Indiana Semi-Truck Accident

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Indiana Semi-Truck Accident In Indiana

Indiana sits in the middle of the country. Semi-trucks are also called big rigs, tractor-trailers or 18-wheelers. They carry large cargo and routinely pass through Indiana. Unfortunately, given the large number of semi-trucks that drive on Indiana roadways, accidents often occur. Consequently, an Indiana semi-truck accident, because of the truck’s size and weight, can cause serious injuries to other drivers.

Why You Need an Indiana Semi-Truck Accident Attorney If a Semi-Truck Accident Left You Injured

If a semi-truck accident left you injured, immediately call an Indiana semi-truck accident attorney. Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Therefore, you have to sue within two years of the accident if you can’t settle with the driver’s insurance company.

However, you may need an experienced Indiana semi-truck accident lawyer to immediately investigate the accident. If the semi-truck driver hit your car after running a stop sign, proving the semi-truck driver’s negligence is easy. But if mechanical failure caused the accident, experts will have to be hired to inspect the semi-truck. If driver fatigue was a cause of the accident, your attorney will have to get the driver’s log.

What a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Can Do for You

Investigators will have to locate and interview witnesses to the accident.

If there were multiple vehicles involved in the accident, the actions of each of the other drivers will have to be examined.

Road conditions caused the accident. In that case, experts may have to be retained to examine the accident scene. They will find out if the lack of a shoulder caused the accident. Likewise, they may find that placement of road barriers or defective traffic lights caused the accident.

Black Boxes May Make Your Case

Lastly, most commercial trucks have “black boxes” similar to an airplane. If you are in an accident with a semi-truck, your attorney can get the data on the black box downloaded. The data on the box will show the speed of the semi-truck before the accident. It will show when the driver applied the brakes. Lastly, the data will show if the semi-truck was on cruise control at the time of the accident, among other information.

As you can see from the above, the accident you get in may require a great deal of work to develop solid evidence. Evidence that will convince the semi-truck driver’s insurance company to settle on good terms. Or, if need be, to convince a jury to make a favorable damage award.

In brief, if a semi-truck accident in Indiana injures you, get an experienced Indiana semi-truck accident attorney as soon as you can.

Does This Sound Like Your Accident?

Snow covered Rt. 69 north of Indianapolis. Snowplows were running up and down the highway. A Chevy Malibu was driving in the slow lane. The driver was being cautious because of the snow. A fully loaded semi-truck passed the Malibu, going 10-15 miles per hour faster than the Malibu. As the semi-truck passed the Malibu, the semi-truck driver began blowing his horn. Suddenly, the cab of the semi-truck turned into the Malibu’s lane, while the trailer continued straight.

The Malibu driver applied his brakes. But that made him skid into the side of the now jackknifed semi-truck. The jackknifed semi-truck also hit two other cars.

This is How a Semi-Truck Accident Happens

The Malibu driver suffered head, neck and shoulder injuries from the impact with the jackknifed semi-truck.

The semi-truck driver told the responding police officers another driver cut him off. That forced him into the Malibu’s lane. Consequently, the semi-truck jackknifed.

Did the driver tell the truth? Were there witnesses who could confirm the driver’s story? Was the semi-truck going too fast, given the road conditions? An experienced Indiana semi-truck accident lawyer can find out the answer to these questions and others

What Types of Semi-Truck Accidents Occur in Indiana?

Given the large number of semi-trucks on Indiana roadways, there are many types of semi-truck accidents.

Rollovers can occur with devastating consequences. If a semi-truck driver is speeding on a curved ramp, a rollover can occur. Additionally, a rollover can happen if the shipping company put too much cargo in the trailer. Alternatively, a rollover can occur if the loaders did not properly secure the load.

Fully loaded semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If they have to stop quickly, it will not happen. Given their weight, they cannot stop like smaller, lighter vehicles. Consequently, semi-trucks are often involved in rear end collisions.

Semi-trucks can also get into jackknife accidents. A jackknife accident occurs when the wheels of the cab, in which the driver sits, lose traction with the road. The cab then skids. Meanwhile, the trailer continues to roll straight ahead. In effect, the weight of the trailer pushes the cab to the side and “jackknifes” as it continues in a forward direction. Cars near the jackknifed semi-truck can be struck by the now out-of-control semi-truck.

Other types of semi-truck accidents

  • Multi-Truck accidents
  • T-Bone
  • Backing-up collisions

With this in mind, if a semi-truck accident injures you or a loved one, contact a knowledgeable Indiana semi-truck accident attorney to help you.

What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents in Indiana?

Semi-truck accidents happen for many reasons, including:

  • Mechanical failure-Frequently, mechanical failure causes a semi-truck accident. For instance, brake failure or problems with the steering on large trucks can lead to semi-truck accidents
  • Truck driver fatigue-In many instances, accident investigators cite truck driver fatigue as a reason for a semi-truck accident. Notably, federal trucking regulations require large truck drivers to take regular breaks. Therefore, they are only allowed  to drive a set number of hours in a day. Moreover, federal regulations require them to keep a driver’s log showing how many hours they drove. Additionally, the log must show when they took their rest breaks. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow those rules.
  • Hazardous road conditions-Wet or icy roads can be hazardous. So can roads cluttered with debris and potholes. In either case, such conditions lead to semi-truck collisions. Additionally, poorly designed roads and those with narrow or non-existent shoulders can cause semi-truck accidents.
  • Speeding-Speeding is another common cause of a semi-truck accident. As a practical matter, large trucks speeding take a relatively long time to a stop if, for example, other vehicles cut them off. Additionally, if a car stops short in front of the semi-truck, the semi-truck may not have the time to stop.

