Can you sue a trucking company after an accident?
January 23, 2023 / Truck Accidents
In the days and weeks after a truck accident – as medical bills mount and wages dwindle – you may be wondering, “Can you sue a trucking company after an accident?” The answer, in many cases, is yes, you can. Of course, every situation depends on the facts at hand, but if your attorney can prove that a trucking company was negligent in its vehicle maintenance, driver training, or route scheduling, the company can be held liable for your injuries and the costs associated with that harm.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 996,894 for-hire carriers, 813,440 private truck carriers, and 83,235 other interstate motor carriers in the United States in 2021. The U.S. transportation system moves about 50 million tons of freight every day, worth more than $53 billion. U.S. trucking companies employ 3.5 million truck drivers. A total of 4,014 people died in large truck crashes in 2020, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Roughly 68% of those killed were occupants of other cars.
If you or a loved one has been injured or they were killed in a crash with a truck, you may be entitled to financial compensation. A skilled and experienced truck accident lawyer can aggressively represent you and get the justice you deserve.
Why Choose Stephenson Rife to Represent You?
Stephenson Rife knows how to win high-dollar truck accident claims. Some of the firm’s most successful cases include winning a $48 million settlement against a large corporation in a fatal truck crash in New Mexico and a $14 million settlement against a national trucking company in Illinois.
Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of legal experience and has won many large personal injury claims, totaling millions of dollars. Recently named a Super Lawyer in Indiana, Mike Stephenson is one of the most experienced trial lawyers in the state. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials and has handled litigation in 18 states around the country. State and local polls by peers have listed Mike as one of Indiana’s top lawyers year after year. The legal team at Stephenson Rife also includes Attorney Brady Rife, who takes case preparation seriously and prepares each case as though it’s going to trial. Not surprisingly, we have many satisfied clients.
Are truck drivers responsible for damages?
If truck drivers cause accidents because they are speeding, texting while driving, make illegal lane changes, are fatigued, or are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then truck drivers can be held responsible for damages. Typically, it is their insurance companies that pay out after accidents.
Loaded 18-wheelers require 20-40% more distance than cars do to stop, and the distance is even greater on slippery and wet roads or with poorly maintained brakes. Drivers of tractor-trailers are allowed by federal hours-of-service regulations to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch, but research shows that many drivers are in violation of these rules and work longer than permitted. That’s why driver fatigue is a common cause of crashes. If you are traveling on the road and see a truck swerving carelessly or engaging in other unsafe driving practices, be sure to report the vehicle to authorities to prevent a potential tragedy.
Types of Damages
If you win a truck accident case, you could receive both economic and non-economic damages. These include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future healthcare and rehabilitation costs
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- PTSD and emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
You Indiana truck accident attorney can estimate what your crash may be worth.
When are trucking companies liable?
An accident victim can sue a trucking company if the company cut corners on truck maintenance, failed to provide the truck driver with adequate training, forced the driver to stay behind the wheel longer than the limited hours allowed by law, or committed other negligent acts or omissions that led to unsafe driving conditions. Trucking companies have “deep pockets,” and they can often pay larger settlements and jury awards. However, they also have teams of lawyers whose job it is to defeat your claim. You need a tough and aggressive attorney on your side who is willing to fight hard to get the compensation you deserve.
There are also other parties that you could potentially sue, depending on the unique facts in your case. These include:
- Municipal/Government Agency
- Truck Manufacturer.
If the crash was caused by missing guardrails, spilled gravel, multiple potholes, poorly lit roadways, or other hazards in the roadway itself, you might be able to sue the municipality or government agency charged with maintaining the interstate or road.
If there is a design or manufacturing flaw in the truck itself that led to the crash (defective steering, faulty brakes, poor acceleration, etc.), you could sue the truck manufacturer. With an eye toward profits, manufacturers have been known to avoid recalls and cover up defects that could give rise to unsafe conditions.
Your truck accident claim could have one or several named defendants, depending on the severity of your injuries and the facts in the case. An experienced truck accident lawyer can advise you on who to sue and how many defendants should be named.
Contact Stephenson Rife Today
The tough and aggressive truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife will go toe-to-toe with trucking companies and insurance representatives to get the maximum payout possible in every client’s case. We have decades of experience in winning truck crash cases. You are not alone and don’t have to get stuck with huge medical bills and lost wages. We can help. We understand the state and federal laws that are often violated in these cases, and we can build a powerful legal claim on your behalf. Our firm also has the resources necessary to hire expert witnesses, if needed. To find out more about what your case may be worth, call us for a free initial consultation at (317) 680-2350.
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 ]