You hear about 18-wheeler accidents on Indiana’s highways, but you never imagine one could happen to you or a loved one. But when it does, the consequences can be devastating.
Semi-truck accidents often lead to traumatic or fatal injuries. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident, one of the best things you can do to get justice for what you’ve suffered is to hire an Indiana truck accident attorney.
At Yosha Law Firm, our 18-wheeler accident lawyers specialize in truck accidents and have worked on many truck accident cases in the past. We know exactly how to maximize the potential of your case, not only to get you a fair settlement but also to see justice done for your pain, suffering, and loss.
Truck Accident Statistics in Indiana
Truck accidents happen all the time in Indiana, and they can be fatal. Learn more about where, when, and how truck accidents occur so you know what you’re up against:
- Of all vehicles involved in Indiana collisions in 2020, 3.6% were large trucks that were speeding. That means there were nearly 11 collisions with speeding trucks every week.
- Of the large trucks involved in speeding accidents in Indiana in 2020, 19% resulted in injury.
- 10.4% of all fatal collisions involve large trucks.
- 97% of fatal collisions with commercial vehicles involve large trucks.
- 88% of large trucks involved in fatal collisions were in a multi-vehicle crash.
- The highest number of deaths in truck crashes occur on major roads, not interstates and freeways.
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the three days of the week with the most large truck collisions.
Should you take legal action after a truck accident?
Seeing a semi-truck lawyer may not be the first thing you want to think about after an accident. You may think it’s too challenging or not worth the trouble. But if you’re a victim of a truck accident, then we encourage you to contact our team today — even if you think it would be pointless.
You’ll only really know if your case has a chance of succeeding if an experienced attorney has a chance to review it. Our team can meet with you for a free consultation to review your case and determine if legal action is indeed the right choice for you.
Reasons to Contact an Attorney After Your 18-Wheeler Accident
- You or a loved one has catastrophic injuries. Semi-truck accidents are more likely to lead to severe injuries than car accidents. If you have a spinal cord injury, brain injury, laceration, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, or another serious injury, contact our legal team about your case.
- You can focus on recovery. The convalescence after a truck accident can be long and tiresome. While you’re dealing with doctors’ appointments and rehabilitation, your attorney can work on your legal case to get you fair compensation for the expenses you’ve had to pay.
- An attorney can get you a better settlement. You can try to seek compensation on your own, but you probably don’t have a lot of knowledge of personal injury law or experience dealing with insurance companies, trucking companies, and all the parties involved in a truck accident case. The truck company will get their lawyers involved, so it will be more difficult to get a fair settlement on your own.
- An attorney can find the at-fault party. In a big truck accident with multiple parties involved, it may not be immediately clear who is at fault. It could take hours of research, going through paperwork, and interviewing witnesses to find the at-fault party. Let your attorney spend those hours on that work so you don’t have to.
Scheduling a free consultation is risk-free for you. You can ask one of our attorneys about your case, meet our team to see if we’re a good fit for you, and get clear direction on how to move forward.
What are the main causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents?
Generally, truck accidents are caused by driver error. A collision could be due to other factors as well, however. The most common causes of truck accidents are:
- Failure to yield
- Aggressive driving or following too closely
- Truck veering to left of center
- Driver fatigue
- A truck running off the road to the right
- A driver disregarding a signal
- Inclement weather
- Improperly secured and spilled loads
- Inability to see cars in the blind spot
- Poorly maintained roadways
Distracted driving can be dangerous for any driver, but especially for commercial semi drivers.
Types of Truck Accidents
The type of truck accident that you were in can impact several aspects of your case. Some types of accidents result in more damage than others, or they involve more than just two vehicles. The most common types of truck accidents in Indiana are:
- Jackknife: When a truck folds at the junction between the cab and the trailer, it’s called a jackknife. Equipment failure, poor road and weather conditions, or inadequate breaking can cause a truck to go into a jackknife position. A jackknifed truck starts skidding and as the driver loses control, the truck may crash into multiple vehicles across several lanes of traffic.
