Kokomo, IN, sits on US Route 31, one of the state’s most popular north-south highways. The city benefits from its recently-constructed bypass but is still a hub for rideshare drivers, truck drivers, and commercial vehicles.
Unfortunately, commercial drivers are as prone to error as the rest of us. How are you supposed to react if a commercial driver crashes into you?
Establishing fault and demanding damages after a commercial vehicle accident can see you go up against a corporation’s law team. You don’t have to defend your right to support yourself, though. You can work with Vaughan & Vaughan’s commercial vehicle accident lawyers in Kokomo to demand acknowledgment and compensation from Indiana’s civil courts.
What to Do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Indiana’s civil courts categorize commercial vehicle accidents as personal injury accidents. Therefore, if you believe someone else’s negligence caused your commercial vehicle accident, you can bring information about your accident forward in civil court. So long as you can provide a court with evidence of the offending party’s negligence, you can demand compensation for your losses.
That said, the claim you bring forward needs to be comprehensive. You must have the means to identify the party liable for your crash as well as the total value of your losses. If you can’t present this information, you may have difficulty demanding the financial support you need to restore your previous quality of life.
A Commercial Driver’s Impact on Your Car Accident
At first glance, there aren’t many differences between an accident with a private motorist and a commercial driver. Both accidents can force you to contend with severe injuries, substantial financial losses, and a long recovery. However, the differences between these accidents come to light when you try to take action against the party responsible for your commercial loss.
When considering a commercial accident, you have to think about what role contracts play in pursuing post-accident compensation. A commercial driver who operates as an employee under a corporation’s banner can often rely on that company to protect them from the legal consequences of their behavior.
In other words, a corporation may prove liable for your losses. That said, corporations know they might be liable for their employees’ behavior and often take steps to avoid accident liability. The steps that a company takes vary depending on that company’s industry.
As such, your Kokomo, IN, commercial vehicle accident attorney may have to do some investigating before you can name a specific party liable for your losses.
The majority of today’s semi-truck drivers work as independent contractors. Independent contracts take responsibility for any accidents they cause, as they’re not considered employees by the corporations or agencies they work alongside. Instead, independent contractors consider truck agencies and corporations to be clients.
If you get into an accident with a truck driver, you’ll most likely hold that individual responsible for your roadway losses. Even so, you should ask a driver if they work as an independent contractor or an employee while you’re at the scene of your accident. The sooner you know what kind of contract a liable party works on, the easier it may be for you to later file your claim.
Rideshare drivers have complicated relationships with their employers. Both Lyft and Uber are incredibly specific when detailing the circumstances under which they protect their drivers from the civil consequences of an accident.
Both Lyft and Uber drivers must be on-duty, using a relevant app, and either be on their way to pick up passengers or have passengers in their vehicle if they want to benefit from either corporation’s protection. A driver who meets these requirements may redirect blame for an accident onto a relevant rideshare corporation.
A rideshare driver who isn’t using a rideshare app, doesn’t have passengers in the car, or has recently dropped passengers off has to rely on their own insurance to protect them from the consequences of an accident. Drivers who don’t meet a rideshare service’s support requirements are often responsible for representing themselves in relevant civil trials.
Addressing Corporate Settlement Offers
If the circumstances of your accident allow you to hold a corporation liable for your losses, that corporation may reach out to you. Many corporations prefer to try and settle commercial vehicle accident cases out of court to avoid the public attention that might come with a civil case. As such, corporations may offer you an accident settlement before you can investigate your losses.
These settlements can appear generous at first. However, corporations don’t always have your best interests in mind. They often want to preserve their bottom line, not provide you with the means to fully recover from their employees’ negligence. With that in mind, don’t feel pressured to accept a settlement offer right off the bat.
Instead, discuss a corporate settlement offer with an experienced law firm. Our team can make sure that an offer covers your post-accident expenses. We can also negotiate with a corporation if an offer appears insufficient. If a corporation won’t discuss an alternative settlement, we can continue investigating your losses and take your case to court.
Your Right to Legal Action
No matter who or what you’re holding responsible for a recent roadway accident, the Hoosier state limits how much time you can act. If you want to demand damages for your losses, you must file an accident claim within Indiana’s personal injury statute of limitations or Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4.
Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4 gives commercial vehicle accident survivors like you no more than two years to act on their losses. This means that you and a Kokomo commercial vehicle accident lawyer must file your civil claim by the second anniversary of your accident.
The only time this statute of limitations doesn’t apply to your case is when you, the injured party, are a minor, or you discover an accident-related injury long after your initial crash. You can discuss the circumstances that might extend your statute of limitations during an initial personal injury case consultation.
Kokomo’s Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers Stand With You
Trucks, rideshare drivers, and other commercial parties have a legal obligation to protect you from harm on the road. Drivers who fail to take reasonable steps to prevent roadway accidents can find themselves financially responsible for your recovery. However, you can only demand that those parties do their duty if you file a civil claim against them.
You don’t have to learn how to compose or format a personal injury claim without help. Turn to the commercial vehicle accident attorneys in Kokomo, IN, for legal guidance. Vaughan & Vaughan’s experienced lawyers work on contingency to help you secure commercial vehicle accident settlements. Contact us online or by calling our office today to learn more.