Were you injured in a truck accident in Carmel, IN? Turn to our passionate and knowledgeable truck accident attorneys for assistance.
While any car accident can be devastating, commercial truck accidents produce severe injuries and catastrophic damage more often than accidents involving only passenger vehicles. Because semi-trucks weigh tens of thousands of pounds, even mild fender benders can lead to life-altering consequences.
If you’re a victim of an Indiana truck accident, you have a right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Our personal injury attorneys in Carmel, Indiana, specializing in truck accidents, are prepared to fight for compensation on your behalf and walk you through your accident claim, taking the stress of your case off your shoulders.
Contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys today for your free consultation in Carmel, IN.
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Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often happen in the blink of an eye. One minute, you’re traveling down the highway, and the next, you’re dealing with the aftermath of a serious crash.
Like any vehicle accident, truck accidents may result from a wide range of causes. One small mistake could be the catalyst that leads to significant damage and serious injuries. But trucks and truck drivers have unique challenges that sometimes make accidents more common.
Frequent causes of truck accidents that aren’t as typical in passenger vehicle accidents include the following:
- Blind spots: Trucks have major blind spots on all four sides of their vehicles. Failing to account for blind spots can lead a truck driver to merge into another vehicle or strike a car while changing lanes.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers often entertain themselves with music, podcasts, conversations on the CB radio, phone calls, and other distractions while driving. Taking their concentration off the road for even a few seconds can lead to a crash.
- Drowsy driving: Driving for 15 hours at a time is the norm for many truck drivers, but doing so can lead to drowsy driving that affects a driver’s reaction times and decision-making abilities.
- Malfunctions: Trucks are intricate, complex systems that require every part to work together well to function correctly. Even small malfunctions can cause the driver to lose control of the truck and strike another vehicle.
- Weather conditions: Truck drivers must take precautions when driving in slick, wet, or low-visibility conditions. Driving too fast on wet or icy roads could lead to spin-outs or rear-end collisions.
Truck drivers are responsible for understanding the challenges of maneuvering their vehicles and preventing accidents. In any of the above cases, the truck driver is still liable for accidents they cause.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Liability is a legal concept indicating responsibility for an accident. Even if a party didn’t mean to cause the accident, their negligence could make them liable. The liable party may be financially responsible for your medical bills, property damage, and other expenses resulting from the accident.
Even if you know you did not cause the accident, that doesn’t make the truck driver liable by default. Several parties may be liable in a truck accident, including:
- The trucking company: The trucking company may assume vicarious liability for its driver. Alternatively, the company may be directly liable for the accident, such as if it failed to train the driver adequately or forced the driver to work unsafe hours.
- The truck driver: The truck driver may be liable if their actions directly led to the accident, such as failing to yield, violating traffic laws, failing to inspect the vehicle properly before the trip, etc.
- Another driver: If other drivers were involved in the accident, they may be at fault, making a mistake that caused the truck driver to strike your vehicle.
- A third party: In some cases, a third party not present at the accident scene could be liable. For example, a truck part manufacturer may have released a faulty part that malfunctioned in the truck, causing the accident.
Indiana follows a modified comparative negligence policy for truck accidents. This means that if you were less than 51% responsible for the accident, you can claim compensation from the liable party. The insurance company will reduce your payout by your percentage of liability.
Work with experienced truck accident lawyers in Carmel, IN, to maximize your compensation after a truck accident.
How Is a Truck Accident Case Different From a Car Accident?
Truck accident claims are often more complicated than regular car accident cases. There are a few distinctions that lead to the complexity of truck accidents:
- More serious damage: Trucks are massive vehicles that often leave extensive damage in their wake. Truck accidents often produce more severe damage to vehicles than accidents between two passenger cars.
- More expensive: Truck accidents also tend to lead to more expensive repairs and medical treatment due to the severity of these accidents. A typical insurance policy may not fully cover all your expenses.
- The involvement of the trucking company: Truck accidents have a commercial element that isn’t typical in accidents between two passenger vehicle drivers. The trucking company will likely become involved in the claim, bringing aggressive legal representation to pin liability on you.
- Federal regulations: Truck drivers must stick to regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for training and operating their vehicles. Ignoring these regulations could leave truck drivers liable for accidents.
Filing a Truck Accident Claim in Carmel, IN
Whether the truck driver or trucking company was directly liable for the accident, you’ll likely file a claim through the company’s liability insurance. The insurance company should reach out to you within a few days of the accident to collect details for your claim. If it doesn’t, you can call or report the claim to your insurance company to start the process.
After sending copies of your medical bills and repair estimates, the insurance company will present you with a compensation offer. However, because insurance companies are in the business of making money, this offer may not sufficiently cover all your expenses from the accident. If this happens, you’ll need to appeal the offer or negotiate a settlement with the help of a truck accident attorney.
