Our young client was extracted from her vehicle and taken for immediate surgery. The semi-truck driver testified that the accident was to due to our client’s distraction. We proved this testimony false by reconstructing a 16-camera video surveillance from the scene of the accident.

Big rig trucks are massive, so it is not a surprise that when they are involved in accidents with smaller vehicles, victims are left with life-changing or fatal injuries. Survivors may be left traumatized and facing long, painful recoveries that require expensive rehabilitation and continuing care, and medical bills mount up at a time they are unable to work.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a big rig truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages through insurance or a lawsuit. However, winning a settlement on your own is not easy, and making mistakes can be costly. Indiana laws are complicated, and insurance companies will try to deny claims, get you to settle for as little as possible, or even make it seem that you are to blame for the accident. There are a large number of parties potentially liable for the accident and may include major corporations and multiple insurance companies well-experienced in defending claims and lawsuits brought against them.

Fortunately, there is help available from the big rig truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife, LLP.  At this difficult time, when you are trying to recover from your traumatic accident, we can take the burdens off you by dealing with the complex laws and multiple parties and insurers these cases involve. We understand the difficulties you and your family face, and we are deeply committed and fully prepared to handle all legal hurdles involved with proving liability and winning your case, so you can concentrate on rebuilding your life.

Our Big Rig Accident Lawyers Help You Win

Why Choose Stephenson Rife?

There are many attorneys out there, and it’s important for you to find one you can trust and who has the resources, qualifications, and knowledge of Indiana and federal laws to get the results you need. Here are some reasons why we think you should choose Stephenson Rife to represent you:

  • We are experienced. We have been meeting the needs of people throughout Indiana since 1976. Mike Stephenson has 40 years of experience handling injuries and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies.
  • We get results and win large settlements, such as the $48.5 million we won in a truck accident case. We have a strong record of success in a wide range of personal injury cases. You can read our clients’ testimonials and their cases.
  • We handle all required legal requirements, forms, paperwork, and court proceedings.
  • We deal and negotiate with insurance companies, so you won’t have to.
  • We are recognized for our expertise and are the law firm that other law firms consult.
  • We offer free initial consultations to get you started.
  • We are able to provide cost-effective legal services to keep fees low, and you pay us nothing unless we win and you get your money.

How Our Big Rig Accident Lawyer Works for You

It is especially important to begin investigations quickly after a big rig truck accident, while evidence can be found and preserved. When you have Stephenson Rife on your side, we will get to work for you immediately. We will:

  • Meet with you to hear how the accident happened and who the at-fault parties may be, and to determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit and approximately what the case should be worth.
  • Make sure you get proper medical care and that everything is documented.
  • Thoroughly investigate your case by examining the crash scene, interviewing eyewitnesses and first responders, examining driver cell phone records, truck maintenance and employer hiring and training records, and truck black box data which can show how the truck was being operated at the time of the crash.
  • Gather evidence to build your case such as photos and videos from traffic cameras; pictures of damage to vehicles and skid and tire marks; police, ambulance, doctor, phone, and hospital records; the truck’s black box information; past driver citations for violations such as speeding, safety violations.
  • Hire experts to reconstruct the accident and testify as to fault and life-care experts to testify as to the extent and costs of your injuries, the effects on your earnings, the care you may need in the future, and the physical and emotional effects on you and your family.
  • Handle all correspondence and negotiate with the insurance companies for each defendant for a fair settlement.
  • Build your case and take it to trial and advocate on your behalf if necessary.

Big Rig Truck Accident Lawyer Must Prove Negligence

To win your case, our Indiana big rig truck accident lawyers would have to prove that another party or parties were negligent and at fault for causing the crash and should therefore be held liable for the damages you received.

The trucking industry is governed by state and federal safety regulations, and failure to meet them creates liability. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Title 49, Parts 350-399) govern all vehicles engaged in interstate traffic, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules for driver’s license standards, safety and fitness procedures, financial responsibility for motor carriers, maximum hours truckers can drive, and what inspection, repair and maintenance of vehicles is required. When these regulations are not adhered to, the responsible parties can be found negligent and liable for damages.

