The trucking industry is a vital part of Indiana’s economy, with 724 million tons of freight traveling through the state yearly. However, with 439,206 truck accidents in 2020 in the U.S., many passenger vehicle drivers have become victims of big truck wrecks, resulting in their severe injury or death.
When a crash involving a commercial truck occurs, determining who is at fault is necessary before you can seek compensation for damages you’ve suffered, like medical bills and lost wages. While the truck driver may be to blame, other parties may also have liability, including the trucking company, cargo loader, or a third-party driver.
The Indianapolis big truck wreck lawyers at Wagner Reese understand the devastating consequences truck accident victims face after a crash. We will examine the facts of your case to determine who is liable for the harm you suffered and help you seek maximum compensation.
Who is Liable for Your Injuries in a Truck Accident?
Determining liability in a truck accident can be complex. Numerous parties besides the truck driver may be responsible for your injuries. Liable parties may include:
- The Truck Driver
If a truck driver acted negligently, they might be liable for your injuries. The trucker may have been driving distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, disobeyed road rules, or been too tired to drive safely, if they were already on the road for more hours than are legally allowable.
They are personally liable for your damages if they are an independent contractor, and their insurance will pay for your damages. If they work for a trucking company, then that company is potentially liable.
- The Trucking Company
Trucking companies have a duty of care to employ qualified and trained personnel to drive their rigs. This also involves checking their driving history and performing background checks to assess their competency to sit behind the wheel.
Trucking companies may also incentivize drivers to break the federal hours of service rule to speed up delivery times. To reduce instances of rule violations, trucking companies are now legally required to keep an electronic logging device (ELD) onboard all trucks that transmit data regarding the hours of service a driver has provided. In addition to real-time data, the company must have six months’ worth of backup data.
Trucking companies must also keep their trucks and equipment in safe working order and perform regular inspections of their vehicles. If the company does not fulfill its duties, it may be liable for your accident.
- The Cargo Loaders
Trucking companies often outsource truck loading to third-party contractors. If an imbalanced or improperly secured load caused the accident, the cargo loader might be responsible for your injuries.
- Another Driver
In some cases, a third-party driver may have caused a crash between your vehicle and a truck. For example, if a driver fails to signal while changing lanes and causes the truck to swerve into you to avoid them, that driver may be responsible for the resulting collision.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help After a Crash
Due to the complicated nature of big truck wrecks, working with a truck accident attorney after a crash can help you receive a fair settlement for your injuries. Determining fault is complicated, and trucking companies and their insurers often have a team of lawyers who protect their interests by looking for ways to deny accident victim claims.
The big truck wreck lawyers at Wagner Reese have over 20 years of experience navigating truck accident cases. We can help you collect evidence for your claim, determine who is at fault, and negotiate with uncooperative insurance companies for compensation on your behalf.
For example, we can contact the trucking company to request the driving logs and maintenance records to prevent tampering or loss of evidence. These records can show whether the driver was speeding or if the company forced them to work long hours.
We will also request the incident report from the police to determine if the driver was driving drunk or if improperly loaded cargo caused the truck to jackknife or tip over, causing your injuries.
Get Compensation for Your Truck Crash Injuries with Wagner Reese
Knowing who is liable for your damages in a semi-truck accident allows you to file a claim against all parties who caused you harm. If you suffered a life-altering injury, compensation can help you pay for medical costs, lost wages, future earnings, and the loss of enjoyment from your life.
Our attorneys at Wagner Reese have won large settlements for truck accident victims, including $6.5 million for the family of a mother killed due to semi-truck negligence. We will fight to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.