After a truck accident in Merrillville, Indiana, you may find that you suffer significant physical and emotional personal injury, not to mention the severe financial costs you’ve incurred. In the aftermath of your collision, hiring a Merrillville truck accident lawyer may be your best option to receive just compensation.
Although you can pursue an insurance personal injury claim on your own, insurance companies will find reasons to lowball or reject your claim. The sheer weight and mass of commercial trucks can turn even a minor truck accident into a horrific, traumatic scenario, which is why you may deserve full compensation.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you may have more questions than answers. A knowledgeable and compassionate Merrillville truck accident lawyer can provide those answers and help fight for the justice you deserve.
Potential compensation after your Merrillville truck accident
After your accident, you may not have the time or emotional capacity to deal with the insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit in Indiana. The complexities of truck insurance also means you may have to deal with more than one insurance company.
A Merrillville truck accident lawyer can help you determine which damages you should seek in your personal injury claim. Dealing with intimidating insurance companies, police reports, and witness testimonies is much easier when you have a specialized attorney to help you.
How a Merrillville truck accident lawyer can help
After your Merrillville truck accident, your health and well-being are vital. You should be able to focus on picking up the pieces of your life. Let the personal injury lawyers at Yosha Law take care of filing mountains of legal paperwork, negotiating with multiple insurance companies, and calculating the damages you’re owed.
Although 95% of personal injury lawsuits are negotiated and settled before a trial is necessary, a Merrillville truck accident attorney can help you receive just compensation for your trauma.
The truck accident lawyers at Yosha Law can help you with the following:
- Explore the merits of your case
- Gather forensic evidence to bolster your claim
- Interview witnesses
- Retain expert witnesses
- File all insurance and court-related paperwork
- Deal with the insurance companies
- Represent you in any negotiations
- Fight for you in court if your case should go to trial
Legal damages in a Merrillville truck accident case
Damages equal the compensation you ask for in a personal injury claim. Some damages are obvious, while others take legal knowledge to understand and seek.
The damages you might be awarded in a truck accident case fall under three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive. The breakdown of each may help you to understand what you may be awarded in a claim or a lawsuit.
Economic damages are calculated based on set and quantifiable costs you incurred as a result of your accident. You would need to provide the insurance companies and courts with verifiable proof of these losses.
Economic damages can include:
- Cost of vehicle repairs/ property damage: Any damage to your vehicle due to your truck accident falls under economic damages.
- Cost of transportation: If you have to take an Uber or public transportation, or were forced to purchase a new vehicle as a result of your accident, you may be entitled to economic damages.
- Medical expenses: Past, present, and future bills related to the injuries you suffered in your accident
- Loss of wages (including paid leave): If you have to use your paid time off (PTO) or you’ve lost your income, this quantifiable loss would fall under economic damages.
- Loss of earning capacity: If your Merrillville truck accident renders you unable to perform work you were able to take on before your crash, or, if you miss out on a promotion as a result of the injuries you’ve sustained.
After a Merrillville truck accident, non-economic damages are tougher to quantify. These damages do not have a set monetary value, and must be determined. Nevertheless, you may be legally entitled to the non-economic losses you’ve experienced.
Severe injury or loss might lead to significant compensation awards.
Non-economic damages may include:
- Diminished quality of life: If you can no longer enjoy the activities you are accustomed to, and the overall quality of your life has been impaired, you may be entitled to compensation.
- Disfigurement or scarring: If your severe injuries change your physical appearance, you can seek non-economic damages.
- Emotional, mental, or psychological distress: This non-economic damage can include any anxiety, depression, acute insomnia, or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) you’ve suffered since your accident.
- Loss of life: If a loved one lost their life as a result of your Merrillville truck accident, you can include this as a non-economic damage in your personal injury claim.
- Loss of limb: A Merrillville truck accident may result in a limb amputation. Although the medical costs associated with a loss of limb are considered economic, the impact the amputation has on your life is immeasurable.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages include any and all emotional, mental, and physical pain you’ve endured as a direct result of your collision.
Punitive damages are considered punishment due to willful negligence by the at-fault party, and they are awarded at the sole discretion of the court. These damages may be considered in a personal injury lawsuit.
However, per Indiana code § 34-51-3-4, punitive damages are capped at $50,000 or three times the amount of your compensatory award. Indiana state law also states that only 25% of punitive damages go to a plaintiff, and the other 75% is placed in a Victim’s Fund.
