When truck drivers or trucking companies act negligently, they endanger other drivers on the road, often leading to crashes that can cause significant harm. Due to their large size and significant weight, semi-truck accidents are especially dangerous to victims.
Regardless of the severity of the crash, these accidents are often life-altering from an emotional, physical, and financial perspective. If you or a loved one have been injured in a commercial truck accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
The experienced attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are here in Indianapolis and available to help you with your truck accident case.
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 the list of top 10 states with the highest average of fatal large truck or bus crashes.
Truck accidents are different from other automobile accidents in several fundamental ways:
These differences can all contribute to the severity of semi-truck accidents.
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 and deserve.
But remember, you are not alone: The Indianapolis truck accident 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.
Contact an experienced Indiana truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. At WKW, we assist victims who have been injured or have lost a loved one. Our team can help you navigate the complexities of personal injury law and determine if you are eligible to seek compensation for your injuries. We’ll be there with you every step of the way.
Insurance companies and their agents operate within matter-of-fact terms. While they may be—or at least sound like they are—sympathetic to your accident and injuries, it is their responsibility to identify and pay the minimum necessary costs associated with your accident. So be careful what you share with anyone and 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. That’s why it is imperative you find a qualified attorney right away to give you the best chance at a full and fair settlement.
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.
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.
Part of your attorney’s job is to investigate the accident, analyze the evidence, determine who is at fault, and build a solid case in your favor.
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. WKW’s significant truck accident trial experience is vital at this stage of your case.
By their very nature, truck-related accidents are complex. As part of the mix, you have possible driver error and a potentially negligent carrier company that may have cut corners on safety issues. Semi-trucks are also complex vehicles in which mechanical failure can happen. The semi-truck accident law firm of WKW has the experience needed to uncover every potential liable party for maximum compensation.
Truck accidents are scary and traumatic. What to do following the accident will vary on the circumstances and severity of the crash, but here is a general guide:
At the scene of an accident, your first priority should always be ensuring your safety. Get yourself and others out of the way of traffic, which poses additional danger. The only exception to this is if moving someone who is severely injured could worsen their condition. Also move your car off the road if possible. Once you and others involved are safe, you should consider the next steps.
Call the police to come out to the scene and ask them to send an ambulance if there’s a medical emergency. You will want to have an official police report filed on the accident. Stay and cooperate with the officer(s) if you are able, but never admit blame to anyone.
Document the crash with photos. Include shots of the vehicles, any injuries, road conditions, and the general layout of the area. Consider also taking videos if they’ll be helpful in explaining the circumstances.
Exchange contact information with any other drivers and witnesses, including drivers license and insurance information, and any details on the parent trucking company.
Get checked out by a medical professional. Even if you are fortunate to think you feel okay immediately following the accident, you’ll want a medical evaluation on file in case your condition worsens in the future.
It is appropriate to contact your insurance company with the basic facts of the accident, but don’t admit any fault or claim any blame. You should consider having your lawyer present for the call.
It is optimal to only communicate with your truck accident lawyer following the crash. They will know what to convey—and what not to convey—to insurance adjustors and other parties regarding details of the accident. Now is not the time to be shouting around town—or online—about what happened. Anything you say or do now could be held against you later.
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 full and fair 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.
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.
All types of truck accidents—whether caused by distracted driving, equipment malfunctions, or improper loading—can lead to serious injury, property damage, and even death.
There are several ways you can be injured in a truck accident. Injuries such as the following are common:
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 or not they have visible injuries.
Semi-truck accidents are often caused by human error, but outside influences can also lead to a crash. The following factors are common causes of truck accidents:
Truck accidents can be caused by any of these factors, or even a combination of several. Your Indiana truck accident lawyer will know to look at every possible cause and hold the appropriate parties responsible. Also, knowing the most common causes of truck accidents can help keep you and your family safe while driving on the highway.
The U.S. commercial trucking industry plays a significant role in our economy. Given the sheer size of these trucks, and their large numbers sharing the road with cars, federal oversight is necessary to increase safety for everyone. Federal trucking rules are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The FMCSA regulates many issues related to trucking, including driver qualification and licensing, enforcement of safety protocols, and hiring practices.
Carriers are required to meet and enforce standards on the following:
Federal regulations also have requirements in place for truck drivers that carriers oversee. These include:
Unfortunately, human error still frequently plays a role in trucking accidents.
Given its location at the crossroads of America, the state of Indiana has a significant amount of semi-truck traffic on its roads. In addition to federal regulations, Indiana has restrictions on the size and weight allowed per 18 wheeler.
Indiana law also states that semi drivers must use the far-right lane on an interstate highway. If there are three or more lanes available, the driver may use the right two lanes, only entering the far left lane if necessary to pass another vehicle, when entering or exiting the highway, or to avoid a road hazard.
Additional federal regulations apply to tankers or any trucks carrying flammable materials, as this poses an additional potential hazard to other road users. This includes a special endorsement on a commercial drivers license and a hazmat permit.
Box trucks are what you commonly see around town making deliveries. They are larger than a van but smaller than a semi-truck. With home and business deliveries now commonplace, this has led to more of these trucks on roads in Indianapolis and its suburbs.
Increased use of these trucks, especially in populated areas such as downtown or in the suburbs can lead to a catastrophe. If you or a loved one have been involved in a box truck accident, the Indianapolis truck accident lawyers at WKW are here to help.
Although smaller than semi-trucks, box trucks can still pose a danger on our roads. For one thing, they’re way more common in urban areas than semi-trucks. This means that they’re navigating tighter roads and in areas where you have people on bicycles and children playing outside. Intersections are the most dangerous places for vehicle/pedestrian crashes, and box trucks obviously come across more intersections in a city then a semi on the highway.
Also, not all box trucks require a commercial driving license. Take a rental moving truck as an example. There is no training or requirements to rent a moving van, so you end up with inexperienced drivers behind the wheel who may not understand the box truck’s significant blind spots or the potential to overturn based on cargo loads.
Though some clearly are, not all truck accidents are caused by driver error. In fact, the liable party may not be anyone you’ve ever met or a company you’ve ever heard of. Perhaps the truck was loaded improperly or was over the recommended weight. What if a part failed in the braking system? These sorts of examples are exactly why you want an experienced truck accident attorney on your side to investigate every possible angle and hold all negligent parties accountable.
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:
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.
Don’t let the fear of not being able to afford a truck accident lawyer stop you from getting the help and guidance you need—and the compensation you deserve. Most truck accident lawyers work on what’s known as a contingency basis, meaning that there’s no up-front, out-of-pocket cost to you.
Instead, when you are awarded your settlement, the lawyers receive a percentage of the money awarded. So not only does this help alleviate financial burden on the victim, but it also aligns the interests of both the client and lawyer to seek the maximum settlement.
Each state has a limit on when a lawsuit can be filed, knows as the statute of limitations. Indiana Statute 34-11-2-4 states a two-year statute of limitations on truck accidents, meaning you have two years to file a claim. This time period starts the day of the accident.
Given the complexity and severity of truck accidents, we recommend you contact a truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis as soon as possible following the accident.
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.
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 a maximum of 60 hours in a seven-day week.
It is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to settle a truck accident claim. The individual circumstances of each accident are the ultimate determining factors of the length of time in which it will take to reach a settlement.
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 any challenge.
In the event of a tragic trucking accident in Indianapolis, let the legal team at WKW work toward the best possible outcome for your case. Call 317.920.6400 today or fill out our online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.