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.
Our Indiana Dump Truck Accident Lawyer is Here to Help
Getting compensation after a dump truck accident is complicated; let us fight for the benefits you deserve.
Dump trucks on the road present unique challenges to other motorists, due to their size, weight, and the increased danger from the material they carry. It’s no wonder that an accident with a dump truck often causes catastrophic injuries that can include head, back, neck, brain and spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputations, broken bones, and even death. Victims of accidents with a dump truck may face long, painful recoveries and need expensive rehabilitation and continuing care, and their injuries may prevent them from working and engaging in normal life activities.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a dump truck accident that was another party’s fault, you need the help of an attorney who is well-experienced with trucking accident cases to fight for the compensation you deserve. Federal and Indiana laws regarding the trucking industry are complicated; there may be multiple parties potentially liable for the accident, and insurance companies will try to pay out as little as possible.
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 dump truck accident. We understand the difficulties faced by survivors of traumatic accidents, and we are fully prepared to take the burden off you by handling all legal hurdles involved with proving liability and winning your case.
We provide a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and determine the best way to move forward. You pay nothing unless and until we win, so call us today at (317) 680-2350 for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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. 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.
Truck Accident Passenger Injury. “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 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.
Truck Accident Passenger Injury. “M.R.” was a very bright, hard-working, and out-going young man who had the unique ability to visualize items and then build them and put them to use. His life was changed forever when a semi failed to stop at an intersection and slammed into M.R.’s pick-up truck. The crash caused closed head injuries to M.R., resulting in his receiving a significant traumatic brain injury and being placed in a coma. A year after the accident, if you looked at M.R., you would have no way of knowing he had ever been in an accident. However, use of state-of-the-art technology, medical and psychological evaluations, and assessment techniques allowed Stephenson to demonstrate that the crushing injury from the impact by the semi had forever changed M.R., and his creative mind no longer functioned. He was extremely frustrated by the fact that he was well aware that he will never be able to again do the jobs and tasks that he was able to perform prior to the accident. With a thorough investigation and the utilization of technology, Stephenson was able to demonstrate the catastrophic effect that the accident had on M.R. The matter settled for an undisclosed sum shortly before trial.
How Our Dump Truck Accident Lawyers in Indianapolis Work for You
We Cover All Aspects Necessary to Winning Your Case
Dump truck accident cases present unique challenges, so it is vital that you have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side.
To win any personal injury or wrongful death case, our Indiana dump truck accident attorneys must be able to prove that the accident was caused by another party’s negligence, carelessness or fault. Dump truck accident cases are more complicated because they involve knowledge of the complex trucking rules and regulations from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They are further complicated because there are usually multiple parties who may have contributed to the accident.
For example, a dump truck driver may work on a contract basis for a trucking company, so the company that owns a permit for the dump truck bears responsibility for accidents involving one of their vehicles, regardless of whether the dump truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor. If a municipality or government agency owns the dump truck, sovereign immunity rules need to be considered if they apply to the accident.
In addition, there may be other liable parties, such as the manufacturer of the dump truck or its parts, if there was an equipment failure, or the company that was responsible for road repair and cleaning up afterwards, if this was not done correctly. All of these parties may have insurance, and they should all be named in a lawsuit.
Our dump truck accident attorneys can help by:
- Meeting with you, listening to your version of what happened, and estimating what your case is worth and what kind of settlement we should be fighting for.
- Thoroughly investigating your case by examining the crash scene, examining truck maintenance and employer training records, and obtaining driver cell phone records. Many dump trucks have overloading and brake safety systems and truck black box data that can reveal what really happened in a crash.
- Gathering evidence by interviewing eyewitnesses and first responders; viewing photos and videos from traffic cameras; taking pictures of skid and tire marks; examining police, ambulance, doctor, and hospital records, and the truck’s black box information; and checking past driver citations for violations.
- Locating all insurance companies and negotiating with them for a fair settlement. 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.
- Hiring experts to testify on your behalf as to who was at fault. Experts may include engineers who can reconstruct the accident and truck mechanics to inspect the dump truck and determine whether maintenance issues or defective parts caused the crash. 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.
- Building your case and taking it to trial if an agreement with insurance cannot be reached.
The sooner you contact our Indianapolis dump truck accident lawyers, the better, as it is important to start investigating your commercial vehicle accident while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found.
In addition, Indiana has a statute of limitations, a deadline for filing a case. According to Indiana Code IC 34-11-2-4(3), you must file a claim for personal injury or wrongful death within two years from the date of the accident or the courts will not hear your case.
How Our Attorneys Win a Dump Truck Accident Lawsuit
Our Dump Truck Accident Lawyer Knows the Unique Dangers Dump Trucks Present
Dump trucks are heavy-duty vehicles that often work on construction sites, loading up and carrying debris. They weigh as much as 30,000 pounds and haul loose materials such as sand, gravel, crushed stone, grain, and garbage. Drivers must be well-trained, carefully follow rules of the road, have a commercial drivers’ license, and be properly supervised. Due to their massive size and weight, dump trucks can cause serious injuries and extensive damage in collisions with other vehicles.
Dump trucks and drivers are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 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 operates a dump truck while impaired, fatigued, or distracted, risk increases for an accident.
