You might be entitled to compensation if you were injured in a truck accident because of someone else’s actions or inactions. Truck accidents are common because of how many trucks are on the road and how long truck drivers drive within a week. In addition, these collisions can be fatal because of the weight and size of the semi-truck. As a result, there are specific laws that truck drivers and trucking companies must follow to ensure that they are safely transporting goods.
Failing to abide by the rules of the road and the laws and regulations specifically applied to trucks may result in a severe accident for which the at-fault party may be liable. You can pursue compensation if you sustained an injury in a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence. The attorneys of Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers are ready to use their knowledge and experience to fight for you to receive maximum compensation. If you want to meet with one of our Merrillville personal injury attorneys to discuss your truck accident case, call (219) 286-7361 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Trucks are large vehicles with many blind spots and a decreased ability to react quickly because of their size and weight. A collision can result in severe injuries because of the size and weight discrepancy between commercial trucks and a typical car. The most common causes of semi-truck accidents are:
- Fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours. While some laws and regulations require drivers to take breaks and not drive more than a set number of hours within a specific timeframe, some drivers and companies ignore these laws, which can result in accidents.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers are in their vehicles for long periods and are incredibly vulnerable to the temptation of texting and talking on their phones while driving. Some trucks have computers to log their route, hours, and breaks. These devices may distract the driver resulting in crashes.
- Poor truck maintenance: Trucks are on the road a lot and, as a result, require regular maintenance checks. In most cases, the driver is required to check their vehicle regularly and log their findings. Failing to maintain the vehicle properly can result in blowouts, brake failure, and other issues that can cause serious collisions.
- Unsafe cargo loading: Semi-trucks’ purpose is transporting goods across the country. Ensuring the cargo is properly loaded and tied down is essential for safety because shifting cargo can cause a truck to tip over.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
The weight and size of a semi-truck require drivers with skill, focus, and knowledge of the vehicle because even the slightest error can lead to a devastating crash. The most common types of truck accidents include:
- Rollover crashes: Rollovers can be caused by the driver making sharp turns or cargo shifting unnaturally, making the truck more top-heavy than it can handle.
- Jackknife accidents: A jackknife accident means the truck folds in on itself. Usually, this will occur when a driver overcorrects, causing the cab and the trailer to fold at the hitch.
- Rear-end collisions: The weight of trucks makes it difficult to stop quickly, so rear-end collisions are common when trucks follow too closely to the vehicle in front of them or are speeding.
- Head-on collisions: Truck drivers are on the road often, resulting in fatigue which may cause them to drift into oncoming traffic.
- Overpass collisions: Trucks are taller than the average car, and sometimes an overpass may not be high enough for the truck to clear it safely. Failing to recognize that the overpass is not tall enough can result in the truck colliding with the overpass causing further collisions.
Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents?
Like any car crash, various things can cause a truck collision. However, more parties may be liable in truck accidents, including:
- The driver: If the truck driver’s actions or inactions were the primary cause of the collision, they would be at fault. If the driver were an independent contractor, they could be liable.
- The trucking company: If the trucking company allows a driver to break the rules, knowingly hires an unqualified driver, or fails to comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, the company can be found liable. If the driver was their employee, the trucking company could be liable for their agent’s actions.
- The cargo company or loading company: Sometimes, companies hire third parties to load their vehicles to ensure safety standards are met. If these cargo companies fail to load the truck, which results in a collision properly, the cargo company can be held liable for compensation.
- The mechanic: Generally, trucking companies will hire other companies to maintain their vehicles. They may be liable if the mechanic fails to repair and maintain the vehicle properly.
Available Compensation for Injuries in Truck Accidents
When you’ve been injured because of someone else’s wrongdoing, you are entitled to pursue compensation for your losses resulting from the incident. You may be able to pursue compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Cost of repair or replacement of your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Your contribution to the truck accident may affect the compensation you receive in Indiana. Indiana is a comparative fault state, meaning that if you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault for the collision, you will be barred from receiving compensation. However, if you contributed to the collision but are not found to be 51 percent or more at fault, you can receive compensation, which your assigned fault will reduce. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in compensation and are found to be 20 percent at fault for the collision, the maximum amount you can receive from the other liable parties is $80,000.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents
The Indiana statute of limitations allows a two-year timeframe to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. You have two years from the collision date to file your personal injury lawsuit. If you file after that, your case may be dismissed because the statutory period has expired.
Contact Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers
You are entitled to pursue compensation if you were injured in a truck accident because of another person’s wrongdoing. The experienced attorneys of Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers have helped recover millions of dollars in compensation for injured parties. We are ready to put our knowledge to work for you.