Living in Fishers, Indiana, a thriving suburb of nearly 100,000 people, provides a comfortable blend of small-town charm and proximity to the lively city of Indianapolis. Fishers see significant traffic from commercial trucks using major highways such as I-69, Interstate 465, Interstate 70, Interstate 74, and State Road 37 as a vital connection between smaller towns and large cities. With an increase in the number of large vehicles comes a greater chance of accidents involving these massive transporters.
Accidents involving large trucks can be extremely devastating due to their size and weight, often resulting in severe injuries and significant property damage. If you or a loved one has had a truck accident in Fishers, you must understand your rights and legal options. Our Fishers truck accident lawyers dedicate themselves to assisting accident victims in navigating the complex aftermath and ensuring you and your family are properly represented and not taken advantage of by a large insurance company.
The Trucking Industry in Indiana
The trucking industry is a critical backbone of Indiana’s economy, playing a pivotal role in the state’s production and distribution sectors. Indiana is known as the Crossroads of America. Its strategic location places it within a day’s drive of many U.S. businesses and households. This makes it a central hub for transportation and logistics.
There are 1,105 trucking companies in Indiana, the majority of which are small, locally owned businesses. These companies contribute significantly to the state’s economy, providing thousands of jobs across Indiana.
Indiana’s vast highway network, which includes major interstates such as I-69, I-465, I-70, and I-74, facilitates an efficient flow of goods across state lines and to ports, airports, and rail yards. This road network sees millions of trucks annually, hauling diverse cargoes ranging from manufactured goods to agricultural products.
However, as truck accident lawyers in Fishers, we can tell you that the bustling trucking industry also increases the risk of truck accidents. The high volume of large commercial vehicles on the state’s roads and driver fatigue and pressure to meet delivery deadlines can lead to severe accidents. As such, if you find yourself involved in a truck accident in Indiana, it’s crucial to seek legal representation from a Fishers truck accident attorney familiar with the intricacies of the trucking industry and the laws that govern it.
How Often Do Truck Crashes Occur?
According to the National Safety Council, nearly 5,000 Americans died in large truck accidents in 2020. When you consider the fact that there are more than 11 million trucks operating across the country, many with overworked and tired drivers transporting hazardous supplies, it’s not hard to see the dangers and why truck accidents are so prevalent. In Indiana, many truck accidents happen because of the state’s long stretches of highway that act as significant pass-throughs for long-haul truckers.
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in an accident with a large truck, such as a semi, it’s critically important that you find an Indiana truck accident attorney to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Let’s take a look at a few more Indiana truck accident statistics:
- Indiana crash reports show that in 2020, fatal crashes in Hamilton County doubled, despite people staying at home more during the pandemic, with 26 fatalities in 24 crashes. According to the Criminal Justice Institute, 25% of Indiana drivers involved in fatal crashes are legally impaired.
- In the 10-year period between January 1st, 2007, and December 31st, 2016, there were a reported 2,835 truck accidents in Indiana. These accidents caused 1,206 deaths of truck drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and passengers, and drivers of other vehicles.
Why Truck Accident Cases Are More Complex Than Other Cases
As experienced Fishers truck accident lawyers, we can tell you that due to various factors, truck accident cases tend to be more complex than typical automobile accident cases.
To begin with, the severity of injuries in trucking accidents is generally greater. Given the size and weight of commercial trucks, the impact can result in severe injuries or even death. As a result, medical evaluations, treatments, and estimating potential future medical expenses for victims are more complicated.
Second, in a truck accident, multiple parties may be held liable. While in a typical car accident, one of the drivers is usually at fault, in a trucking accident, the truck driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, or cargo loader may all bear some responsibility. The number of parties involved can make determining liability significantly more complicated.
Furthermore, federal and state laws bind commercial truck drivers, including specific driving hours requirements, maintenance schedules, and cargo loading. These regulations complicate the situation even more. Violations of these rules can be crucial in proving negligence in a truck accident claim.
