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.

Experienced Indianapolis Jackknife Truck Accident Attorney

Witnessing a jackknife truck accident is undeniably frightening. Traffic flow goes from smooth to hazardous in seconds, often resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries. Similarly, incidents involving cement trucks can be equally devastating, requiring the expertise of a specialized cement truck accident lawyer. An Indianapolis jackknife truck accident attorney can help hold truck owners accountable for the damages and injuries caused by the driver’s negligence.

Wheels squeal and the semi-trailer whips around, pulling the cab in an unnatural direction and sometimes into oncoming traffic. Despite efforts, the truck driver completely loses control of the enormous vehicle, which can crash into other cars, SUVs, and motorcycles, spelling danger and even death for other motorists. Jackknifing commercial trucks can cause multi-car pileups on the interstate.

truck crash survey by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that jackknife accidents are the cause of nearly 40% of all fatal truck accidents and more than half of all injury crashes. In 2020, there were more than 4,842 fatal jackknife crashes in America. If you or a loved one has been affected by one of these tragic incidents, it’s crucial to consult a knowledgeable and experienced fatal truck accident lawyer to help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve.

Several things can cause a vehicle to crash – inadequate driver training, vehicle design and manufacturing, weather, driver fatigue, drinking alcohol, road conditions, and speeding are all potential contributing factors in crashes, according to FMCSA. Also, a truck may have been loaded incorrectly, causing cargo to shift during transit, resulting in a jackknife truck accident.

You may be entitled to financial damages if you or a loved one has been injured by a jackknife truck accident in Indianapolis—contact Stephenson Rife, Indianapolis jackknife truck accident attorney, today. Our team of experienced jackknife truck accident lawyers has the expertise, experience, and resources to navigate the complexities of jackknife truck accidents. Call us at 317-680-250 to schedule a free consultation.

Contact Stephenson Rife at 317-680-250 to book a free phone, video, or in-person consultation.

Why Choose Stephenson Rife Indianapolis Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyers?

If you’ve experienced a jackknife truck accident, you might be burdened with medical bills and various expenses resulting from the accident. Working with Stephenson Rife Indianapolis jackknife truck accident lawyers gives you the best chance of getting compensation for the injury and losses you’ve endured.

Here are some reasons to choose Stephenson Rife:

  • Expertise and Specialization: Our jackknife accident lawyers understand the laws and regulations governing these accidents and the complexities of determining liability. This specialized knowledge gives us a distinct advantage when building a strong case.
  • Resources and Network: We have access to extensive resources and a wide network of professionals necessary for building a strong case. We collaborate with accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and other specialists to gather evidence, establish liability, and accurately assess the extent of damages and injuries.
  • Client-Centered Approach: We prioritize open and transparent communication, ensuring our clients are informed about their case’s progress and clearly understand their legal options. Our compassionate jackknife truck accident lawyers will listen to your concerns and provide empathetic support while vigorously advocating for your rights. We are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for each client we represent.
  • Track Record of Success: Our jackknife truck accident lawyers have a successful track record. Over the years, we have secured substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients, holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. This history of favorable outcomes demonstrates our ability to navigate the legal system effectively and achieve positive results. When you choose Stephenson Rife Indianapolis jackknife truck accident lawyers, you can have confidence in their proven ability to fight for your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

You need an experienced Stephenson Rife Indianapolis jackknife truck accident lawyer to handle your jackknife truck accident case. Contact Stephenson Rife at 317-680-250 to schedule a free phone, video meeting, or in-person consultation.

What Is a Jackknife Truck Accident?

A jackknife truck accident occurs when the tractor and trailer of a truck, functioning as distinct units, become misaligned. This misalignment is characterized by the tractor pointing in one direction while the trailer kicks outward and points in another. Such accidents typically arise due to excessive speed, improper braking, or adverse weather conditions compromising the driver’s control over the vehicle. Once a tractor-trailer starts to jackknife, the driver faces difficulties maintaining control, often leading to accidents with other vehicles or objects.

What Causes Jackknife Truck Accidents?

Several factors can contribute to jackknife truck accidents – some are caused by human error, while others result from truck defects or shoddy maintenance. Following are some common conditions that lead to truck accidents:

  • Speeding due to tight delivery deadlines
  • Truck braking problems
  • Ice, snow, and rain on the roadway
  • Driver unfamiliarity with the roadway
  • Cargo shift in trailer
  • Driver use of alcohol or drugs
  • Inadequate driver training by the trucking company
  • Truck manufacturing defects
  • Road debris, potholes, and impediments
  • Poor vehicle maintenance by the trucking company
  • Driver fatigue or distraction.

What If You’re in a Jackknife Truck Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a jackknife truck accident, ensure your safety and follow these steps:

  • Call the Emergency Services: Dial the emergency hotline to report the accident. Inform the operator of the location, injuries, and any immediate dangers, such as leaking fuel or blocked traffic.
  • Get Medical Attention: Even if your injuries are minor, it is important to get medical attention immediately. Some injuries may not manifest immediately; a medical professional can thoroughly assess your condition and provide necessary treatment. Additionally, medical records will be valuable for documenting and linking your injuries to the accident.
  • Gather Information: Obtain essential information from the scene of the accident. This includes the truck driver’s name, contact information, and insurance details. Additionally, collect contact information from any witnesses present. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, the position of the vehicles, and any visible damages.
  • Do Not Admit Fault: Avoid making statements or admitting fault at the accident scene. Be careful about discussing the accident with the truck driver, their representatives, or insurance adjusters. Stick to providing factual information to the authorities and cooperating with their investigation.
  • Contact a Jackknife Truck Accident Lawyer: Contact an experienced jackknife truck accident lawyer immediately. They can provide invaluable guidance, evaluate your case, and help protect your rights.

