Truck Accident Case
We took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Because of Stephenson’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.
Winning Indiana Truck Accident Cases
Getting compensation after a truck accident is tremendously complicated and difficult – get the help you need to succeed.
Because a truck is much larger and heavier than other vehicles, a crash may result in catastrophic injuries that can include head, back, neck, brain and spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputations, broken bones, and even death.
Survivors of accidents may face long, painful recoveries and need expensive rehabilitation and continuing care, at a time they are unable to work. The number of parties potentially liable for the accident is significant and may include large corporations and multiple insurance companies well-experienced in defending claims and lawsuits brought against them.
Depend on our knowledge and experience
The Indiana truck accident attorneys at Stephenson Rife, LLP, know how to deal with the complex laws and multiple parties and insurers involved with a truck accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a truck accident that was another party’s fault, you need the help of a truck accident attorney who is well-experienced with trucking accident cases to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our Indiana accident lawyers understand the difficulties you and your family face, and we are deeply committed and fully prepared to take the burden off you by handling all legal hurdles involved with proving liability and winning your case, so you can concentrate on your recovery.
A big firm without the baggage
High hourly rates are common at large law firms, but not at ours. We are able to provide cost-effective legal services. We don’t have to pay rent in a downtown office building. We don’t have a bureaucracy made up of layers of partners and associates.
We keep things simple. We take your truck accident case, put a team of experienced lawyers on it and take care of it. No excess. No fluff. Just results.
Call our Indiana semi-truck accident lawyers now at 317-680-2350 .
Why Our Truck Accident Attorneys Win
Our truck accident lawyers have won major settlements over the years. Here are some examples.
We Won $48.5 Million in a Truck Accident Case
Our persistence, diligence and experience resulted in a large settlement.In this case, we took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Because of Stephenson’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.
When a Passenger Was Injured in a Truck Accident
In this case, our semi-truck accident lawyers won a verdict of $2 million. D.W. was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. She received broken arms and legs and internal injuries. In preparing the case, Attorney Mike Stephenson found that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries.
Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case. The verdict was twice that amount.
Trucking Companies Know We Won’t Back Down
Only 7 months after Stephenson Rife are hired, trucking company pays policy limits of $11,000,000 to clients after semi runs red light. Due to our experience in handling trucking accident cases, these companies know we aren’t afraid to take them on.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Work for You
There are many aspects to winning your case.
In order to win any personal injury or wrongful death case after a truck accident, your attorney must be able to prove that the accident was caused by another party’s negligence, carelessness or fault.
Truck accident cases are more complicated, because they involve knowledge of the complex trucking rules and regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They are further complicated because there are usually multiple parties involved. For example, drivers often work on a contract basis for a trucking company, so the driver and also the company they are driving for may be liable for the accident. In addition, there may be other liable parties, such as the manufacturer of the truck or its parts, if there was an equipment failure, or the company that loaded the cargo, if this was not done correctly. All these parties may have insurance, and they should all be named in a lawsuit.
It’s important to contact our attorneys as soon as possible while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found. In addition, there is a statute of limitations – a time limit for filing. According to Indiana Code (IC) 34-11-2-4(3), you must file a claim within two years from the date of the accident or the courts will not hear your case.
Our Indiana trucking accident lawyers handle all details of your case. We will…
- Meet with you, listen to your version of what happened, and estimate what your case is worth and what kind of settlement we should be fighting for so we can argue your case more effectively.
- Thoroughly investigate your case by examining the crash scene, interviewing eyewitnesses and first responders, examining truck maintenance and employer training records, truck black box (or “event data recorder”) data which can show how the truck was being operated at the time of the wreck, and driver cell phone records.
- Gather evidence such as photos and videos from traffic cameras; pictures of skid and tire marks; police, ambulance, doctor, and hospital records; the truck’s black box information; past driver citations for violations such as speeding and safety violations; and the truck driver’s cellphone records.
- Hire experts to reconstruct the accident and testify on your behalf as to who was at fault. Additional experts may be used to testify as to the extent of your injuries, the costs and modifications that are necessary, the type of life-care you may need in the future, and the physical and emotional effects on you and your family.
- Locate all insurance companies and negotiate with them for a fair settlement. While trucking companies are required to carry substantial insurance, insurance companies are out for their own profit and will attempt to get you to settle your case quickly for less than it is worth. Our lawyers know their tactics and how to combat them. Insurance companies are more likely to take your case seriously if they know you have an attorney on your side willing to take your case to court.
- Build your case and prepare it for trial. If an agreement with insurance cannot be reached, we will take your case to court if necessary. We will be there at every stage of the legal process, from filing pretrial motions, to discovery, to presenting evidence and making closing arguments, to filing an appeal.
In-Depth: Indiana Truck Accident Lawsuits
Truck Wreck Claims are Complex. Contact Our Lawyers for Help.
Our Indiana Truck Accident Lawyer Can File a Lawsuit For Wrongful Death
A wrongful death lawsuit can bring justice and prevent the negligent party from causing similar tragic deaths in the future.
