“Big rigs” are by far the most intimidating type of vehicle on the road. The weight of the truck, coupled with the large load it is carrying, makes it extremely hard to control, especially when there are hazardous roads or weather conditions.
As Indiana truck accident lawyers, we know that in the U.S., big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This means they take at least twice the time to stop as a passenger vehicle, making quick-thinking and stops nearly impossible. For those reasons, truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or unfortunately often death.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck or big rig accident make sure to contact an experienced and compassionate Fishers truck wreck lawyer immediately. They can ensure you and your family are properly represented and not taken advantage of by a large insurance company.
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.
Indiana Truck Crash Statistics
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.
- Putnam County has the deadliest stretch of roadway in Indiana, with an average of 6.62 deaths per mile.
- Another deadly stretch of highway in Indiana is the area between the 65 interchange and Benton St. on I-80/90. This two-mile stretch has an average of 3 fatalities per mile.
- The 1.67-mile stretch of I-80 between Golfway Ct. and 176th has an average of 2.99 fatalities per mile.
- Across the nation, most traffic accidents take place between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- In Indiana, most accidents involving trucks happen between noon and 6 p.m.
- Indiana sees the most truck accidents in the following months:
- September (296)
- July (295)
- August (275)
- October (265)
- June (250)
The fewest truck accidents in Indiana occur in:
- March (187)
- April (194)
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 you should 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.
What Does a Lawyer Do?
Accidents on the road happen, and trucking companies know this. This is why they are often represented by aggressive defense firms and insurance policies made of steel. You need to have an experienced Indiana 18 wheeler accident lawyer to give you a fair shot at presenting your case against these heavily protected and insured companies.
Your 18 wheeler accident attorney will review the accident report and work with experts and investigators to help determine liability. They know how to fight against the aggressive defense tactics the trucking company’s insurance company and attorneys will try to deploy to blame you for the accident.
In addition to reviewing police reports and meeting with witnesses, your truck wreck attorney will subpoena the trucking company’s log books, dispatch sheets, fuel tickets, and maintenance records to evaluate the case from all angles to try and determine negligence, including:
- The truck driver is at-fault: If there is evidence of any alcohol or drug use, distracted or fatigued driving, or speeding to make their weekly quota, which led to the accident.
- Trucking company negligence: Did the trucking company hire an unqualified driver or pressure them to drive in unsafe conditions to meet their quota? Did they fail to properly maintain the truck?
Your semi-truck accident attorney in will also work with medical specialists to demonstrate the extent of your injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
When these injuries, and any other injuries, are proven, your chances of receiving full compensation are much greater.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
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 wreck lawyer 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 Fishers personal injury lawyer 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 18 wheeler accident lawyer 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.
Indiana Truck Wreck Attorneys
If you or a loved one has recently been hurt or killed in a truck accident, contact our experienced and compassionate truck wreck attorneys today. We look forward to helping you build the strongest case possible and receiving the compensation you are entitled to.
Some of the locations in and around Fishers which our attorneys serve include 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, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Lawrence, and more.