Most people involved in a car accident in Indiana exchange insurance information and file a police report. Depending on the severity, drivers may let the insurance companies settle the claims. That may not be the best approach if the accident involves a commercial vehicle (CV). A truck accident attorney can help.
Liabilities in truck accidents extend beyond the driver. Trucking companies may bear some responsibility. As the accident investigation progresses, other parties may be identified as partially liable. Tracking the status of an accident as it weaves its way through the courts and claims process only adds to an already traumatic event. A better option may be to work with an Indianapolis truck accident lawyer.
How Common Are Truck Accidents In Indiana?
According to an Indiana University study of 2020 data, Indiana had 175,821 collisions, with 14,221 involving commercial vehicles. Although CVs accounted for only 8% of the total collisions, they were involved in 17% of fatalities. Further analysis showed that of the 134 fatalities, 126 were the result of large-truck collisions.
More than 90% of all injury-related accidents involved large trucks, and 90% of property damage claims were against large trucks. It’s not surprising that individuals not in a CV were more likely to be injured or killed than CV drivers or occupants. Approximately 75% of all CV fatalities were occupants and drivers of other vehicles. Almost 70% of CV injuries were to individuals in other vehicles.
What Causes Truck Accidents in Indiana?
Speeding, aggressive driving, and fatigue are the three most common causes of commercial vehicle collisions. Failure to meet delivery schedules can cost a driver money, which can lead to speeding and aggressive driving. Driving fatigue can happen even when a driver has sufficient sleep.
Weather and road conditions can contribute to truck accidents. Fog can reduce visibility. Poorly maintained roads, especially during winter, can create hazardous road conditions, making it more difficult for drivers to maintain control. Even extreme heat can melt road surfaces, making it harder for truckers to adjust to driving conditions.
Improperly loaded cargo can contribute to accidents. If the weight is not evenly distributed, a truck is more susceptible to a roll-over. Cargo can shift, reducing the truck’s stability as it rounds corners or attempts to stop.
What Are Indiana Laws Governing Truck Accidents?
The U.S. Department of Transportation governs the commercial trucking industry. The Federal regulations cover areas such as:
- Vehicle inspections.
- Driver restrictions.
- Hazardous material.
Many states, including Indiana, have their own set of trucking regulations. Truck companies violating these laws are subject to fines and potential loss of license.
How Is Fault Determined in an Indianapolis Truck Accident?
Commercial vehicle accidents may have multiple parties at fault. It’s possible the truck driver and truck owner share responsibility. The manufacturer could be at fault or the company loading the cargo. If any party was negligent in executing their responsibilities and the laws determine their failure caused the accident, they could be at fault.
Indiana adheres to the respondeat superior rule of law. With this rule, a truck company can be held responsible for an employee-caused accident. If the employee’s actions were unintentional, and they performed within the scope of employment and furthered the company’s business, the laws could hold the company responsible.
Indiana also has a shared responsibility rule known as a modified comparative fault rule. This ruling allows the court to assess damages based on the percentage of fault. If the court determines the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, they will receive no damages.
What to Do If You’re in an Indianapolis Truck Accident?
By law, drivers must stop their vehicles and assist injured persons. They must provide:
- Registration number.
- Driver’s license number.
The information must be given to all involved parties.
Make sure you get contact information from everyone involved in the accident. Check for witnesses and get their contact information as well. Take pictures of damages as well as the crash site. Write down your recollection of events for reference. You will need all this information for your truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis.
Consult a Medical Professional
Arrange an appointment with a medical professional after a truck accident. You may feel fine, but injuries may not become obvious until hours or days after. A healthcare provider will perform the proper diagnostic tests to protect your health.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
After an accident, you may not want to think about it, or you may not feel up to discussing it. But, the sooner you talk with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis, the sooner you’ll understand your options.
Should You Talk with Insurance Companies?
You must speak with your insurance company. However, you don’t have to speak to other insurance companies. If you plan to file a claim, you should be polite but do not discuss anything such as the accident’s cause or other events. Simply provide the basics of who, what, when, and where. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, and they can use anything you say against you.
Do not accept an adjuster’s offer if one is made. Let them know you need to review the offer. Then, consult an Indianapolis truck accident lawyer for assistance. Initial settlement offers may not be a fair compensation for your injuries.
When Should You Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Indianapolis?
Contacting a truck accident attorney may be the last thing you want to do as you recover from a traumatic collision with a commercial vehicle. Yet, it may be the most critical call to ensure you understand your available options. At Wagner Reese Personal Injury Law Firm, our attorneys are knowledgeable personal injury lawyers who aggressively represent clients.
No matter the case, we energetically pursue your claim to its resolution. If you’re wondering when you need a truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis, residents should call us to discover how we can put our professional resources to work for you.
The attorneys at Wagner Reese offices have reviewed the content.