Trucking companies are often contacted by the truck driver immediately following an accident. Trucking companies will do their best to respond as quickly as possible and will do everything they can to minimize your chances in court. We have even seen instances of trucking companies hiding or tampering with evidence, or making repairs to faulty trucks after an accident. For more information, check out our Indiana Truck Accident FAQs page or watch the video above to learn why it is so vital to contact an Indianapolis accident lawyer immediately following any truck accident involving you or a loved one.
Truck Accidents Statistics in Indiana
Thousands of commercial trucks transport goods and cargo across Indiana every day. The number of registered commercial tractor-trailers has increased substantially nationwide.
Not surprisingly, the number of collisions involving large trucks in Indiana has increased significantly in recent years. More than 16,300 LARGE TRUCKS were involved in accidents in 2014.
Because of the weight and size of large trucks, collisions involving smaller vehicles can have serious or catastrophic consequences for the victims.
Percentage of Indiana Crashes Involving Large Commercial Trucks
Experienced Indiana Legal Help for Serious Truck Accidents
At Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC, our truck accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured victims of large truck crashes. Indiana truck accident attorney David W. Craig has handled hundreds of commercial vehicle accidents, representing clients in Indianapolis, Batesville, Richmond, Fort Wayne and throughout Indiana.
The Indiana car accidents involving large trucks frequently involve serious injuries because of the greater size and weight of large trucks compared to
other vehicles on the road such as cars, motorcycles and pickup trucks. Every year, more semi-trucks and large commercial trucks crowd the nation’s roadways, increasing the risk of accidents.
Tractor-trailers are disproportionately represented in fatal collisions in Indiana. But large trucks and other commercial vehicles had by far the highest rate of involvement in deadly accidents.
Passenger vehicle occupants are also far more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a truck accident than the driver of the truck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) reports that of the 3,964 large truck crash fatalities in a recent year, only 17 percent were occupants (driver) of the large trucks, while 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles. In addition to the fatalities, 95,000 people were injured in large truck collisions that year, 72 percent of which were occupants of other vehicles.
Large semi-trucks had a fatality rate of 10.1 DEATHS PER 1,000 VEHICLES — three times higher than the average for all vehicles.
A serious truck accident can occur anytime, but crashes involving large trucks are more likely to occur on certain weekdays when more big rigs are on the road.
Most Dangerous Day of Week for Semi-truck Accidents in Indiana in 2014
How Our Experienced Lawyers Can Help After a Truck Accident
Our truck accident attorneys will investigate the cause of your truck accident. Accidents involving large trucks are more complicated to understand than fender benders with passenger cars.
You will need an experienced law firm that has successfully represented victims of commercial truck accidents and has the resources and commitment to determine what occurred in a big rig crash.
There may be multiple contributing factors to the accident including some combination of excessive speed, fatigue, the distraction caused by a cell phone and a mechanical issue if the truck has not been serviced properly. Identifying precisely what caused a truck accident may require an independent investigation by traffic reconstruction experts.
An experienced truck accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC will work with recognized accident reconstruction experts to understand how an accident occurred and build a convincing case for full compensation from the insurance provider based on facts.
We will obtain the cell phone records of the truck driver to determine if the driver was distracted at the time of the crash. We will analyze the driver logs and toll receipts to determine if the driver had been behind the wheel too long and likely had impaired alertness due to fatigue. We review the maintenance records on the truck to determine if the truck company had serviced the brakes and other safety components of the vehicle according to schedule.
Trucking companies are only required to keep maintenance records and driver logs for a certain period of time, and potentially important evidence may be lost if you delay too long when hiring an attorney. If you have been hurt in a traffic crash with a large commercial truck or bus, act quickly to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney. The longer you wait to contact a truck accident attorney, the more difficult it becomes to find and preserve evidence and the greater the risk of jeopardizing your case.
When you work with a semi-truck accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC, we will take the necessary steps to preserve key evidence and protect your legal rights.
Causes of Large Truck Accidents
Many truck accidents are caused by common driver errors. The truck driver may be speeding, driving too fast for the road conditions, tailgating, driving drowsy or inattentive to changing traffic conditions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) conducted a landmark study, Large Truck Crash Causation Study Analysis Brief, and found these associated factors in large truck collisions:
Although some do drink and drive, commercial truck drivers are less likely than drivers, in general, to be driving drunk. Truck drivers know that a drunk driving charge on their driving record will cost them their commercial driver’s license and their job. However, when a truck driver is driving impaired, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Percentage of Drivers in Fatal Crashes in Indiana who were Legally Impaired
See also: Truck Wrecks on Snow and Ice
During the winter months, truck accidents are often caused by trucks driving too fast on snow and ice. Many drivers underestimate the amount of space required to stop in inclement weather. This failure to be cautious, coupled with the immense weight of most commercial trucks, often results in disaster for other drivers on the road. Several tons of steel sliding along the icy road at a high rate of speed is simply not something anyone should have to encounter. Winter weather on the roads of Indiana should be respected and approached with caution, and truck drivers should remain even more cautious and vigilant during snowy or icy conditions.