Finally, the involvement of large trucking companies and their insurance providers often means that victims of truck accidents face formidable opposition. These companies have substantial resources to contest claims, requiring victims to present robust, well-documented cases.
What To Do Following a Truck Accident
Being involved in a truck accident is scary, emotional, and overwhelming. But, the steps you take in the immediate aftermath of a truck accident are crucial. Here’s what our Fishers truck accident attorneys recommend you do:
1. Call 9-1-1
First and foremost, you should call 9-1-1 immediately following a truck accident (or accident of any kind for that matter). When the police arrive on the scene, tell them what happened and what you remember happening in the moments that led to the crash. Ask for a copy of the police report, which should include the following information:
- Witness statements
- A statement from you and the truck driver
- A sketch of the scene of the accident
- Contact information for all drivers
- The responding police officer’s opinion on who was at fault
2. Collect Evidence
The next critical step is to collect evidence to prove what happened. You must collect and preserve this evidence to ensure it does not get altered or falsified. Take as many photos as possible of the damage, tire skid marks, and any other relevant details. If the road was slippery due to weather or an oil spill, photograph that as well.
3. Exchange Information
Indiana law requires you to exchange your insurance and contact information with all other parties involved in the crash. Make sure you get the truck driver’s name, insurance information, and name of the trucking carrier, as well as their truck number (take photographs of the truck number and license plate).
4. Get Witness Contact Information
If there were any witnesses who pulled over after the crash, ask them for their contact information and to give a statement to the police of what they saw. Witness testimony is an important part of a truck accident claim as they are considered unbiased eyewitnesses that can back up claims of what happened.
5. Seek Medical Care
After a semi-truck accident, whether you think you are injured or not, it is vital to seek medical care. The size and weight differences between big rigs and passenger vehicles mean that these types of accidents often result in serious injuries, including injuries you may not immediately see or notice after the crash — especially when your adrenaline is pumping. This is why it’s so important to get checked out by a doctor after a truck accident, even if you think you feel “fine.” It’s important to remember that internal injuries and brain injuries may not always present symptoms immediately, so don’t risk skipping a crucial visit to the doctor.
When you seek immediate medical care, you’ll obtain accurate diagnoses that are recorded and documented, which will help your case. You’ll also be able to start treating any injuries ASAP for the most favorable outcome.
6. Speak to a Fishers Truck Accident Lawyer
You’ll want to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the crash. The injury law firm will help make sure you collect all necessary evidence and take all required steps to protect yourself while building a solid case. When the truck driver’s insurance company contacts you, you can refer them to your Fishers truck accident attorney. They can interview witnesses, preserve your evidence, and take many other steps to present your case in the best light possible and to prevent you from making critical errors that could hurt your case.
How SLG Accident Attorneys Will Help After a Truck Accident
We understand the gravity and complexity of truck accident cases at SLG Accident Attorneys and dedicate ourselves to offering thorough, aggressive representation for our clients. When you hire us to handle your case, our legal team will do the following:
- Investigation and evidence gathering. Our Fishers truck accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident, gathering vital evidence such as the truck driver’s logbooks, vehicle maintenance records, and any accident scene photos or surveillance footage.
- Establishing liability. We will work hard to identify all responsible parties using the evidence gathered. This could include the truck driver, the trucking company, the vehicle’s manufacturer, or even the entity in charge of loading the cargo onto the truck.
- Truck Driver Liability: We will look into if there is evidence of alcohol or drug use, distracted or fatigued driving, or speeding to make their weekly quota, which led to the accident.
- Trucking company negligence: We will determine if there was negligence on the part of the trucking company. Did they hire an unqualified driver or pressure them to drive in unsafe conditions to meet their quota? Did they fail to properly maintain the truck?
- Consultation with experts. To build a strong case on your behalf, we will work with various industry experts, including accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and vocational experts.
- Assessing damages. We will carefully evaluate your financial, physical, and emotional losses. This includes current and future medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and any other damages you may incur.
