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Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?

Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other large commercial vehicles are common on Interstate highways and in rural areas around Indiana. Unfortunately, Indiana is also on a list of the top ten states with the highest average of fatal large truck or bus crashes.

When truck drivers or trucking companies act negligently, they endanger other drivers on the road, leading to crashes that can cause significant harm. Due to their large size and weight, semi-truck accidents are especially dangerous to victims.

Regardless of the severity of truck accidents, they are often life-altering from an emotional, physical, and financial perspective. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation.

The personal injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are available to help you with your truck accident case.

Finding an Experienced Commercial and Semi-Truck Accident Attorney in Indianapolis, IN

Truck accident cases can quickly become complicated. There are many factors at play, and determining liability is difficult because there may be several parties at fault. The trucking company’s insurance agency will immediately start investigating the accident, so don’t delay in securing legal counsel.

It’s in your best interest to be represented by a law firm with the experience and resources you need to build a strong case so that you can secure compensation for your injuries. Three of our attorneys have been named Indiana Super Lawyers, two of whom have been included in the Top 10 Indiana Super Lawyers list. WKW partners Bruce Kehoe and Bill Winingham have also been recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” for Indianapolis in Best Lawyers. It is this standard of excellence and dedication that we will bring to your truck accident case.

With over 30 years of practice, the truck accident attorneys at WKW will investigate and analyze every part of your case and guide you to a successful outcome. Whether your case is negotiated at settlement or brought to trial, WKW is ready for the challenge.

Common Indiana Truck Accident Causes

Semi-truck accidents are often caused by human error, but outside influences can lead to a crash as well.

The following factors are common causes of truck accidents:

  • Distracted driving: Texting, talking on the phone, eating, grooming, or other such behaviors behind the wheel can lead to serious accidents.
  • Impaired driving: Drivers who operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are a danger to everyone on the road.
  • Fatigue: Truck drivers often have exhausting schedules, potentially exacerbated by tough-to-meet delivery standards put in place by trucking companies.
  • Improper training: Trucking companies and independent contractors alike must ensure that their drivers are adequately trained and experienced before they operate a commercial truck.
  • Equipment malfunctions: Semi-trucks should be regularly maintained to make sure they are safe to hit the road. Any malfunctioning parts could cause an accident.
  • Improper loading: Tractor-trailers haul a lot of cargo, and an improperly secured load can throw a trailer off balance, leading to a crash. Sometimes, the cargo itself is dangerous (toxic liquids, flammable materials, etc.).
  • Road conditions: Poorly maintained roads and inadequate signage make navigating a trucking route difficult.
  • Weather conditions: Rain, snow, sleet, fog, wind, or other adverse weather can make it more challenging for drivers to see or stop.

Truck accidents can be caused by any of these factors or even a combination of several. Knowing the most common causes of truck accidents can help keep you and your family safe while driving on the highway.

Common Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents

All types of truck accidents—whether caused by distracted driving, equipment malfunctions, or improper loading—can lead to serious injury, death, and property damage.

There are several ways you can be injured in a truck accident. Injuries such as the following are common:

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spine injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Severe burns
  • Internal bleeding
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Loss of limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Death

Some of these injuries may not be obvious immediately after the accident. They could show up days, weeks, or even months later. It’s important that all victims involved in a truck accident visit a doctor as soon as possible, regardless of whether they have visible injuries.

What Should You Do at the Scene of an Accident?

At the scene of an accident, the first priority is always ensuring your safety. Once you and other involved are safe & unharmed, you should consider the next steps. Taking photographic evidence of an accident is crucial. In the event a lawsuit is filed, you will need evidence to back your case. In addition to photographic evidence, asking any eyewitnesses for their contact information is extremely important.

18-Wheeler Crashes vs Car Crashes

Truck accidents are different from other automobile accidents in a few fundamental ways:

  • Size and weight: Due to the extreme weight and size differences between semi-trucks and passenger cars, collisions result in the smaller vehicle bearing the brunt of the impact.
  • Stopping distance: The time and distance tractor-trailers need to come to a complete stop is much greater than that of smaller passenger vehicles.
  • Dangerous cargo: Some commercial trucks carry flammable or hazardous materials. Additionally, cargo that is not properly secured can fall off the trailer and cause accidents.
  • Trucking company expectations: The policies of some trucking companies require drivers to be on the road for extended period of time, which can lead to driver fatigue.

These differences can all contribute to the severity of semi-truck accidents.

Compensation for Truck Accident Victims

If you are seeking compensation as a truck crash victim in Indiana and your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to collect damages from the liable party.