Trucking accident cases are especially complicated because there may be multiple parties that can be held liable. For example, truckers may work directly for a large company, or they may be independent contractors.  Drivers may have driven while fatigued or impaired; 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 trucking company
  • The owner of the cargo
  • Third-party contractors
  • Other negligent drivers
  • The manufacturer of the truck or its equipment or parts
  • The mechanic responsible for maintaining the vehicle
  • The municipality or road repair company responsible for maintaining the road.

Any or all of these parties who may be at fault for contributing to the accident should be named as defendants in the case, as they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement award.

To prove fault legally in a personal injury lawsuit, our 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.

Damage Awards Our Big Rig Truck Accident Attorney May Recover

In a successful case, Indiana allows victims to recover an award for compensatory damages that cover both your economic damages for monetary costs and losses and your non-economic damages for losses that may not have a specific dollar value but negatively impact your life. These may include:

  • Medical and rehabilitative and equipment costs
  • Loss of wages and future earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Permanent disability
  • Disfigurement and permanent scarring
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium.

Punitive damages may also be awarded in certain rare circumstances to punish negligent parties for willful negligence or especially egregious behavior, and to act as a deterrent for similar misconduct in the future.

Amounts of damage awards

Damage award amounts you may receive in a successful truck accident case can vary from thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances. Factors that may affect a settlement amount include:

  • Extent and permanence of your injuries and whether you will need continuing care
  • Costs of your losses and your lost earnings and whether you will be able to work in the future
  • Your age, earning potential, and family situation
  • Whether the accident resulted in death
  • The availability of evidence and witnesses to help prove your case
  • The individual jurisdiction, judge, and jury if there is a trial
  • The skill and negotiating power of your attorney.

In general, if your injuries involve permanent damage and require long-term care, if a death is involved, or if there are multiple parties at fault with insurance and/or assets, the settlement may be higher. Our Stephenson Rife truck accident lawyers know from experience how much compensation you should receive and will fight for as high a settlement as possible.

Big Rig Truck Accident Attorneys Answer Questions

Big rig truck accidents are so complicated that it’s natural to have questions and concerns. These are best addressed at your free consultation, but to get started, here are some answers to questions our attorneys are frequently asked:

Should I Talk to the Insurance Companies?

No, the less you say to insurance companies the better. Insurance companies are out for their own profit and will attempt to get you to admit fault or settle your case quickly for less than it is worth. Tell the insurance companies to speak to your attorney, and let Stephenson Rife handle all dealings and negotiations.

Are there time limits to filing a lawsuit?

Yes, Indiana has a deadline called a statute of limitations (Indiana statute §34-11-2-4) that is generally two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit and two years to file a wrongful death claim from the day of the death. If you fail to file on time, the courts are unlikely to hear your case.

What if I did something to contribute to the accident?

You may still collect damages if your fault is not greater than fifty percent (50%) of the total fault involved in the incident, according to Indiana’s modified comparative negligence statute (Indiana Code Title 34, Section 51-2-5, et seq.). However, the damage award will be reduced according to the percentage of fault you bear.

What if a loved one died from the accident?

If the accident results in death, Indiana’s wrongful death statute (IC 34-23-1-2) allows the personal representative of the deceased to file a wrongful death suit for damages for medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses as well as compensation for loss of love and companionship and lost wages and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Do I need to have an attorney?

While it is not necessary to have an attorney to file a lawsuit, it is difficult to do so on your own. Large commercial trucking companies and their insurance companies have a team of powerful injury lawyers, investigators, and insurance adjusters working to minimize your settlement. Having an attorney familiar with the laws and complications that a big rig truck lawsuit involves helps level the playing field.

When you have our Stephenson Rife lawyers working for you, we will always be there to answer your questions and keep you informed throughout the entire legal process.

Call Our Big Rig Trucking Attorneys in Indiana for Help

Big rig truck accidents require extensive investigation and experience, and the longer you wait the more chances there are of evidence evaporating, so contact our commercial trucking 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 for your free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no fees to you unless and until we win your case.

GET HELP NOW (317) 680-2501

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, just to name a few. Mike is a proven advocate and trial attorney. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and has handled litigation in 18 states. [ Attorney Bio ]