- Negotiation with insurance companies. Our team will handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance companies involved, ensuring that your rights are protected and you receive the most compensation for your claim.
- Legal representation in court. If we cannot reach a fair settlement, we are prepared to take your case to court, where we will passionately advocate for your rights and interests.
With SLG Accident Attorneys by your side, you have seasoned legal experts fighting relentlessly for your rights, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
How Do These Accidents Happen?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all cause of truck accidents in Indiana, and most truck accidents involve more than one cause, there are similar factors and conditions that lead to these types of accidents, such as:
- Driver error: When a driver makes a dangerous move, such as speeding or tailgating, the driver and trucking company are liable for any accident that ensues. Factors that contribute to driver error include:
- Drug and/or alcohol use
- Prescription drug use
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Road conditions: Poorly maintained or designed roads can create dangerous conditions that cause or worsen accidents.
- Poorly loaded cargo: Cargo that is not loaded and balanced properly can cause a driver to lose control of their truck, especially when they are making a sharp turn. The company that loaded the goods may be liable for the accident due to negligence.
- Equipment failure: A defective or unmaintained truck part may cause the driver to lose control. The fault may lie with the company that manufactured the part or the company that failed to maintain the truck.
- Other drivers: A lot of drivers are ignorant about how long it takes a truck to make a quick move or stop as well as their elongated blind spots and how wide they must make their turns. Because of this, many drivers may still drive erratically or normally around trucks, cutting them off and causing the truck to jackknife.
Types of Semi-Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in a truck crash can be catastrophic and commonly include:
- Broken bones: Trucks are heavy, meaning bones are more likely to be broken in crashes with trucks compared to passenger vehicles.
- Back and neck injuries: These injuries can range from minor aches and pains to dislocated discs. These injuries often prevent victims from returning to work and their other daily activities because of the pain and discomfort.
- Lacerations: Cuts and lacerations from truck accidents can leave massive scars that might not ever heal.
- Burn injuries: These types of injuries commonly occur if the truck is transporting flammable cargo and hazardous materials, such as gasoline or petroleum.
- Brain injuries: Brain injuries can be life-altering and may not always be evident directly after a crash. Symptoms that may develop after sustaining a brain injury in a truck crash include confusion, nausea, and vision and cognitive difficulties. Some victims will never be the same after sustaining a brain injury.
- Internal injuries: Powerful blunt trauma that occurs in truck crashes can lead to internal bleeding of the bladder, liver, kidney, and spleen. These injuries are particularly hard to treat and heal.
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis: Spinal cord injuries sustained in truck crashes are devastating and can lead to lifelong paralysis. This is another kind of injury in which the damage may not be immediately apparent, which is why it’s critically important to seek medical attention after a truck accident.
Wrongful death: Truck crashes are 10 times more likely to kill you than crashes with other passenger cars. When a truck accident kills you or a loved one, an experienced truck accident lawyer in Fishers can hold the trucking company responsible through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Determining Responsibility in a Truck Crash
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a truck accident, a number of parties may be held liable for your losses, such as:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck
- The shipper who loaded the truck
- Truck, trailer, or parts manufacturers
An experienced attorney will use the evidence collected to find who is liable and prove it in a court of law, including the factors that caused the accident and their liability, whether it was driver error, overloading the truck, or any of the causes of truck accidents we went over above.
If it was a faulty part that led to the crash, your truck accident lawyer in Fishers will work to put together a product liability lawsuit and prove the defective part was “unreasonably dangerous.”
Although determining who was at fault and holding them liable may never help you replace what you lost in the truck crash, it will help you recover the compensation — for economic and non-economic reasons — you deserve to allow you to start the healing process.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Indiana
When pursuing a truck accident case in Indiana, understanding the concept of comparative negligence is critical. According to Indiana’s comparative negligence laws, the court can assign the fault for an accident to multiple parties, including the plaintiff (the person filing the claim). This principle reflects the fact that accidents frequently result from the actions of more than one party.