There’s also a chance the insurance company will deny your claim or pin liability on you for the accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. An attorney can help you navigate complicated insurance claims. If the insurer refuses to cooperate, your attorney may advise you to take legal action to seek adequate compensation.
What Compensation Can You Recover After a Truck Accident?
The payment you can secure after a truck accident depends on your method of seeking compensation. An insurance claim may cover compensatory damages, mainly encompassing the economic expenses you incurred from the accident. These may include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Time off work
- Loss of earning capacity
- Future medical treatments
Some insurance claims also cover non-economic expenses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship (wrongful death cases)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In many cases, an insurance claim won’t pay for these non-economic expenses, and you’ll need to take legal action to pursue them. Additionally, insurance policies have coverage limits. If the value of your claim exceeds the trucking company’s coverage limits, you may need to take legal action to secure adequate compensation.
A civil lawsuit also allows you to pursue punitive damages, which would punish the truck driver or their company for particularly egregious behavior. These damages would come directly from the at-fault party’s bank account and may be applicable for cases involving reckless driving, driving under the influence, or extreme negligence.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Lawsuits in Indiana
If you’re thinking of taking legal action against the truck driver or trucking company, you should be aware of Indiana’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases. The statute of limitations is two years from the day of the accident.
If you don’t file your lawsuit within this period, you may lose access to compensation. The judge will likely dismiss your case.
However, there are a few exceptions to this statute that you may qualify for:
- If you were under 18 at the time of the accident, the two-year period would not begin until the day you turned 18.
- If the at-fault party was unreachable at any point during the two years, such as fleeing the state or assuming a false identity, the period they were unreachable would not count toward the two years.
The latter reason isn’t very common in truck accident cases, as you’ll likely be pursuing compensation from a trucking company rather than an individual person. Still, if you’ve surpassed the two-year statute of limitations, discussing these exceptions with our truck accident lawyers in Carmel, IN, may be worthwhile.
What To Do After a Truck Accident in Indiana
The aftermath of a truck accident can be chaotic and overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with serious injuries. But taking a few important steps in the minutes and days after the accident can significantly help your insurance claim or lawsuit down the line.
After a truck accident, you should follow these steps:
Call the Police
Your first step is to call 911 or the Carmel local police department. You need a police officer at the scene to create a police report, direct traffic around the crash, and issue any necessary citations to the truck driver for violating traffic laws.
Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you feel okay directly after the crash, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. The adrenaline from the accident may lead you to overlook serious injuries that require immediate attention. Your medical records will also serve as valuable evidence in your claim or lawsuit, detailing the value of your case.
If you can, take photos and videos of the accident scene to document as much evidence as possible before the tow trucks arrive. Also, speak to any witnesses and gather their contact information. The trucking company will likely return to the scene as soon as possible to gather evidence, and you want to have all the same evidence available to you to assist your claim. This detailed evidence collection is crucial when suing for truck accident injuries, as it forms the foundation of your legal case against the responsible party.
Consult a Truck Accident Attorney
A truck accident attorney can help you navigate your insurance claim or lawsuit and seek the maximum compensation for your injuries and property damage. Contact an attorney soon after the crash for assistance.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
An experienced truck accident attorney can provide a world of benefits to assist your accident case. These attorneys have extensive experience dealing with trucking companies and their insurance providers, gathering evidence about truck accidents, and seeking the maximum compensation on behalf of their clients. Your attorney can put this knowledge to work to improve your case outcomes.
The following are just a few of the services your attorney can provide:
- Speak with the trucking company and any other party involved on your behalf
- Help you file all relevant documents with the insurance company and court
- Gather evidence, including photos and videos, witness testimonies, black box data, reconstructionist testimonies, and more
- Appeal an unfair insurance offer
- File a lawsuit against the trucking company and/or their insurer
- Represent you in court
- Provide sound legal advice at every step of the truck accident claim process
- Take the stress of the case off your shoulders while you focus on recovery
At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we’re dedicated to providing all these services and more. Learn more about our team and why we’re the right choice for truck accident lawyers in Carmel, IN.
Stewart & Stewart Attorneys: Your Truck Accident Lawyers in Carmel, IN
After a truck accident, you can expect the trucking company to take an aggressive legal approach to pin the blame on you. Approach your case with the same level of strategy, dedication, and passion by working with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys.
Call Stewart & Stewart Attorneys today at (866) 925-3011 for a free consultation with our truck accident lawyers in Carmel, IN.
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If you have been involved in an Indiana personal injury accident, contact us at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers represent victims throughout the state, including Carmel and Anderson. We have also successfully advocated for clients throughout the area, including Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, South Bend. Complete a free online consultation form or call us at (800) 33-33-LAW!
Stewart & Stewart Attorneys have the knowledge and experience to defend your rights in the following areas of Indiana injury law: auto accident, brain injury, drug injury, defective product, fire and burn injury, insurance dispute, medical malpractice, motorcycle accident, nursing home abuse, slip and fall, truck accident, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.