We investigate crashes caused by tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks
Truck accidents in Kokomo can be complicated legal cases. Because many drivers work for a trucking company or another business, you’re not just taking legal action against the driver who caused your crash. Your case often involves several different companies, their insurance companies and their attorneys.
The injuries sustained by you or other people in your vehicle may be serious. That’s why it’s critical that you have a Kokomo truck accident lawyer on your side who knows how to investigate these crashes. Otherwise, you might not get the money you deserve for the damages you suffered.
Our truck accident attorneys at Vaughan & Vaughan in Kokomo can help you every step of the way. We understand the state and federal laws that apply to Indiana crashes. We know how the legal system works. That’s because we have decades of experience handling complicated cases in Howard County and throughout Indiana. Our law firm was founded in 1913 and we’re ready to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
You may have been hurt in a:
- Semi-truck crash: A fully loaded semi-truck (also called an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer) can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. These huge vehicles can cause tremendous damage in a collision with a passenger car.
- Jackknife accident: When the driver has to slam on the brakes, the wheels can lock up and the trailer can swing out from the cab.
- Underride collision: A tractor-trailer driver hits the brakes suddenly, or the brake lights aren’t working. A car driver is unable to stop in time and the car crashes into and slides beneath the trailer.
- Rollover crash: The wheels on one side of an 18-wheeler lift up off the road and the entire rig rolls over onto the road.
People can be seriously hurt in a collision, but determining what happened can be complicated.
What evidence matters?
Collisions caused by big rigs, tractor-trailers, delivery trucks and other large commercial vehicles are unlike many other crashes. That’s why it’s important that you have a lawyer with experience gathering evidence that supports these types of claims.
Evidence often includes data recorded in a truck’s electronic data recorder. Sometimes referred to as a “black box” or engine control module, this device records important information, including:
- The speed the truck was traveling at the time of the crash
- When the driver last took a break
- Whether the driver applied the brakes or not before the crash
Other key evidence includes:
- Inspection reports (or evidence inspections were not routinely conducted)
- Driving history, especially if the driver has received traffic violations for speeding, drunk driving or other infractions
- The trucking company’s hiring records, especially if the trucking company knowingly hired a driver with a history of reckless driving
These are just a few examples of important evidence unique to these types of claims. Your lawyer can search for evidence and other important details when investigating your case.
Who can I sue after my crash?
Truck accidents often involve many different people and several companies. If any of them were responsible for causing your crash, you can take legal action against each one of them. At-fault parties may include:
- The driver
- The trucking company the driver works for
- The owner of the cab if it’s a different company
- The owner of the trailer in cases involving tractor trailers
- The company that loaded the cargo, especially if the cargo shifted and caused a rollover crash
- The company that packaged the cargo in the truck, especially if the cargo came loose and contributed to what happened
- The company that manufactured the truck or certain parts, particularly the brakes and the tires. Tire blowouts sometimes occur due to manufacturer defects
Each of these parties has its own insurance company, and each insurance company has the same goal: to pay you as little as possible.
Whoever was at fault, it’s important to understand that you only have a limited amount of time to take legal action in Indiana. The deadline (known as the statute of limitations) for filing a lawsuit related to a truck accident is two years.
Two years might seem like a long time, but what many people might not realize is trucking companies do not have to save electronic data or other important evidence for two years. They have the right to destroy evidence much sooner– unless an attorney intervenes. That’s why it’s critical that you talk to a lawyer right away who can thoroughly investigate the crash.
Should I accept a settlement offer?
Many times, trucking companies or their insurance providers make settlement offers to people injured in accidents or their families soon after the incident. While it might be tempting to accept their offer, most settlement offers don’t come close to covering all your accident-related expenses. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider an offer before agreeing to accept it.
It’s also important to realize that you often can only accept one settlement offer for all your current and future accident expenses. If your expenses go up significantly in the future or if you need additional medical procedures, including follow-up surgery, you cannot go back and ask for more money once you have accepted a settlement offer.
Your lawyer can help you review any settlement offers you receive. An experienced attorney can also calculate how much your claim should be worth, including all current and future anticipated expenses, including medical bills and replacement income if you or a loved one have a permanent disability due to what happened.
Why should I hire Vaughan & Vaughan?
Experience matters when it comes hiring a lawyer to handle your claim. It’s also important to hire an attorney who knows your area and understands how the legal system works in your state.
For more than a century, our lawyers have been standing up for the rights of the injured in Indiana. Founded in 1913, our law firm has the knowledge and experience you need to demand the money you deserve. We’re also familiar with the state and federal laws governing commercial truck accidents, including all applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules and regulations.
Learn more about how we can help. Contact us and schedule a free consultation at our law firm’s Kokomo office. We’re conveniently located on North Washington Street a few blocks away from the Howard County Courthouse.