages because you can’t work. You shouldn’t have to forgo legal representation for your personal injury claim because you’re having trouble making ends meet after your accident.
At Yosha Law Firm, we work on contingency. We don’t accept payment from you until you’ve received your settlement or court-ordered award. We don’t require fees upfront and can start working on your case without payment. We’ll handle your case and work diligently to seek the justice you’re owed while you can work on recovering your health.
Yosha Law Firm is here for you
When you’re ready to talk about your personal injury claim for your semi-truck accident, give us a call for a free consultation.