In addition, the materials that dump trucks transport may also contribute to causing an accident and the severity of resulting injuries. Dump truck loads often have unsecured contents which can make the truck become unbalanced and susceptible to tipping or rolling over, or debris can spill out of the truck and become hazardous. Since dump trucks often operate in construction zones, which are dangerous areas full of heavy machinery, they can injure pedestrians and other construction workers on the site.
Our dump truck accident lawyers understand these dangers and know how to investigate accordingly.
Our dump truck accident attorneys must prove that your injuries were directly caused by the negligent actions of another party.
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 dump truck accident cases, multiple parties may be held responsible. Depending on the circumstances, liable parties may include:
- The dump truck driver, if the driver was fatigued, inebriated, careless, or speeding
- The manufacturer of the truck or its parts, if these were defective and failed
- The trucking company the driver works for
- The loader of the contents
- The owner of the truck
- Third-party contractors who might have caused the accident
- A municipality or road repair company responsible for road repairs
- A government entity or municipality, if they owned or hired the truck.
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 attorneys must show the existence of the following elements in a dump truck accident case:
- 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 an accident and your injuries.
- Damages – You suffered damages as a result.
Our dump truck accident lawyers will look to hold trucking companies and owners of dump trucks accountable for failures to:
- Inspect and maintain the trucks properly
- Properly hire, train and supervise drivers, monitor their safety performance, and do drug and background checks
- Maintain and check dump truck driver log books to ensure compliance with laws
- Enforce required driving hours for drivers.
Damage Awards Our Indianapolis Dump Truck Accident Lawyer May Win for You
The average settlement in a truck accident includes an award for your compensatory damages.
In Indiana, compensatory damages are awarded to cover losses and costs for both your economic or financial losses and your non-monetary damages that do not have a specific dollar value but 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
- 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.
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. It’s important to contact our commercial vehicle attorneys 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 Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer in Indiana May Win for You
The average settlement in an Indiana truck accident includes an award for your compensatory damages.
Whether your injuries were caused by negligence from a delivery truck accident, dump truck accident, or any other big rig vehicle accident, Indiana allows victims to recover an award for compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages are to cover losses and costs for both your economic damages for specific monetary 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 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
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.
Amounts of Damage Awards We May Recover For You After a Dump Truck Accident
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 dump truck accident lawyers know from experience how much compensation you should receive based on the circumstances of the accident and the other factors involved.
Dump Truck Accident Attorneys Answer Your Questions
After an accident with a dump truck, it’s natural to have questions and concerns. The following are some answers to questions our attorneys are frequently asked:
Insurance adjusters are not on your side, so the less you say to them, the better. Tell the insurance companies to speak to your attorney, and let us handle questions and negotiations.
While dump truck 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 and try to get you to make a recorded statement admitting that you were at fault, or they may make a lowball offer to settle your claim quickly. Admitting to fault makes it very difficult to prove other parties’ negligence, and if you accept their offer, it may keep you from being able to receive the full settlement you are entitled to or getting anything more should your injuries worsen.
There are many causes of dump truck accidents, and the cause needs to be identified in order to be able to prove who was negligent and at fault.
Dump trucks when loaded may weigh more than 30,000 pounds and therefore need much longer distances to slow down and stop than passenger cars. They have a higher center of gravity and are at risk of tipping over when the bed is raised. They have a large blind spot which makes it difficult to see smaller vehicles or pedestrians. Because of these difficulties, if drivers speed, don’t stay alert and avoid distractions, or have not been properly trained, they may make mistakes that lead to accidents. Employers must train mechanics properly, perform regular safety inspections, and maintain their dump trucks in safe operating conditions to avoid equipment failure.
Our attorneys will consider these factors and look for causes of accident that include:
- Drivers who are fatigued, impaired, distracted, inexperienced, poorly trained, or speed and violated the rules of the road
- Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks or unbalanced trucks
- Poorly maintained trucks
- Defective truck equipment or parts that fail.
When a truck accident results in a death, our attorneys may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is similar to a personal injury case where the personal representative of the deceased person seeks compensation since the deceased can no longer do so.
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. Claims must be filed within two (2) years of the death, and the damages include reasonable medical, hospital, funeral and burial expenses, and lost earnings of such deceased person.
After making payments for the decedent’s medical and burial costs, the remainder of the financial damages awarded are given to the widow or widower and to the dependent children or dependent next of kin. The money is distributed in the same manner as any personal property that is laid out in the decedent’s will.
In most dump truck accident cases, large commercial trucking companies and their insurance companies have a team of powerful injury lawyers, investigators, and insurance adjusters working to minimize your settlement. This is very difficult for an individual to go up against without the help of an attorney familiar with the laws and complications that a big truck lawsuit involves.
Our Stephenson Rife dump truck accident attorneys work with investigators and experts in accident reconstruction to determine how your trucking accident occurred and who may have been at fault. We know the courts, the system, and how insurers operate and are fully prepared to find all potentially liable parties and hold them responsible for the optimum settlement you deserve. We will aggressively negotiate with insurers and take your case to trial if necessary.
Call Our Dump Truck Accident Attorneys in Indiana to Get Justice For Your Claim
Dump truck accidents, along with semi-truck and big rig truck accidents, require extensive investigation and experience, so you should reach out to our commercial trucking accident lawyers as soon as possible after your accident with a dump truck.
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.
Don’t delay. Find out what we can do for you by calling us today at (317) 680-2350 for your free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no fees to you unless and until we win your case.