In many cases, driver fatigue plays a role in the accident. The dangers of commercial vehicle operator fatigue are widely recognized. The National Transportation Safety Board has issued more than 180 safety recommendations on ways to reduce fatigue in long-haul truck drivers (as well as airplane pilots). Commercial vehicle accidents can also be attributed to other causes, including:
- Poorly designed or maintained highways and streets. If a natural hazard exists in how a street or highway is designed, the government entity responsible is also liable for accidents that occur there.
- Unreasonable commercial demands for deliveries. A truck may be owned, leased or contracted by a large company to haul its goods. If a delivery schedule is overly ambitious, a driver might be compelled to relax safety standards to meet their employer’s demands.
- Mechanical failure. When brakes or other safety features fail, either the owner has failed to put in place an effective maintenance schedule or the maintenance providers have made a mistake.
Let an Indiana Truck Accident Specialist Deal with the Insurance Companies
Large trucks are required by law to carry substantially higher amounts of liability insurance than passenger cars because of their greater potential to cause serious harm.
After a serious accident occurs, you should expect to be contacted by the insurance company representing the trucking company. In some instances, the accident victim or their representative may have to deal with different insurance companies representing the truck driver, trucking company and cargo shipper.
You should understand that the insurance adjuster may sound friendly, but the adjuster’s job is to protect their company’s profits and minimize the amount of money the company pays out in claims. A common tactic used by insurance companies is to assure the victim that an attorney is unnecessary and will only complicate reaching a settlement. It’s important to have your own attorney represent you in dealing with insurance adjusters to prevent being taken advantage of or making a statement that may be used against you to undermine your claim. If you or your family is involved in a serious accident involving a semi-truck, you are going to need experienced Indianapolis truck accident attorneys on your side to fight for your rights. The trucking company insurance agency is working on their defense immediately after an accident occurs, and it is imperative that you contact an experienced attorney right away to give you the best chance at fair legal representation.
Our Indianapolis Truck Accident Attorneys Will Investigate the Cause of Your Truck Accident
Commercial truck collisions can happen for a number of reasons. In too many cases, truck driver error or vehicle failure is the underlying cause of these serious accidents, often with devastating results for the victims.
The NHTSA reports that, compared to drivers of other vehicle types, large truck drivers have the highest percentage of previous accidents. Almost 17 percent of the truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in a recent year had at least one prior conviction for speeding. The need for truck drivers to make up time on the road may be putting you and your family at serious risk.
Emergency Response Team for Indiana Semi Truck Accident Victims
The consequences can be devastating when an 80,000 lb, fully-loaded 18-wheeler collides with a passenger vehicle. If you or your loved one has been the victim of such an accident, you need the services of an experienced trucking accident attorney as soon as possible.
When you contact our lawyers after a large truck traffic crash, we will immediately assess your case. Indiana trucking accident lawyer David W. Craig has put together an emergency response team, including fellow attorneys Scott A. Faultless, a private investigator, a mechanical expert, an expert qualified to download the commercial truck’s black box and an accident reconstructionist. The family deserves to know why this horrible tragedy occurred. Not only will we be able to determine what happened and why, but we also will hold those responsible accountable.
Here’s how we will go to work for you and your family:
- Our team will photograph, measure, survey, videotape, and secure all evidence at the scene of the accident.
- We will locate all eyewitnesses, and our investigators will interview them and obtain their statements.
- We will locate the truck involved in the collision and secure a court order to ensure that the truck is not touched until after our experts can conduct a thorough examination.
- Our mechanical expert will check the truck’s brakes and other mechanical components, and the black box will be downloaded to give us information about the speed and braking of the truck before the crash.
- We will also obtain a court order to ensure that the truck driver’s log and other key evidence are not destroyed.
- Our team is committed to finding out the truth about what happened in your truck accident. In securing information and evidence, our goal is to help ensure that your financial future is protected.
