When you walk away from a semi-truck accident, you’re likely to find yourself contending with all manner of injuries and financial losses. It’s not fair to make you contend with these expenses when you’re not the reason your accident took place. You have the right to assign liability for your losses to a particular party. In turn, you can demand that said party helps you recover.
Who, though, can you hold liable for a semi-truck accident? That depends on the evidence of negligence and the role contracts play in your case. You can reach out to an Indiana semi-truck accident attorney with Vaughan & Vaughan after your accident to investigate your losses in more detail. Together we can address your personal injury claim to the right party.
How do You Determine Liability After a Semi-Truck Accident?
You know in your gut that your semi-truck accident stemmed from someone else’s negligence. How do you determine who you hold accountable for your losses, though?
When it comes time for you to assign semi-truck accident blame, you should:
Step 1: Analyze the Evidence
Evidence is the end-all, be-all of your semi-truck accident claim. If you don’t have evidence to back assertions of fault, let alone the value of your post-accident damages, it may prove difficult for you to argue for your right to financial support. Fortunately, our attorneys can return to the scene of your accident to find evidence establishing liability in your case.
The evidence that you can submit to defend your assertion of semi-truck accident fault can include:
- Video footage of your accident
- Photos of your accident
- Statements from witnesses who saw your accident
- Statements from expert witnesses, including first responders and police officers
- Black box data
- Accident recreations
You must have some form of evidence on hand when submitting your initial complaint if you want a court to consider your assertion of truck accident fault.
Step 2: Investigate Applicable Contracts
The evidence establishes your case’s foundation. The nature of any contracts involved in your case then build on that foundation.
For example, many corporations and trucking agencies take on truck drivers as independent contractors. Independent contractors do not benefit from the same legal and insurance-based protections as agency employees. If you get into a semi-truck accident with an independent contractor, you name the contractor liable for your roadway losses.
Comparatively, corporations can stand in for truck drivers they classify as employees. If the driver who hit you works on a W2, you may have to name their employer as liable for your post-accident losses.
Step 3: Determine the Contributions of Third Parties
There’s always a chance that you could divide fault for your accident between multiple parties on the road. If this is the case, you need to work with an attorney to determine who the evidence implies may be responsible for your losses and how you can accurately divide fault between those parties.
The parties that you may have the right to hold liable for your losses, besides a truck driver or their employer, can include:
- Government officials
- Construction crews
- Independent motorists
You can discuss your right to hold multiple parties accountable for your semi-truck accident losses during an initial case consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Indiana.
Does Liability Change Your Right to Semi-Truck Accident Compensation?
Generally speaking, your right to damages does not change based on who or what parties you accuse of causing your accident. That said, there are circumstances in which your right to damages may grow more complicated based on the other party’s status.
For example, independent truck drivers are responsible for securing their insurance before hitting the road. Unfortunately, some truck drivers may misrepresent the extent of their coverage or whether or not they have coverage at all.
If you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured truck driver, your lawsuit may not generate all of the damages you need to recover. You can discuss these circumstances with an attorney to determine what other paths to financial recovery may be available to you.
Do You Have to Negotiate a Settlement With a Liable Party?
If you determine that you can hold a corporation liable for your truck accident losses, that corporation may reach out to you with a settlement offer. While these offers can be generous, you are not obligated to accept them. Instead, you can compare a liable party’s settlement offer against your own estimate of your case’s value.
You can negotiate for more comprehensive support if a liable party attempts to undervalue your truck accident losses or otherwise behaves duplicitously. You can also forgo truck accident settlement negotiations entirely in favor of a more traditional trial.
It is often in your best interest to contact an attorney upon your receipt of a truck accident settlement offer. Together we can assess the total value of the settlement offer and decide how best to react to it.
How Can You Hold an Accountable Party Responsible for Their Negligence?
If you want to hold the party you find liable for your losses accountable for those post-accident expenses, you need to file a personal injury claim within Indiana’s personal injury statute of limitations. Your claim needs to be comprehensive in its efforts to identify a liable party and present evidence of that party’s negligence.
Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4 also dictates that your complaint needs to appear before a judge within two years of your semi-truck accident. Unfortunately, complaints submitted after an accident’s applicable statute of limitations do not allow accident survivors to pursue compensation for their losses.
Schedule a Case Consultation With Vaughan & Vaughan Personal Injury Lawyers
It can be challenging to determine who bears the bulk of the liability for your recent semi-truck accident. If there were multiple parties involved in your crash, or if liability gets compounded by contracts, someone without legal experience may not have the experience to untangle these legal knots before your statute of limitations expires.
Should you find yourself contending with increasingly-complex questions about accident liability, call Vaughan & Vaughan. Our semi-truck accident lawyers in Indiana can help families like yours hold the right parties accountable for their roadway misconduct. You can schedule your free case consultation today by calling our office or contacting us online.