- Underride collision: An underride collision happens when a truck breaks suddenly and a smaller car right behind the truck slides underneath the trailer. These types of accidents are nearly always catastrophic, possibly fatal. Most trucks have underride guards at the rear bottom of the trailer to prevent an underride collision, but sometimes it’s not forceful enough to stop a car from sliding underneath a trailer.
- Rollover: A semi-truck can roll over when a driver takes a turn too quickly. When a rollover accident occurs, it puts nearby cars and people in danger because the trailer is so heavy and it could crush them.
- Tire blowout: Truck tires blow out often, unfortunately, since trucking companies may fail to repair or replace them adequately. When a tire blows out, it can cause the truck driver to lose control and collide with other vehicles.
- Lost load: A truck can lose its load if it’s not secured properly, which can be dangerous for other cars on the road. When a semi collides with another vehicle, it can also cause the truck to lose its load, making the accident worse.
- Rear-end collision: A truck driver may become distracted and run into the vehicle in front of them, or traffic may stop suddenly, causing a collision. If the other vehicle is much smaller than the truck, it can cause serious damage.
- T-bone: A T-bone crash is when one vehicle hits another vehicle’s side. If a semi-truck T-bones a smaller car, it can total the car and severely injure or even kill the car’s occupant.
Whatever type of accident you’ve been in, our truck accident lawyers can go over all the details and let you know how to proceed with a truck accident case.
Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents
Truck accidents are much more dangerous and usually result in more severe injuries than car accidents. It’s also not uncommon for an accident with an 18-wheeler to involve multiple vehicles, rather than two.
Filing insurance claims and finding who’s at fault is also much more complex for truck accidents than for car accidents. In a car accident, the fault typically lies with one of the drivers who was involved in the crash — although it can sometimes be attributed to external factors.
In semi-truck accidents, the fault could lie with a number of parties, not just the truck driver. It could be the trucking company’s fault for forcing the driver to meet unreasonable deadlines, or letting an inexperienced driver operate their commercial vehicles. It could be the fault of the mechanic that services and repairs the truck, if the accident was caused by equipment failure. If it’s a lost load accident, it could be the shipping company’s fault for not loading correctly.
Each of these parties also have their own insurance carriers and legal teams to deal with accidents as well. You can see how quickly a truck accident case can become complex and overwhelming. Trying to seek compensation by yourself would be a nightmare if you’re unfamiliar with personal injury law and semi-truck accidents.
Our attorneys know how to handle these types of cases. They know what to look for at the scene of the accident and what information to ask for from other parties’ legal teams and insurance companies, and they can explain all of it to you so you understand the process fully.
Are truck drivers always to blame?
Although the cause of a truck accident is often due to driver error, the fault may lie with another party. Equipment failure, lost loads, and other factors outside of the driver’s control may contribute to a collision with other vehicles on the road. In these cases, the trucking company, loading company, or even the mechanic that services the truck could be to blame.
Some truck accidents may also be caused by passenger vehicles that are taking enough precautions when driving near a semi. One small car can cause a multi-vehicle accident. Accidents with 18-wheelers are hardly ever straightforward, so seeking the advice of an experienced attorney is a good idea if you’re considering seeking compensation for injuries, damage, or pain and suffering.
Truck Driving Laws in Indiana
Indiana trucking laws put limits on the size of tractor-trailers as well as mandates how long drivers can operate a commercial truck for. These laws are in place to keep roads safe for 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles.
Truck Size Requirements
A commercial truck’s total weight cannot exceed 80,000 pounds — that includes the weight of the wheels, single axle, tandem axle, and tri-axle. They must also follow certain width, height, and length restrictions to be able to operate on Indiana roadways.
How Truck Drivers Get Licensed
Truck drivers must meet certain requirements before they can operate a commercial vehicle. The steps to getting licensed as a truck driver are:
- Acquire a commercial learner’s permit.
- Possess the permit for at least 14 days.
- Pass a truck inspection test, basic vehicle controls test, and driving test.
Potential truck drivers must also undergo a thorough check of their driving record in all 50 states. Most trucking companies also require background checks on drivers before hiring them and letting them operate a commercial vehicle.
Consecutive Driving Hours
Many truck collisions are caused by driver fatigue, because long-haulers drive long hours in order to meet deadlines. To help clamp down on fatigued driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules that drivers must comply with:
- 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.