Fatalities are not uncommon in trucking accidents. According to the Department of Transportation, in 2017, 4,657 fatal accidents in the U.S. involved large trucks.
When a truck accident results in a death, our attorneys may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The Indiana Adult Wrongful Death Act (AWDA), Indiana Code 34-23-1-2 provides that when a death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the deceased person’s personal representative may maintain an action against the negligent party.
A wrongful death claim can be looked at as a personal injury case where the personal representative of the deceased person seeks compensation since the deceased can no longer do so. It is a civil lawsuit asking for financial restitution, separate from a criminal case, in which charges are filed by the federal, state, or local prosecutor to punish a wrongdoer.
Truck Drivers Can Also Be Victims of Negligence
If you are a truck driver, you may also have a case.
Semi-truck drivers may sometimes cause accidents, but they may also be the victims of others’ negligence. Drivers have to deal with road hazards, other distracted drivers, and drivers who speed and violate the rules of the road. They also have to face the danger of fatigue after driving for long hours, pressures from their employers to make more deliveries or work longer hours, mechanical problems due to improper maintenance or defective parts, and shifting from improperly loaded cargo.
If you are a truck driver injured in an accident that was not your fault, our Stephenson Rife truck accident attorneys can investigate the causes of your accident, identify the negligent parties, and fight for the compensation you deserve as well. Don’t hesitate to call us to fight for your rights.
Since big rig truck accidents often cause very serious injuries, our attorneys must identify every party who was potentially responsible to get you optimum compensation that will cover your current and future damages.
Causes of Truck Accidents and How Our Indiana Trucking Accident Attorneys Deal With Them
The following are common causes of truck accidents and how we handle them:
Semi Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers are governed by federal trucking laws, known as Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, that regulate the amount of time a driver can be on the road without stopping, hours they are allowed to drive in a week, and the time they must be off between shifts. However, some trucking companies make additional demands on their drivers or push them to falsify records.
Our trucking accident attorneys in Indiana will examine all trucking records and driving logs to determine whether driver fatigue was a cause of the accident.
Negligent Maintenance: It is the truck company’s legal responsibility to properly maintain and repair its trucks, which requires daily inspections and regular maintenance, and drivers must also conduct daily vehicle checks. If a company is negligent in inspecting and maintaining the truck, equipment failures such as faulty brakes or couplings can lead to accidents. We would look for causes such as . . .
- Tires that were retreaded or unevenly worn
- Parts such as brakes, axles, and hitches that were not checked and maintained
- Maintenance logs that were not complete, updated, and in accordance with both state and federal statutes.
Negligent hiring, training, and retention: Trucking companies must check a potential hire’s safety history and criminal record and make sure all drivers are properly trained and have experience operating a semi-truck or commercial vehicle. We would examine all hiring and training records to make sure all federal and state provisions were adhered to.
Negligence by a broker: Brokers are middlemen who bring together truckers and the companies who want to ship goods. Brokers utilize computer tracking software and data to monitor the movement of goods and the trucks. They have a duty to inspect the motor carrier/truck, the safety history of the truck, and drivers they have contracted.
Our attorneys would inspect their records to determine whether the broker monitored and reviewed trip records or notes and approved receipts and bill of lading changes, and whether the broker maintained required control of the truck, cargo, and the driver.
Negligence by a cargo company: Improper load securement that shifted and caused the truck to go out of control could be the responsibility of the trucking company or the cargo company. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces strict cargo securement laws that trucking companies must adhere to, and our attorneys would investigate whether this was the case.
Commercial and Big-Rig Truck Accidents Cause Major Damage
Our Semi-truck Accident Lawyer Knows the Dangers Semi-trucks Present
Semi-trucks are combination vehicles made up of a powered truck, which is the tractor unit, and one or more semi-trailers. A semi-trailer truck is the combination of a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers that attach to the tractor with a fifth-wheel coupling as known as a hitch. Much of a semi-truck’s weight is borne by the tractor, and the design is distinctly different from that of a rigid truck. The tractor unit typically has two or three axles and may have as many as five, including lift axles. Semi-trucks can also run without hauling a semi-trailer, and many include a sleeping compartment for long-distance hauls.
Because they are built to handle huge loads such as heavy construction machinery, semi-trucks are particularly difficult to drive and maneuver, and they can cause major damage in a crash. As a result, both trucks and drivers are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA address issues that include driver licensing, insurance coverage, drug and alcohol use, vehicle maintenance, maximum load restrictions, hours drivers can work and rest requirements. When these regulations are not followed, or a driver drives while impaired, fatigued, or distracted, risk increases for an accident.
Our 18-wheeler truck accident lawyers know the ramifications of a commercial vehicle accident with an 18-wheeler.
The term “18-wheeler” refers to the combination of a semi-truck, as defined above, and a semi-trailer. When connected, they form a tractor-trailer unit, called an 18-wheeler based on the total number of wheels for the entire tractor-trailer unit. Because these trucks are used for large commercial jobs, there are usually multiple parties and corporate entities who may be at fault when an 18-wheeler crashes.