Insurance Companies Have Lawyers, Our Team of Indianapolis Semi Truck Accident Attorney Can Be Yours
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a collision with a large commercial truck, you can expect the trucking company or its insurance company to contact you without delay. Be aware that the trucking company or its insurer’s goal is to protect itself and to save money – not to fully compensate the victims in a trucking accident. This is exactly why you need an experienced Indiana truck accident attorney to represent you fairly and make sure that your legal rights are protected.
Do not allow the trucking or insurance company to take advantage of you. A common tactic is to assure the victim that an attorney is not necessary and will only delay the settlement. This could not be further from the truth. If you are not represented by an attorney, the trucking or insurance company has a huge advantage. You need an experienced and knowledgeable truck crash lawyer working on your case, and the sooner the better. Contact an Indianapolis truck accident attorney today if you believe you or a loved one has an accident case against a trucking company.
Contact an Indiana Truck Accident Attorney Today
The dedicated legal team at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC has the experience and skills to secure the evidence and identify all the potentially responsible parties after a truck accident. We investigate accidents thoroughly and prepare each case carefully as if it is going to trial. Careful preparation allows us to negotiate aggressively to obtain the full compensation that you deserve.
We handle truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we only get paid when we win your case. It’s important not to delay in seeking legal help after a serious truck accident.
Contact us by telephone or online for a free consultation about your accident. If you are unable to come to us, we will come to you.
Semi-Truck Accident FAQs
Semi Truck Accident
After an Indiana car accident you should politely decline to speak with the adjuster for the trucking company’s insurance company and refer the caller to your attorney. You have no obligation to provide information to them. Anything you say or do, even in a casual conversation, may be used to limit the amount of compensation you receive. The adjuster may sound friendly when asking about your health and recovery. But the adjuster’s job is to minimize the amount of money the insurance company pays in claims. Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators who settle claims every day. You should have a lawyer representing your interests in dealings with the other side’s insurer.
A lawyer for the trucking company called soon after the accident and offered a settlement if I will agree to sign a release. Should I sign it?
Before signing anything, you should have a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer review the offer and discuss whether it represents a reasonable settlement based on the severity of your injuries. You should not have to pay any legal fee for an attorney to review the offer and explain your legal options. Typically, quick, initial settlement offers by trucking companies reflect only a fraction of the fair value of the claim and are simply an attempt to relieve the trucking company of further liability. You may be signing away your legal rights if you sign anything presented by the trucking company or their insurer. A truck accident lawyer who has handled numerous accident claims can provide helpful guidance on the offer and whether it represents a just settlement.
The trucking industry is regulated by both the state of Indiana and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This is important because a violation of a state or federal regulation when related to a truck accident may lead to higher compensation for an accident victim or the victim’s family. It is important to work with an experienced lawyer who has handled numerous truck accident claims and is knowledgeable about the regulations that apply to truckers and trucking companies.
Yes, the numbers have increased significantly in recent years. There are more registered trucks on the highway. About 8 percent of the 205,000 collisions in Indiana in 2014 involved large trucks and other commercial motor vehicles. From 2010 to 2014, collisions involving large trucks increased about 5 percent a year. The number of people suffering incapacitating injuries in crashes involving tractor trailers increased 15 percent from 2010 to 2014.
If a truck driver changed lanes and struck my car while it was in the truck’s blind spot, can I file a claim?
Tractor trailers have large blind spots on all sides. You may have a valid claim if the truck driver moved into your lane and caused an accident, regardless of whether your automobile happened to be in a blind spot. Each Indiana tractor trailer accident has specific contributing factors that make it unique so it is important to have an experienced truck accident lawyer review your accident and determine the best strategy to proceed. It’s important to recognize that 35 percent of fatal truck-related accidents involve a truck’s blind spots, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Association.
An experienced truck accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the truck driver, the trucking company and others involved in the accident to gather evidence. The attorney will request certain records that trucking companies are required to have, such as the driver qualification file, which provides detailed information about the driver’s history and medical tests. A truck accident attorney will review the driver’s logs, electronic on-board recorder, and truck maintenance records, interview witnesses, collect photos of the accident scene, review the police accident report and gather your medical records related to the accident. The evidence gathered will be used to build a persuasive case showing those who caused the accident were negligent and their negligence caused the injuries of the accident victims.
I was following behind a flatbed truck near Bloomington when some cargo fell off the trailer onto the highway and caused me to swerve and hit another vehicle. Do I have a claim against the trucking company?
