After a truck accident, 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.
The sheer weight and mass of commercial trucks can turn even a minor truck accident into a horrific, traumatic scenario that can require a lifetime of care and medical treatment. Although you can pursue an insurance personal injury claim on your own, insurance companies will find reasons to lowball or reject your claim.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you may have more questions than answers. A knowledgeable and compassionate Indiana truck accident lawyer can provide those answers and help fight for the justice you deserve.
After a semi-truck accident and it wasn’t your fault, you could recover compensation for your damages. Our lawyers will fight for your recovery, and we won’t let the insurance companies take advantage of you.
How much you can get after a 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 personal injury lawyer in Merrillville who specializes in truck accident claims 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 you
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
These are just a handful of the reasons it is to your benefit to hire a truck accident lawyer. We will be the advocates who will be standing in your corner, ready to take-on the insurance companies to make sure you get all of the compensation you are entitled to.
Damages you may claim 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.
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Merrillville, Indiana, you may be entitled to these damages.
Yosha Law cares about your recovery after a semi-truck accident
Recovering after a semi-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.
Here are some key ways to prove negligence in a truck accident claim:
- Gather police reports – Official crash reports often indicate contributing factors and determine fault.
- Document scene evidence – Take photos of damage, skid marks, debris etc. to visually prove circumstances.
- Obtain witness statements – Accounts from eyewitnesses can verify negligent behaviors like speeding.
- Review driver history – Look into the commercial driver’s background for previous moving violations or safety issues.
- Assess training/licensing – Determine if the driver lacked proper licensing, training or certification.
- Evaluate maintenance records – Inspection reports and logs may reveal equipment defects or neglected maintenance.
- Consult experts – Accident reconstruction and trucking experts can analyze evidence and opine on negligence.
- Identify violations – Determine if any transportation regulations or commercial driving laws were broken.
- Preserve medical records – Extent of injuries can help substantiate that negligence occurred and caused harm.
Building a strong case requires collecting and preserving all available forms of evidence. An experienced attorney can then demonstrate precisely how the truck driver’s negligent actions caused the accident and damages.
Who could be liable for your semi-truck accident in Merrillville, IN
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 in a semi-truck accident claim
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
Semi-truck accidents in Merrillville: Who is liable for your compensation?
One of the reasons semi-truck accident claims can be so complicated is the question of legal liability. In these cases, there may be more than one liable party. In fact, there may be several. Your lawyer will need to identify all liable parties and prove their degree of fault.
There are multiple potentially liable parties after a truck accident depending on the specific circumstances. These can include:
- The truck driver – Drivers are most commonly liable for accidents they cause by negligent driving behaviors like speeding, distraction, impairment, or violations.
- The trucking company – Trucking companies may be vicariously liable for driver negligence under respondeat superior laws. Negligent hiring, training, or maintenance practices can also establish direct company liability.
- The truck owner – Independent owners who hire out drivers may share liability with the driver or trucking company depending on arrangements.
- Truck manufacturers – If defective equipment like brakes or tires contributed to the crash, the manufacturer may hold product liability.
- Parts suppliers – Suppliers can also be liable if an inferior or defective component caused or worsened the accident.
- Loading companies – Improper loading/unloading or exceeding weight limits could establish negligence on the loader’s part.
- Other involved drivers – If another driver also acted negligently and contributed to causing the crash, they can share liability.
Identifying all potentially negligent parties is critical, as it expands options for recovery and enables holding the most responsible party accountable. An attorney can help determine who is legally liable after a trucking accident.
Types of truck accidents our lawyers represent in Merrillville
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 a free truck accident consultation in Merrillville
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.