After your Merrillville truck accident, you may be entitled to these damages.
Yosha Law cares about your recovery
Recovering after a truck accident is no small feat. It takes time to heal physically, emotionally, and mentally. Your life may be forever altered, and you’ll need to learn to adjust to the changes.
Getting your life back on track after a traumatic collision takes a lot of effort. We understand that this process of recovery isn’t easy. We’ll work tirelessly on your behalf to help you receive just compensation.
Our truck accident lawyers work on contingency, which means we don’t accept upfront payment from you when we take on your case. We only get paid if you recover compensation for your losses.
How to prove negligence in a Merrillville truck accident case
After your truck accident, a lawyer can help you to determine who’s liable for your personal injury claim. Liability may fall to one or more parties. Thus, it’s vital to understand the nuances surrounding truck insurance to file your claim correctly.
Who could be liable for your truck accident
Although a truck driver may be solely responsible for the injuries you suffered in your collision, there may be other parties who hold responsibility as well. For example:
- Cargo company: The company responsible for a commercial truck’s cargo may also hold liability in an accident.
For example, if hazardous cargo isn’t stored properly and leaks or ignites and causes your truck accident, a truck accident lawyer may include a cargo company in your claim.
- Truck manufacturer: Recalled truck parts or part failure could lead to your accident. Therefore, a truck manufacturer may be held liable.
- Trucking company: Mandated breaks for truckers, consistent safety inspections, preventing cargo overload, and audited driving time logs are all responsibilities of the trucking company.
If an accident is caused by proper maintenance failure, the trucking company will be held liable. Similarly, the legal doctrine respondeat superior holds a company responsible for an employee’s gross negligence if it’s committed on company time.
Comparative fault and Indiana statute of limitations
Indiana is a comparative fault (also known as comparative negligence) state.This means that if you’re determined to hold more than 50% liability in your collision, a Merrillville truck accident lawyer will inform you that you no longer hold a legal claim to compensation.
If you’re determined to hold less than 50% liability, you may still be entitled to compensation. However, your monetary award will decrease based on the percentage of fault you hold.
Indiana state law § 34-11-2-4 requires all personal injury claims to be filed within two years of the date of your accident. If you wait too long, your claim may be rendered invalid.
Determining the at-fault party
A Merrillville truck accident lawyer who takes your case will need to prove the negligence of each responsible party and calculate the damages you should seek.
Some of the evidence an attorney may gather to bolster your case includes:
- Truck driver logbooks
- Truck electronic data recorder (or black box)
- Any gaps in appropriate insurance coverage for the trucker, cargo company, or trucking company
- Any gaps in a trucker’s Commercial Driver’s License
- The truck’s inspection and maintenance records
- The truck driver’s training and employment history records
- Field sobriety or chemical test results
Tips to avoid a Indiana truck accident
A Merrillville truck accident can result in catastrophic injury and devastate your life. A lawyer can help you in the aftermath, but is there anything you can do to prevent a truck accident?
Every year, trucks log 300 billion miles on US roads. Therefore, it’s impossible to avoid sharing a road with a commercial truck. Most truckers proceed with caution and care deeply about safely sharing the road with other drives. However, it’s still important to remain alert when approaching a large truck.
Some general safety tips to keep in mind:
- Maintain a safe distance
- Always use your turn signal when changing lanes
- Pass trucks with caution
- Allow trucks extra time to stop
- Eliminate distractions while driving
Common Merrillville truck accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucks to undergo extensive safety inspections and the non-stop road time of commercial truck drivers is heavily regulated. However, truck accidents can — and do — occur.
On average, a commercial truck weighs anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds, and this weight can increase due to cargo. This makes any truck accident a potentially tragic encounter.
Some of the common truck accidents we see include:
- Blind-spot collisions
- Undercarriage accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Lost cargo load accidents
- Wide-turn accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
Contact Yosha Law for your Merrillville truck accident claim
At Yosha Law, our clients become a part of our family. We care passionately about the individual circumstances surrounding your truck accident. Our Merrillville truck accident lawyers will fight for your justice so that you can concentrate on your recovery.
We’ll ensure that you understand everything that’s happening with your case, take the time to answer your questions, and commit to taking care of every detail of your case along the way. Contact us today for an obligation-free consultation, and check out our blog for more insights into truck accidents and personal injury law.