Other Causes of a Semi-Truck Accident Include:

  • Tire blow outs
  • Unsecured loads
  • Brake failure
  • Drunk/impaired driving
  • Bad weather

Certainly, fully loaded semi-trucks weigh thousands of pounds cannot stop as quickly as passenger cars. In addition, semi-truck drivers who are driving their semi-truck properly have no control over other drivers who may drive negligently. For example, careless drivers may drive in the semi-truck driver’s blind spot or pass on both sides.

Who Can be Held Liable if an Indiana Semi-Truck Accident Left You Injured?

Injured people may hold multiple parties liable because of an Indiana semi-truck accident:

  • Truck driver-If the semi-truck driver was speeding or otherwise driving recklessly, anyone injured in a semi-truck accident can hold the truck driver liable. Likewise, a fatigued or intoxicated driver should not be behind the wheel. In that instance, injured parties can hold him accountable
  • Owner of the Truck-Injured persons can hold the truck owner liable for the negligent actions of his employee truck driver. Additionally, if improper maintenance of the truck caused the semi-truck accident, injured parties can hold the owner liable
  • Manufacturer of the Defective Vehicle, Tires, or Other Parts-If defectively manufactured parts on the semi-truck caused the accident, injured persons can hold the manufacturer of those parts liable. In fact, defectively made brakes and tires can cause a semi-truck accident
  • Shipping company-If a rollover accident happens, the shipping company may not have properly secured the cargo in the trailer. In that case, injured parties can sue the shipping company

And Do Not Forget Other Motorists

Motorists may drive negligently. As a result, they can cause a semi-truck to rollover or strike other cars. Consequently, you can hold those drivers liable if their negligence resulted in a semi-truck colliding with you.

To sum up, every semi-truck accident is unique. An experienced Indiana semi-truck accident attorney will know how to investigate the accident. He will the preserve evidence. Additionally, if necessary, he will hire an expert to examine the semi-truck. He may also have experts reconstruct the accident itself to determine where fault lies.

What Kind of Injuries do Indiana Semi-Truck Accidents Cause?

Indiana semi-truck accidents result in many types of injuries:

  • Soft tissue/whiplash-Repeatedly, we see soft tissue injuries occurring in a semi- truck accident. As a matter of fact, such injuries can range from being a nagging injury to one that leaves you bedridden
  • Bone fracture-Frequently, a semi-truck accident can mean broken bones to the occupants of the car. By and large, semi-truck accidents injure car passengers because of the truck’s size and weight
  • Concussions-In many instances, a semi-truck accident can also result in concussions to the car’s occupants. Again, the size and weight of the truck can severely jostle car passengers. At the same time, their head may strike the interior of the car
  • Wrongful death-Unfortunately, semi-truck accidents can result in the death of car occupants. As an illustration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were 13.5 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2018. That is a 27 percent increase from 10.6 in 2010. Furthermore, in 2018, on average, there were 1.12 fatalities in fatal crashes involving large trucks. Another key point is that in 90 percent of those crashes, there was only one fatality. The majority, 82 percent, of fatalities were not occupants of the large truck

Other common injuries in a semi-truck accident:

  • Shoulder, back and neck sprains/strains
  • Burns
  • Internal organs
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputations
  • Spinal cord/paralysis

What Are Your Damages if You Are Injured in an Indiana Semi-Truck Accident?

Under Indiana law, there are has several types of damage claims you can make if you are injured in a semi-truck accident caused by a negligent driver:

  • Medical expenses-You may recover all of your medical expenses (even those insurance may have covered)
  • Damages to your car
  • Lost wages-If you have to miss work because of your injuries, you may recover those lost wages
  • Pain and suffering-This type of damage is subjective but is widely recognized in Indiana personal injury law. You can tell the jury how badly your broken leg hurt after the accident. In addition, you can describe how you had to go through physical therapy for weeks. Furthermore, you can tell them how it hurt for months. Lastly, you can tell the jury that you cannot run on it today. That is pain and suffering
  • Disability-If there are lingering symptoms from your injury (and there often are) you can tell the jury about them. Perhaps you have trouble concentrating at work because of your concussion. Maybe you get headaches reading. The jury can compensate you for those damages
  • Future medical needs-If you suffered a traumatic brain injury or partial paralysis, you may need medical and physical therapy treatment for the foreseeable future. Of course, the jury may compensate you for that
  • Loss of consortium-If a semi-truck accident killed or severely injured your spouse, the jury can compensate you for the loss of consortium. That is to say, the loss of the affection, advice and companionship spouses show each other; and

Punitive Damages Are Rare, But…

  • Punitive damages-Punitive damages are a distinct class of damages.  They are not usually available in a negligence case. Punitive damages punish the defendant for bad conduct. For the most part, cases in which defendants cause a semi-truck accident because of negligence do not involve punitive damages. However, punitive damages might be available against a drunk semi-truck driver who had several prior drunk driving convictions. Similarly, if a trucking company destroyed evidence that showed they failed to properly maintain the semi-truck involved in the accident, punitive damages might be available. In short, there would have to be serious misconduct on the defendant’s part to justify an award for punitive damages. But if  you deserve to get punitive damages, we will make every effort to get them for  you.

Experienced and Knowledgeable Indiana Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer

If a semi-truck accident has left you or a loved one injured, you need an experienced Indiana semi-truck accident attorney. As can be seen, an accident involving a semi-truck is probably more complicated than an accident involving passenger cars. We will investigate the accident. We will then determine who caused the accident. Lastly, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at our Hammond office at 219-200-2000 or online at alexmendozalaw.com for a free consultation.

 

 

 

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