The 51% rule, officially modified comparative negligence, applies in Indiana. This rule means that you can recover damages (compensation for losses) only if you are less than 51% at fault for the accident. If the court finds you to be 51% or more at fault, you won’t be able to recover any damages.
For instance, if you were involved in a truck accident where the total damages amount to $100,000 but the court finds you to be 30% at fault, you would be eligible to recover 70% of the damages, or $70,000. But if you were 51% or more at fault, you would not be eligible to recover any damages.
These laws underscore the importance of having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, such as those at SLG Accident Attorneys, to help navigate these complex legal waters, especially in the aftermath of a severe truck accident.
Why the Trucking Company Representatives Can’t Be Trusted
After a truck accident, trusting trucking company representatives can be a costly mistake. These representatives, including insurance agents, have one primary goal: to protect their company’s financial interests.
Trucking companies immediately dispatch their rapid response teams to the scene when they learn of an accident. These teams, which frequently include insurance adjusters and attorneys, work to gather and interpret evidence in such a way that it minimizes their company’s liability.
They may then contact you, offering seemingly sympathetic help and quick settlement offers. But remember that their primary goal is to save the company money, not to give you fair compensation. They are skilled negotiators who will use various tactics to reduce or deny your claim. They may also try to convince you to make statements they can use against you later.
As a result, it is critical not to trust trucking company representatives blindly. Do not sign anything, agree to any settlement, or provide recorded statements unless you have first spoken with an experienced Fishers truck accident lawyer. Your truck accident lawyer in Fishers protects your rights and ensures you receive total and fair compensation.
What is the Average Truck Accident Settlement Amount?
Determining an average truck accident settlement amount is difficult because settlement amounts vary significantly from case to case. When estimating a potential settlement amount, you must consider several factors. These include the extent of property damage, lost wages, future medical care, pain and suffering, and the level of negligence involved.
Generally, settlements can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars. Less severe accidents, where injuries are minimal, may result in lower settlement amounts. However, in cases where a victim has suffered severe or life-altering injuries, the settlement can be significantly higher.
Also, unlike car accidents, truck accidents can involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the vehicle manufacturer, and others, complicating the case and potentially affecting the settlement amount.
Fishers, Indiana, is a thriving and vibrant city in Hamilton County. It is one of Indiana’s fastest-growing communities, and it is known for its exceptional schools, parks, and quality of life that consistently ranks it among the best places to live in the country.
The city’s prime location, near the state capital Indianapolis and right off Interstate 69, Interstate 465, Interstate 70, Interstate 74, and State Road 37, means significant commercial traffic passes through, increasing the potential for truck accidents.
Fishers is well-equipped with medical and therapeutic facilities in the unfortunate event of an accident. IU Health Saxony Hospital provides high-quality healthcare, specializing in cardiovascular, orthopedics, and spine care. Ascension St. Vincent Fishers is another excellent healthcare provider, delivering personalized, compassionate care.
After an accident, physical therapy can play a vital role in recovery. Fishers residents have access to two leading physical therapy centers. Body One Physical Therapy is committed to providing comprehensive, individualized therapy to help patients return to regular routines. Similarly, BenchMark Physical Therapy offers various services, from manual orthopedic therapy to sports medicine, helping patients regain strength and mobility.
Experienced Indiana Attorneys
If you or a loved one has had a truck accident in Fishers, you must seek legal counsel immediately. Our experienced team of Fishers truck accident lawyers at SLG Accident Attorneys is committed to fighting for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve.
With our knowledge and expertise, we will navigate the complex legal landscape, negotiate with insurance companies, and take your case to trial if necessary. Don’t delay; contact SLG Accident Attorneys today to discuss your case and explore your legal options.
Some of the locations which our attorneys serve include Fishers, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Lake Stonebridge, Rolling Meadow, Sumerlin Trails, Sawgrass, Spring Dale Estates, Hawthorn Hills, Quaker Ridge, Rolling Knoll, Windermere, Limestone Springs, Walnut Creek, Pine Bluff Overlook, Sunblest, and more.