Our semi-truck accident lawyers know how to investigate and what to look for if your truck accident involves an 18-wheeler or other semi-truck, as well as dump truck accidents and delivery truck accidents and accidents with other commercial vehicles.
Our Indiana Trucking Accident Lawyer Must Prove Negligence
Our trucking accident attorneys must prove that your injuries were directly caused by the negligent actions of the other party or parties involved.
To win your truck accident case, our truck accident attorneys would have to prove that another party (the defendant in the case) was at fault and negligent and therefore should be held liable for causing the accident. In trucking accident cases, multiple parties may be held responsible. For example, truckers may work directly for the company they are delivering for, or they may be independent contractors, simply hauling the goods for the company that owns the cargo. Drivers may have driven while fatigued; cargo may have been loaded incorrectly; parts of the truck may have failed; or problems with road maintenance may have contributed to the accident. As a result, depending on the circumstances, liable parties may include:
- The truck driver
- The manufacturer of the truck or its parts
- The trucking company the driver works for
- The shipper and/or loader of cargo
- Owner of the truck
- Third-party contractors
- A municipality or road repair company responsible for road repairs.
Any or all of these parties may be at fault for contributing to the accident, and they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement award.
To prove fault legally, our truck accident attorneys must show the existence of the following elements:
- Duty — The defendant owed you a duty of care not to cause harm.
- Breach — The defendant breached that duty by acting or failing to act.
- Cause – This action or failure to act caused a crash and your injuries.
- Damages — You suffered damages as a result.
We would do this by thoroughly investigating the case and collecting evidence, finding all liable parties, and hiring experts to provide testimony as to fault. By bringing our truck accident attorneys into your case quickly, vital records such as the driver’s and dispatcher’s logs, inspection and maintenance records, the truck’s “black box” and other evidence can be preserved and utilized to prove negligence.
Damage Awards Our Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer in Indiana May Win for You
The average settlement in a truck accident includes an award for your compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages are to cover losses and costs for both your economic or financial losses and your non-monetary damages that negatively impact your life. These may include:
- Medical and rehabilitative bills and equipment
- Lost wages and future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in certain circumstances to punish negligent parties for willful negligence or especially egregious behavior and to act as a deterrent for similar misconduct in the future.
Indiana trucking lawyers deal with insurance companies
While trucking companies are required by law to carry substantial insurance, insurance companies are interested in their bottom line and want to pay as little as possible. They may contact you soon after the accident and try to get you say something that shows you were at fault or make a lowball offer to settle your claim quickly. If you accept their offer, it may keep you from being able to receive what you are entitled to or getting anything more should your injuries worsen. It’s best not to speak to insurance companies, but to allow our attorneys to handle negotiations and keep you from making costly mistakes. Once they know that there is an attorney at your side who is willing to go to trial, insurance company adjusters and lawyers are likely take your case more seriously and come up with a legitimate offer for compensation.
Amounts of damage awards our tractor trailer lawyer may recover for you
The amounts of damages you may be awarded vary greatly, depending on the circumstances of the case. Factors which may affect a settlement amount include:
- Costs of your losses
- Extent and permanence of your injuries and whether you will need continuing care
- Lost earnings and whether you will be able to work in the future
- Your age, earning potential, and family situation
- Whether death was involved
- How much insurance coverage is available
- The availability of evidence and witnesses
- The individual jurisdiction, judge, and jury if there is a trial
- The skill and negotiating power of your attorney.
Settlements vary greatly, according to circumstances and factors of the case. Truck accidents often result in severe injuries, and more severe injuries bring higher settlement amounts. In general, if your injuries involve permanent damage and require long-term care, or if a death is involved, it may result in a higher settlement. If there are multiple parties at fault and they all have insurance and/or assets, the settlement may be higher.
Our Stephenson Rife truck accident lawyers know from experience how much compensation you should receive based on the circumstances of the accident and the other factors involved.
Our Indiana truck wreck lawyers can evaluate your case, give you an idea of what to expect, answer your questions, and be there for you throughout the entire case process. Contact us about your truck accident case today at 317-680-2350 .
Call Our Tractor-trailer Accident Lawyer in Indiana to Get Justice For Your Claim
Truck accidents require extensive investigation and experience, and the longer you wait the more chances there are of evidence becoming stale. After seeking medical attention and informing your insurance company of the accident, you should contact our truck accident lawyers as soon as possible.
At Stephenson Rife, we have the experience to pursue positive results, no matter what legal challenge your case involves. We provide caring, confident and cost-effective service you can count on, which is why we are the law firm that other law firms consult.
Find out what we can do for you by calling us today at 317-680-2350 for your free consultation. Our Indiana truck accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, so there are no fees to you unless and until we win your case.
Our accident clients are like family and we care about their needs and their well-being.
Our exceptional team has a proven winning record and is always prepared for every accident case.
Our top-notch Indiana truck accident attorneys are tough. We focus on getting justice.