Do Semi-Truck Accidents Go to Trial in Indiana?
May 29, 2023 / Truck Accidents
Being in an accident involving a semi-truck can be devastating. But it can also be terrifying. In some cases, these accidents can change the life of the innocent driver forever or end it. For those involved in this type of accident, it is always a good idea to get a team on your side that will fight for your settlement.
Do Semi-Truck Accidents Always Go to Trial?
The short answer is no. These cases do not always go to trial. According to the National Safety Council the number of deaths each year is around 4,965. This number does fluctuate and is up 31% since the year 2011.
Truckers are continually being pushed to drive longer spans, get their shipment to where it is going faster, and many are driving further. This means that more and more semi-truck drivers are inattentive, they are tired, and they are distracted when they are on the road.
The average semi-truck in the United States weighs around 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, and 35,000 when empty. This means that if a semi-truck driver is distracted, if they are incapacitated, or if they are tired, they can potentially have an 80,000-pound killing machine on their hands.
This is not to say that all semi-truck drivers are dangerous, but there are enough dangerous drivers out there that it is important to pay close attention to. The truth is, the vast majority of these cases are going to settle out of court for a few reasons:
- First, it allows the semi-truck company to control the narrative and to keep certain aspects of the accident out of the press.
- Second, it helps the semi-truck company to settle the case quickly and get the other driver their settlement faster.
- Lastly, it does help to make the process faster and helps to protect the good name of the trucking company.
What to Expect If Your Semi-Truck Accident Case Goes to Trial?
If you are involved in a semi-truck accident case that does not settle quietly out of court, there are a few things that you should expect when your case does go to trial. It is very important to, first and foremost, retain a lawyer to help you:
- Build your case.
- Argue on your behalf.
- Get you the best settlement possible.
The first thing to mention is that you are not required to be in the courtroom during the proceedings. In some cases, the only people that need to be present are the attorneys representing both sides. This is to help keep the proceedings concise and prevent them from getting heated.
Another thing to note is that if you are absent, you may only get information on breaks when your lawyer can come out and talk to you. So, in cases where you are in the courtroom, there are some things to remember.
It will always be the goal of the attorneys from the other side to downplay the wrong that the other driver committed and try and make it seem like it is your fault. Though this can be discouraging, your lawyer is on your side, and they are going to fight to prove that the semi-truck driver caused the accident.
Another thing to note is that the judge may require that the details of the accident are gone over thoroughly; this can be difficult for some survivors as they will have to hear about the accident all over again. You may be asked questions about the accident, but you may not.
It is not always guaranteed that the person that was involved is going to have to speak. However, if you are required to get on the stand, your lawyer will go over possible questions with you and will help you to prepare for the event.
Sometimes the settlement is not determined in the courtroom. In some cases, the courtroom is just used to establish guilt and determine if there should be a settlement.
If that is the case, you will likely have to go through arbitration with your lawyer and the lawyer for the trucking company to help determine how much of a settlement you will be entitled to.
How Are Settlements Determined?
Settlements are determined with a few different factors in mind. First, the accident’s severity will be taken into account.
Here are the initial factors that both sides take into account.
- Was your vehicle totaled?
- Were you badly injured?
- Did you have to go to the emergency room?
- Are you going to need continuing care?
- Are you able to go back to work?
- Are you completely disabled?
The next thing that the settlement will cover are things like how much time you have to take off of work to get back to feeling good, and how much you are going to have to pay for things like:
- Follow-up appointments
- Physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Any emotional distress that the accident caused.
This will help your attorney and the other side get a good grasp of what the accident did to you and how it changed your life.
In most cases, the settlement will follow a formula to determine how much the total payout will be. However, if the case goes to court, the overall payout will be more than initially offered out of court.
Your lawyer can advise you if they think you should take a settlement out of court or if it is worth taking the case to court for a larger payout.
What Can a Lawyer Do for You?
A lawyer is going to be a fantastic help if you are unsure about how to proceed, feel that you are not getting a fair settlement in the out-of-court proceedings, or are unable to defend yourself.
A lawyer is going to be able to collect the information and the evidence needed to prove that you are not at fault for the accident. This allows you to recover and focus on getting better instead of trying to get a case together.
Lawyers know the laws pertaining to this type of proceeding and that type of accident, what needs to be provided, and what the scope of the proceedings and settlement are.
They can talk to the insurance company on your behalf, speak with the other side on your behalf, and handle the entire settlement process so that you can focus on getting better and stop worrying about the entire thing.
For those that are dealing with the aftermath of a semi-truck accident, you are going to be tired, you are going to be in pain, and you are likely going to be traumatized. Being able to put your worries in someone else’s hands makes it possible for you to focus on other things and truly start to get better without having to worry about court proceedings.
Why Choose Us?
At Stephenson Rife Law, we will be able to use our years of combined experience to get you a settlement that will allow you to get your life back on track. We will work with you from start to finish and support you through the process.
We want to help you get a settlement that will allow you to pay off the bills you have that are associated with the accident and take time off work to recover.
Contact us online or call (317) 680-2350 to start your free consultation.
FAQs About Semi-Truck Accidents
We will always answer your questions before moving forward, and some of the most common questions people ask us include:
Do all Truck Accident Cases Go to Trial?
Not all go to trial; the majority will be settled out of court to help simplify the process and get the case taken care of easily.
Will I Get a Fair Settlement if I Settle out of Court?
You will often get a fair settlement if you settle out of court. In other cases, or if your case is contested, it is always going to be better to go to court and fight for a better settlement.
Will I Have to Testify?
You may not have to testify, in some cases, you are not going to have to even be in the courtroom during the proceedings.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
No matter what type of case you fight, a lawyer will always be a good idea. Be it an out-of-court settlement or an in-court battle, a lawyer will be fighting for you and will work with you to ensure that you will get the best settlement possible every single time.
These may not be your only questions; our attorneys will discuss your specific concerns in your initial consultation.
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 ]