Cargo must be properly secured on large trucks to prevent it from shifting or falling off and causing accidents. You may have a claim against several potentially responsible parties if they are found to have contributed to your accident. You may have a claim against the trucking company, the owner of the trailer if different than the trucking company and/or the loader of the cargo. Multiple parties may be jointly liable. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney will investigate the accident and identify all the potentially liable parties.
A semi-truck was driving in front of me near Indianapolis when one of its tires blew out. The tire tread flew up and struck my windshield and caused me to run off the road and sustain injuries. Is the truck at fault?
This is a good example of the complexity of truck accidents. A number of different parties may be liable after a tire de-treads or blows out and causing injures to others. A truck accident lawyer will investigate to determine whether the trucking company has current records showing routine maintenance of the vehicle, including replacement of worn tires. If the tire was on the truck trailer and the trailer had a different owner, the trailer owner may be responsible. If the tire is found to be defective, the manufacturer of the tire may be liable as well. It is important to identify all the potentially responsible parties involved in a truck accident.
The truck driver who caused the accident was weaving lanes just before the crash. The police said the truck driver may have fallen asleep. Can the driver be held accountable?
Yes, fatigue is a common issue among truck drivers. Most commercial truck drivers must abide by limits on the number of hours they can drive each day and each week, if they operate a commercial motor vehicle such as a tractor trailer or cargo tanker. These limits are known as hours of service rules. Drivers who are pushing to meet unreasonable delivery deadlines frequently violate the limits. In some instances, trucking companies encourage the behavior by paying incentives to drivers based on when the delivery is made. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney will move quickly to obtain and review a driver’s logs and on-board recorder to determine whether the driver has taken required rest breaks and whether the driver was likely driving dangerously fatigued. A driver who knowingly violated the hours-of-service limits and caused an accident may have reckless disregard for safety and be held accountable.
Are the owners of semi-trucks required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than automobile drivers?
Yes. Large trucks have the potential to cause catastrophic damage in crashes. As a result, trucking companies are required to carry more liability insurance than an automobile owner. The state of Indiana requires that semi-trucks with a vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more that transport nonhazardous freight have a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. Private and for hire transportation companies that transport hazardous materials are required to have $1 million to $5 million in liability insurance coverage, depending on the type of material transported. The higher amounts of insurance allow for greater compensation after serious truck accidents.
You should not wait. It’s important to speak with an experienced Indiana truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident involving a semi-truck. You want to avoid saying or doing anything that could adversely affect your claim for compensation for your injuries. The insurance company lawyers are experienced in dealing with truck accidents. You need a knowledgeable truck accident attorney on your side to level the playing field.
I am recovering from injuries in an accident caused by a drunk truck driver. He has been charged with driving under the influence. Should I do anything else?
You should contact a personal injury lawyer to understand your legal options. A truck driver whose blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit may face criminal charges for drunken driving. But a criminal conviction of the truck driver will not provide any compensation to cover your medical bills or other losses. You will need to file a separate civil lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company that employed the driver seeking compensation for your personal injuries and related losses. In alcohol-related fatal crashes in Indiana, drivers of large trucks represented approximately 4 percent of those who were legally impaired, according to Indiana Crash Facts. It’s important to have a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer review the specific facts of the accident.
I have been out of work since being seriously injured in a truck accident. How can I afford a truck accident lawyer?
We understand that you and your family are going through a difficult time as a result of your injuries and inability to work after your accident. You certainly do not need more bills right now. If your case is the type that we handle, our truck accident lawyers at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC will handle your case on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement allows an accident victim to have legal representation without having to pay any legal fees or out-of-pocket costs. Our truck accident attorneys only get paid if we are successful in obtaining an insurance settlement or jury verdict for you. We receive a portion of the settlement or verdict as the legal fee for our services.
When a person is killed as a result of a truck driver’s carelessness or negligence in a truck accident, the victim’s family may be entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties. Indiana law specifies the types of damages that may be sought and who is entitled to recover compensation in wrongful death actions. The compensation can help a family cover the medical bills, fill the gap in the family’s income and pay for counseling to cope with the loss. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC can evaluate the particulars of the accident, discuss your legal options and help you determine whether pursuing a wrongful death claim is the right thing to do.
We prepare each accident case thoroughly as if it is going to trial. But our experienced attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC are skilled negotiators and settle most Indiana truck accident cases before trial. A just settlement allows the client to receive the money they need to pay medical bills and other expenses more quickly and avoids the uncertainty of a jury trial. We negotiate aggressively on behalf of our clients and communicate any settlement offers we receive. If the insurance company’s refuses to agree to a fair settlement, then our attorneys are battle-tested courtroom lawyers and are ready to fight for you in court.