Being involved in a truck accident can force you to reconsider your day-to-day life. The stress of these accidents, combined with the economic effect they have on your life, cannot be overstated.
How can you go about recovering, then, if you’re faced with such severe losses? You can work with a truck accident attorney in Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers of Vaughan & Vaughan can represent you and uphold your best interests as you try to recover from an accident. Our team can file a personal injury claim on your behalf to help you fight for the post-accident financial support that you deserve.
Discussing Liability After a Truck Accident
If you want to secure compensation for your truck accident losses, you need to know who to hold responsible. Your first instinct may be to blame a truck driver for your accident. This may be a viable path forward, as truck driver negligence and recklessness can readily put you in harm’s way.
You need to consider the evidence at the scene of your accident before you name a specific driver as liable for your losses, though. The evidence that the scene may reveal that government officials, construction companies, or even truck loaders may be responsible for your losses. When we take your case, an experienced truck accident attorney with our firm will examine:
- Video footage of the trucking accident
- Photos of the accident
- Bystanders’ input on the accident
- Expert witnesses
- Police reports
- Medical reports
- Statements from your insurance company
We must be able to defend your assertion of liability if we’re going to demand damages from another party. With that in mind, our legal team makes the most of the timeline afforded to you by the state of Indiana for an investigation after your accident.
Who All Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident Case?
Many parties may share liability in a truck accident. You may find yourself facing several attorneys and insurance adjusters. Some of the parties that are frequently responsible include:
- The truck driver: They can be liable if they caused the accident due to negligence like speeding, distraction, improper lane change, etc. An attorney can obtain the semi-truck driver’s logs and interview witnesses to prove negligent actions.
- The trucking company (carrier): As the driver’s employer, the trucking company is liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior for their driver’s negligent actions during employment. An attorney will subpoena the company’s training and safety records during the investigation.
- Leasing company: If the truck was leased to the carrier, the leasing company may share liability depending on the agreement. The terms of the leasing contract can be examined to determine liability percentages.
- Shipper: A company being transported whose improper loading caused or contributed to the accident can face liability. An inspection of cargo securement and weight distribution paperwork can be conducted.
- Equipment manufacturers: Defective parts like brakes or tires are a defect claim against the manufacturers. An expert can assess any faulty equipment to support design or manufacturing defect claims.
- Maintenance facilities: Negligent maintenance by repair shops can result in liability for accidents. Vehicle maintenance records and inspection records are obtained to reveal any missed issues that led to component failure.
- Broker/dispatcher: A transportation broker arranging loads can be responsible if the commercial truck drivers or carriers they hire are insufficiently vetted. Interviews determine how safety qualifications were evaluated.
- Municipalities or government agencies: Poor road conditions due to lack of maintenance or repair by cities/counties can open them up to liability. Public works records show the accident location’s repair history.
It’s important to identify all sources of liability to ensure you have the best chance of collecting the maximum amount of financial compensation possible.
Independent Contractors Can Complicate Liability Proceedings
Trucking agencies can complicate the process of assigning liability for your losses via their hiring practices. Specifically, if the driver you get into an accident with appears to be liable for your losses, you need to assess the nature of their employment with their company.
Commercial drivers operating on W2s may benefit from their company’s legal protection if they go to court. Comparatively, drivers operating on 1099s or as independent contractors must defend themselves in civil court as they legally do not constitute a business’s employees.
You can work with an experienced attorney to determine a driver’s status and draft your complaint accordingly.
Knowing the Value of Your Truck Accident Injury Claim
Truck accidents can do severe damage to your health, personal belongings, and plans for the future. Fortunately, a truck accident claim gives you the right to demand compensation for your losses.
So long as you can defend your request for certain damages, you can include all of the following in an estimate of your case’s value:
When determining the value of your truck accident injury claim, one of the key factors to consider is your medical bills. These can include expenses such as hospital bills, doctor visits, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any future medical treatment you may require as a result of the accident.
Another important aspect to consider is the impact of the accident on your ability to work and earn income. If you have had to take time off work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to fair compensation for lost wages. This can include both past and future income that you would have earned if not for the accident.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to economic damages, you may also be able to seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering caused by the truck accident. This can include things like chronic pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. These non-economic damages can be more difficult to quantify but are still important to include in your claim.
If your personal belongings or vehicle were damaged in the truck accident, you can seek compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement. This can include items such as electronics, clothing, cell phones, or any other personal belongings destroyed in the accident.
Other applicable damages may apply in your case. These damages can also be recovered:
- Loss of consortium, if applicable
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death in a fatal accident case
Our experienced Indianapolis semi truck accident lawyers can help you determine the damages you qualify for and how to defend your right to those damages during an initial consultation.
Challenging an Insufficient Insurance Settlement Offer
There’s always a chance that the party responsible for your truck accident may approach you before you’ve had time to fully assess your losses. These parties may offer you settlements designed to allegedly address the breadth of your economic losses.
Unfortunately, insurance providers don’t always have your best interests at heart. These parties may seem as though they’re offering you a comprehensive settlement when, in fact, they’re overlooking several of your losses.
You need to compare an offered truck accident settlement against an attorney’s estimate of your case’s value if you want to secure the most possible compensation for your accident.
You can bring a settlement offer to our team without accepting it after an accident. We can then enter negotiations on your behalf and ensure that an insurance provider treats you fairly.
Injuries We Commonly Claim
Some common injuries that can be claimed in a truck accident case include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
- Burns and lacerations
- Amputations or loss of limb function
- Catastrophic injuries
It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after a truck accident to ensure that your injuries are properly documented and treated. This will also help strengthen your compensation claim.
Working with an Indianapolis truck accident lawyer can greatly benefit your case. They have the knowledge and experience to navigate the complexities of truck accident claims and will fight to protect your rights and secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
Filing Your Civil Complaint
You need to act quickly if you want to bring your truck accident losses to a judge’s attention. Indiana Code §34-11-2-4 dictates that accident victims only have two years from the day their accident takes place to bring their losses forward. Failure to submit a complaint within this deadline allows a court to dismiss your case.
Unfortunately, it can be tricky to gather all of the information you need to make your case without the help of a personal injury attorney. Fortunately, our team of experienced lawyers knows how to make the most of the timeline that the state awards you.
You can contact an attorney at any point in your two-year period and discuss how best to use the remaining time to file a complaint.
Contact Our Indianapolis Truck Accident Law Firm for Legal Guidance
Truck drivers are held to a higher standard of responsibility on the road than their peers in private vehicles. A negligent truck driver who fails to uphold the duty of care owed to you on the road can be later held liable for the economic extent of your losses.
When you present your case to a civil judge, you have the chance to demand compensation from the semi-truck driver, their insurance provider, or the employer.
You can do so with help from Indianapolis truck accident attorneys. Contact Vaughan & Vaughan online or over the phone today to schedule a free case consultation with the team that can help you recover.