Hourly restrictions are crucial for maintaining safe driving conditions for both truck drivers and other drivers on the road.
What Our Indiana Lawyers Do for You After a Truck Accident
Our truck accident attorneys have dealt with many cases involving collisions with 18-wheelers, and they have the experience to help get you justice. We work thoroughly and comprehensively on your case, ensuring that no detail is left unscrutinized.
You can expect our legal team to carry out the following services when we’re working on your truck accident case:
- Investigation: We examine the accident from as many angles as possible and gather all the data we can get our hands on. We collect evidence from the scene of the accident, including any camera footage if available. We consult with witnesses, subpoena the trucking company for data about the tractor-trailer involved, ask a mechanical engineer to inspect the vehicles, consult with expert witnesses such as medical professionals, and much more.
- Paperwork and correspondence: Our staff files all legal paperwork needed so you don’t have to. We also receive communication from the other parties and the legal teams on your behalf and advise on how to respond. It’s possible to receive frequent correspondence from your insurance company, court officials, law enforcement, or the opposing attorney, and we can track all those communications for you.
- Legal representation: One of our truck accident attorneys will represent you at all legal proceedings for your case — we’ll never let you attend a hearing alone. If your case ends up in court, we will be prepared to present it to a jury. When we first take on truck accident cases, we always prepare our team for the possibility that the case will go in front of a jury, so that there are no surprises if it does happen.
We’ve had significant success with personal injury and 18-wheeler accident cases, securing multimillion-dollar settlements or verdicts for some of our previous clients.
Evidence in Truck Accident Claims
Gathering evidence for your truck accident case is crucial if you want to seek compensation. As your attorneys, gathering evidence will be one of our primary tasks when working on your case. But you will also need to keep records of everything related to your truck accident if you want your case to be successful.
The types of evidence and information you should gather includes:
- Police report: Whenever a truck accident occurs, even if it’s minor and no one seems to be gravely injured, you should call the police. The officer who arrives at the scene will make an accident report, which you can later access and use in your legal case. The truck accident report from the police includes important information like when and where the accident occurred, conditions of the vehicles at the scene, and the names of the drivers involved.
- Medical attention: You should seek medical attention immediately after your accident, even if it doesn’t appear that you’re seriously injured. Symptoms can manifest later on, and if you want your medical expenses to be covered by your compensation package, it’s better if you get medical attention sooner.
- Medical records and bills: Keep a copy of every medical bill you receive, along with documents related to your medical visits. Always ask healthcare providers that you see for this information and make a copy of it for yourself and your attorney.
- Evidence from the accident scene: If you or no one else is gravely injured from the truck accident, try to gather some information from the scene, such as photos of the vehicles involved, the names of the drivers and any witnesses, and notes about nearby stores or traffic lights which may have cameras.
- Expense receipts: Keep the receipts for any purchase you have to make related to your accident. Medications, hotel stays for out-of-town doctor visits, a rental car while yours being repaired — anything you think might be an accident-related expense should be accounted for.
You can also read our personal injury client checklist to know which documents you should bring with you when you meet with your attorney after a truck accident.
We’ll deal with your insurance company
After you’ve been in a bad truck accident, you may think that your insurance carrier will look out for your interests when you submit a claim. Insurance companies don’t have your wellbeing and justice as their top priority when processing your claim, however. They will also ask you for extensive documentation about the accident, your injuries, and your vehicle.
Our legal team knows how to handle insurance companies and will be able to advise you on how to deal with yours. We can also help you provide all the documents you’ll need to present to your insurance company.
Choose experienced truck accident lawyers
As a victim in a truck accident, you’ve been through enough. We understand that you’re working hard to put the pieces of your life back together, but sometimes, it can be overwhelming. Trying to deal with a legal case on your own will only prolong your recovery.
As your truck accident lawyers, we’ll offer our knowledge, dedication, and empathy. Our attorneys will stand by your side and guide you through this process, ensuring you understand the details and drawing upon years of experience to offer you sound legal guidance.
Call Yosha Law Firm today for a free consultation. We work on contingency, so you won’t have to pay a penny in legal fees upfront — we only get paid if we secure you a settlement or verdict.