Damages you could secure include the following:

  • Hospital bills
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost income or wages
  • Property damage, such as car repair or replacement
  • Car rental and towing costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lower quality of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Mental anguish

Some types of compensation, called special damages, are economic in nature and are therefore relatively easy to calculate. Other costs, such as pain and suffering, are called general damages and are typically more difficult to quantify. An experienced Indianapolis truck accident lawyer can help you determine how much compensation you could receive.

How Do I Maximize Compensation after a Truck Accident?

To maximize compensation following an accident, keep track of lost wages and expenses, avoid social media posts, follow your doctors orders and seek medical treatment, hire a good attorney, and don’t talk to the insurance companies without direction or guidance.

Proving Negligence in an Indiana Truck Accident Case

Commercial vehicle accident investigations tend to be more complicated than crashes solely involving passenger cars. Many parties can be held responsible, including the truck driver, the employer of the truck driver, the owner of the truck or trailer, the trucking company, the loading company, the cargo manufacturer, or the truck manufacturer.

To determine who is at fault in a truck accident, the trucking company and its insurance agency will send out a team of investigators to the accident scene. Depending on the severity of the accident, state authorities may also launch an investigation.

Part of your attorney’s job is to investigate the accident, analyze the evidence, and determine who is at fault.

What Indiana Victims Should Know About Trucking Companies

Trucking companies have their own legal team and insurance agency advising them about any commercial truck accident. Their goal is to quickly and thoroughly investigate the accident, identify who is at fault, and when possible, limit the liability of the trucking company.

In general, trucking companies can be held liable for the actions of their employees, assuming those employees acted within the reasonable scope of their jobs. Additionally, they are responsible for ensuring drivers are properly trained and qualified to operate the commercial vehicle in question.

By seeking legal assistance, you can rest assured that you have an advocate who will fight trucking companies and insurance agencies alike for the compensation you deserve.

What is the Stopping Distance for Trucks?

The FMCSA calculates the stopping distance of semi-trucks vs cars as follows: normal vehicles going 65 MPH will need about 300 feet to stop. Commercials trucks driving at 65 MPH will need 600 feet to stop.

What Standards are Set in Place to Avoid Drowsy Driving?

To avoid drivers becoming too drowsy to be on the road, the FMCSA regulates the number of hours a truck driver may drive per day. Truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours per day and 60 hours in a seven-day week.

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Truck Accident Claim?

It is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to settle a truck accident claim. Individual circumstances within an accident are the ultimate determining factors of the length of time in which it will take to reach a settlement.

Why is An Early Investigation After a Truck Accident so Important?

Following a truck accident, any evidence should be preserved. Evidence can include things from the scene of the accident such as dash cam video, bystander/witness information, and any photos or videos related to the accident. An early investigation ensures all evidence can be accurately utilized in relation to your case.

How Our Indianapolis Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help After a Crash

Contact an experienced Indiana truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. At WKW, we assist victims who have been injured. Our team can help you navigate the complexities of personal injury law and understand if you can seek compensation for your injuries.

The Indiana Claims Process

After a truck accident, you may feel overwhelmed—medical bills, car repairs, calls from insurance agents, and low settlement offers can all pile up until it seems impossible to fight for the compensation you need. However, you’re not alone: The attorneys at WKW can help you understand your rights, navigate the claims process, and build a successful truck accident case so that you can focus on your recovery.

When possible, we will negotiate a settlement with the liable party. However, if a fair settlement offer cannot be agreed upon, we are prepared to take your case to court. Our significant trial experience is at your service.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies and their agents operate within matter-of-fact terms. While they may be sympathetic to your accident and injuries, it is their responsibility to identify and pay the minimum necessary costs associated with your accident. Also, remember that any communication about your accident may be used against you later.

Instead of taking on the stress of these arguments, let our Indiana truck accident lawyers deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. If you get a call from a lawyer or insurance agent from the trucking company, direct them to your attorney.

The trucking company’s insurance agency starts working on their defense immediately after an accident occurs. It’s imperative you find a qualified attorney right away to give you the best chance at fair legal representation.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today

With extensive experience in truck accidents and injuries, the attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham can help you get the compensation you deserve. We serve clients throughout the Indianapolis area as well as in Kokomo, South Bend, Ft. Wayne, Muncie, Terre Haute, Richmond, Evansville, Bloomington, and Anderson.

We offer free initial case reviews, and our firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless your case is successful.

In the event of a tragic accident, let the legal team at WKW work toward the best possible outcome for your case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.

Or, call us today at (317) 920-6400

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