Indiana Big Rig Accident Attorneys
Did you get hurt in an accident with a big rig? Do you want to consult with a qualified attorney about your legal options? If so, contact the Indiana truck accident lawyers of Custy Law Firm today to discuss your case. You might be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault truck driver or trucking company.
A big rig is another name for a tractor-trailer or semi-trailer. It is a combination vehicle containing a front cab where the driver sits and a trailer attached by a hitch. This type of commercial truck can transport consumer goods, construction materials, heavy loads, and other items. Although necessary to the economy, they can cause severe injuries and fatalities should they get into accidents.
Truck drivers are responsible for safely operating big rigs. They must go through extensive training and acquire a commercial driver’s license. Distracted driving, speeding, and other careless behaviors can lead to an accident. The occupants of a smaller car often suffer the most when they collide with a large truck. If the trucker was at fault, they could be held liable.
You deserve compensation for the suffering you endured. At Custy Law Firm, our Indiana big rig accident attorneys will advocate for your rights and fight hard for justice for you. Call us at (219) 286-7361 for a free consultation and learn more about what we can do for you.
Common Causes of Big Rig Accidents in Indiana
Various factors could contribute to an accident between a commercial truck and other vehicles. Truck drivers have the difficult job of maneuvering large big rigs through traffic and around road hazards. Inexperienced drivers might not know how to navigate around sharp turns or on narrow roads. Other truckers will speed or behave recklessly behind the wheel, placing the occupants of small cars at risk of serious harm.
The two main reasons big rigs end up in accidents are:
- High center of gravity – Commercial trucks are more susceptible to rolling due to their high center of gravity. An uneven cargo load, sudden braking, or taking a turn too quickly can cause the trailer or entire vehicle to tip onto its side.
- Poor visibility – The trailer on the back of a big rig can block the driver’s view. This creates large blind spots on the sides and at the back of the vehicle. Truckers that don’t check their blind spots before changing lanes, merging, or turning could sideswipe a passenger car or drive right over it.
The most common causes of accidents involving big rigs include:
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Driving while tired
- Distracted driving
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Failing to check blind spots
- Driving under the influence
If these causes or any other factor led to your injuries in a truck accident, do not hesitate to contact Custy Law Firm. We can investigate the cause of the crash and determine who should be held accountable for their negligent actions.
Federal Regulations for Operating a Big Rig
All truck drivers and trucking companies must adhere to the federal regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These standards are necessary to keep the truckers and other drivers safe on the road. Violating these standards could result in significant property damage, injuries, and even death.
- License – All truckers must hold and maintain a valid commercial driver’s license to operate a big rig.
- Background check – Trucking companies should perform a thorough background check, including employment history and criminal record, on new employees.
- Hours of Service – The hours of service regulations prohibit drivers from exceeding the maximum number of driving hours during a shift.
- Cargo loads – All items loaded on the trailer should stay within the size and weight limits and be attached to the trailer with proper securements.
- Inspections – Truckers should inspect their vehicle before and after each driving shift.
- Maintenance and repairs – The trucking company must routinely maintain all trucks in the fleet and promptly repair damage or defects.
- Alcohol and drug testing – Employers should perform random drug and alcohol testing on every driver.
- Driver logs – All truckers must keep a log of their driving hours.
- Training – The trucking company should provide training for all employees.
A big rig accident can be catastrophic. The occupants of smaller cars often sustain debilitating injuries. This type of crash can also be deadly. In 2019, 4,119 died in accidents involving large trucks. Of those fatalities, 67% were the drivers or passengers of non-commercial vehicles.
Injuries Associated with Big Rig Accidents in Indiana
If a truck accident doesn’t cause fatalities, it can leave the victims with severe injuries and significant property damage. Some people suffer from the effects of the crash for months or even years. Others become disabled and can’t return to work or perform daily tasks.
The most common injuries caused by big rig accidents are:
- Concussion, traumatic brain injury, and other head and brain injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ failure
- Lacerations and burns
- Crush injuries
Any injury could lead to a life-threatening condition or death. Even if your physical scars heal, you could suffer the emotional effects of an accident for the rest of your life. Many people seek therapy or take prescription medications to cope with what they’ve been through. It’s unfair that you’re suffering because of another person’s carelessness. Custy Law Firm is ready to help you fight for justice and get you on the road to recovery.
Compensation Available in a Big Rig Accident Case
Indiana follows a traditional fault system when it comes to accidents. If the truck driver or trucking company was responsible for your injuries, you could hold them liable. If they are found to be liable by a court or by determination of the insurance company, they would become financially responsible for the expenses resulting from the crash.
Federal law requires trucking companies to buy and maintain liability insurance for every commercial truck they own. If one of their employees causes an accident, their insurance company can cover the victim’s expenses. There are minimum liability limits required depending on the vehicle weight and type of cargo it contains:
- $300,000 – Non-hazardous materials on a truck weighing less than 10,001 pounds
- $750,000 – Non-hazardous cargo on a truck over 10,000 pounds
- $1 to $5 million – Oil and other hazardous freight
When you file a claim, you can seek compensation for your past and future losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Permanent disability
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings
- Emotional distress
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Everyone’s case is unique, and the settlement amount you receive will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and your injuries. The Indiana big rig accident attorneys of Custy Law Firm can review the evidence we find to determine an appropriate monetary value for your losses. We want to ensure we help you recover the maximum compensation you need, so you don’t have to pay for anything out-of-pocket.
Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit in Indiana
Filing an insurance claim isn’t your only option for seeking compensation from the negligent truck driver or trucking company. You could file a lawsuit to compensate for your total losses. There is a specific timeframe called a statute of limitations you must adhere to in Indiana, which is two years. That means you have two years from the accident date to file your lawsuit. Once the deadline passes, you might not have another opportunity to hold the at-fault party liable.
What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Indiana uses the modified comparative negligence rule to determine how much compensation an accident victim can pursue based on their percentage of shared fault. For example, if you incurred $100,000 in expenses, but a jury finds that you were 20% at fault for the crash, you can only seek up to $80,000 in compensation. However, you’re not allowed to recover anything if you’re 51% or more to blame for the accident.
Custy Law Firm Legal Fees and Costs
The Indiana big rig accident attorneys of Custy Law Firm understand the financial burden you might face. Many of our clients struggle to afford their medical bills, daily living expenses, and other costs while pursuing a legal case. We don’t want to add more stress to your life, which is why we take cases on a contingency fee basis. You don’t have to pay us upfront for our legal services. We don’t collect our legal fees or costs unless we secure compensation in your case. If we lose, you will never owe us any money.
We also offer a free initial consultation. There’s no cost to receive the advice and guidance you need after a truck accident. We’ll be happy to review the details of your case and determine your available options for holding the at-fault party accountable for their actions.
At Custy Law Firm, our legal team provides personalized attention to every client that walks through our office doors. We will treat you as a priority from start to finish of your case. You can depend on us to go above and beyond to meet your needs and reach a favorable outcome in your case.
If you suffered injuries in an accident with a big rig, call Custy Law Firm at (219) 286-7361 to speak with one of our Indiana big rig accident attorneys.