Truck accidents can be devastating, resulting in serious injuries. Since truck accident claims often involve third parties and multiple insurance companies, it’s best to have an experienced Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer by your side to help you navigate the complex claims process.
Serious Truck Accidents Are on the Rise
The number of fatal truck crashes in the United States has been increasing over the past several decades. This is due to a series of factors. Trucks are getting bigger and heavier. We’re asking truck drivers to operate for long distances and in inclement weather.
A truck driver shortage is putting more inexperienced drivers on the road. And as the industry becomes more competitive, unscrupulous trucking companies break safety rules in search of profits. It’s no surprise that truck driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States.
Truck crashes don’t just harm truck drivers. Innocent motorists are caught up in the carelessness of truckers and trucking companies. In these circumstances, a Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer can help you demand justice and accountability.
What Compensation Can You Obtain After a Truck Accident?
After a truck crash, a Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer might identify multiple claims arising out of the incident. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash, you might have claims against:
- A negligent truck driver or trucking company’s commercial liability policy
- Your personal Med Pay or Uninsured/Underinsured policies
- The manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a defective truck part or product
- A bar or restaurant that over-served a truck driver
A Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer can provide a personalized assessment of your truck accident case, and identify different elements and factors that impact its value and strength.
We can help you obtain compensation for past and future:
- Medical bills
- Hospital fees and rehabilitation
- Medication expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical limitations and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Car rental fees and towing
- Funeral and burial expenses
What to Do After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, you may be confused and unsure of what steps to take next. It’s important to do the following:
- Seek medical help. If you are injured, call 911 and immediately go to a hospital or doctor. Even if you don’t think you’re severely injured, you may experience pain days or weeks after an accident. Medical records will also significantly help your claim later
- Gather information. Collect names and contact information from other drivers and witnesses. Take pictures of the crash scene, skid marks, and your injuries and write an account of what happened.
- Call 911. Even if you don’t need medical attention, call the police to make a formal report.
- Do not talk to the insurance company. The truck driver’s insurance company will likely call you right away. Do not make a statement before consulting with your own lawyer.
- Speak with a Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer. You will need to make a claim to seek compensation for your losses. We can help you avoid making costly mistakes in the process.
It’s important that you act quickly after a truck accident. As time passes, valuable evidence and information might disappear. For example, most modern tractor-trailer and semis have highly advanced telematic systems on board that track the truck’s speed, location on the road, safety systems, and the truck driver’s behaviors.
After an accident, the trucking company will keep this information for the minimum amount of time they can — and then promptly destroy it unless a Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer has issued a preservation letter demanding that they retain these records. The same applies to shoddy or poorly maintained truck parts, hours of service logs, and other important evidence.
Additionally, there are strict filing deadlines in Indiana truck accident claims. If you miss this deadline and file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, the court might dismiss your claim. In other words, unless you follow the correct procedures, you’ll lose your right to compensation for your injuries.
Truck Drivers Must Follow Strict Federal Regulations
All commercial truck drivers must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. These regulations govern the number of hours a driver can operate a semi, imposes a lower-than-average blood alcohol content limit on truck drivers, and sets other expectations for the safe operation of commercial trucks.
In a truck accident claim, it’s important to identify potential violations of these regulations and other trucking laws. An FMCSA violation might be considered “negligence per se,” which can simplify your personal injury claims against the truck driver and trucking company.
Unless you’re a trucking expert, you’ll probably have a hard time identifying and investigating FMCSA violations. Rather than struggle with this analysis, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer. The team at Hall-Justice Law Office can help you identify regulatory violations and their relationship to your injuries.
Understanding the Truck Accident Claims Process
In addition to dealing with the truck driver, you may have to talk to the driver’s employer or trucking company, insurance companies, and lawyers. Truck companies and their insurance providers are quick to involve lawyers, so you should immediately seek legal assistance as well. We can help you with the following:
- File a claim with the other person’s insurance for compensation of your losses;
- Make a claim with your insurance company for immediate coverage;
- Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement;
- Complete an investigation into what actually happened;
- Determine liability in your truck accident claim;
- Engage expert witnesses to establish fault; and
- Take your case to trial, if necessary.
A Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the claims process.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
It is important to determine the cause of your crash so that fault can be established. Once we prove that the trucker is at fault, we can make a claim with the trucking company and the company’s insurance provider. Common causes that we will investigate include the following:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted truckers
- Driver error
- Failure to maintain proper lookout
- Speeding or other failures to follow traffic laws
- Violation of safety regulations
- Intoxicated driving – i.e., drug or alcohol abuse
- Inexperienced or improperly trained drivers
- Improperly loaded trailers – i.e., overloading
- Equipment malfunction and improperly maintained equipment
- Trucking company negligence
- Negligent hiring
- Defective and dangerous truck parts, including tires, brakes, and other safety systems
Common Injuries Sustained in Truck Accidents
Because of the size and weight of commercial trucks, accidents tend to cause serious injuries, which can be life-changing.
Common injuries that occur in truck accidents include the following:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Severe burns and lacerations
- Internal injuries, such as organ damage
- Psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Because truck wreck accidents can cause both traumatic and subtle injuries, an experienced Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer can help you identify your injuries, link them to your crash, and accurately compute your damages. This might require guidance from medical, vocational, and other expert witnesses.
A Lafayette IN Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Our experienced lawyers can help. We will complete an independent investigation of the crash in order to determine liability. We will also speak with the trucker, trucking company, and their insurance agency. Moreover, we can negotiate on your behalf and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call a Lafayette IN truck accident lawyer at Hall-Justice Law Firm today.