Common Injuries in Indiana Truck Accidents

Large truck crashes can cause severe injuries and even death. Common injuries in these accidents can include:

  • Neck and spinal cord injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Organ damage
  • Cuts, lacerations, and road rash
  • Puncture wounds
  • Paralysis
  • Wrongful death.

Stephenson Rife Gets Results

The jackknife truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife have won large settlements for injured clients who have suffered after being hit by a truck. Some of our most notable settlements include:

  • $48.5 million in a case that involved 60 depositions in 5 different states
  • $6.5 million for a victim with brain injury in a garbage truck accident
  • $3.97 million for a family of a man killed in a tractor-trailer crash
  • $2 million in a case where a passenger in a vehicle was injured when struck by a delivery truck
  • $250,000 in a case where a young woman sustained severe injuries when a semi-truck pulled out in front of her vehicle.

The highly skilled and experienced Indianapolis truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife know how to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a powerful case on our client’s behalf.

Damages You May Be Entitled To

If you’ve been injured in a jackknife truck accident in Indianapolis, you may be entitled to various compensation, including economic and non-economic damages. Some of these include:

  • Lost wages and future lost earnings
  • Medical and rehabilitative costs (current and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

If the disregard for your safety was particularly egregious, a court could also award punitive damages in addition to the other damages. Seeking the expertise of a rollover truck accident attorney can be essential in these situations. This financial compensation is meant to punish the trucking company, driver, or truck manufacturer for their conduct and to prevent future similar jackknife accidents from being caused by other truckers and companies.

How Do You Prove Negligence in a Jackknife Truck Accident?

There are certain elements that a plaintiff must prove to establish “negligence” in a jackknife truck accident lawsuit in Indiana. Your attorney must prove the following four elements:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Damages.

In a jackknife truck accident case, “negligence” refers to one party’s careless or reckless behavior that harmed another person. That means the careless person is legally liable for the injuries inflicted on the other party.


The defendant owes the plaintiff a legal “duty of care,” which means, for example, that a trucking company must ensure that its trucks are well maintained and its drivers are adequately trained.


A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty by doing or failing to do something that a reasonably prudent person would have done in a similar situation.


It’s not enough for a driver or trucking company to act negligently; you must show that their negligence caused the jackknife truck accident that resulted in your injury.


Damages mean that a plaintiff suffered costs – medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage – and there’s a way to compensate a plaintiff with money for their injuries and expenses.

Statute of Limitations on Large Truck Accidents in Indiana

Indiana has a statute of limitations (Indiana Code §34-11-2-4) of two years after the date of the jackknife truck accident to file a lawsuit in court. If you miss this deadline, a judge will likely dismiss your case. Time is of the essence, so don’t put things off. Call a jackknife truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis to learn about your legal rights.

Contact Stephenson Rife Today

You may be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one has been injured or they were killed in a truck crash. This is especially true if someone else’s negligence caused the accident. A jackknife truck accident lawyer at Stephenson Rife will fight hard to get the justice you deserve. Call us for a free consultation at 317-680-2350.

Trucking Industry FAQs

So many factors are at play in the trucking industry, and it’s not hard to see why jackknife truck accidents happen in Indiana. Whether you’re talking about a tanker truck accident, a commercial vehicle truck accident, or anything in between, serious injury and death can occur when things go wrong. Everything from the amount of freight to the level of a driver’s training can contribute to both the safety and dangers of trucking.

How Much Training is a Truck Driver Required to Undergo?

Commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements in Indiana are stricter than any other type of driver’s license and are based on stringent FMCSA regulations. Driving a commercial vehicle requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than driving a non-commercial vehicle, and potential truck drivers must undergo dozens of hours of classroom and on-the-road training before applying for a license, according to FMCSA. Trucker training must take place at an approved driver training school.

How Much Does an 18-Wheeler Weigh?

A loaded semi-tractor trailer weighs an average of 80,000 pounds. Given that a mid-size car weighs about 3,350 pounds and a motorcycle weighs roughly 700 pounds, you can see why crashes with large trucks frequently result in serious injury or death for passengers in the smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles and are taller, with greater ground clearance, so cars often wedge under trucks in crashes.

How Many Truck Accidents Are There in Indiana?

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) reports 219,112 roadway crashes in the state in 2017, with 911 fatalities, according to the Indianapolis Star. Commercial vehicles were involved in 16,910 accidents, resulting in 152 fatalities and 3,297 injuries.

How Much Freight Do Truckers Haul Each Year?

Trucking is a $792 billion industry that hauls 72.5% of all freight in America and employs 6% of all full-time workers in the U.S. Trucking far outweighs railroads regarding the bulk of hauling across America.

What Is the Deadliest Road in Indiana When it Comes to Fatal Crashes?

U.S. 41 — running 300 miles from Chicago to Evansville — is the deadliest road in Indiana. There were more than 100 deaths on this road between 2008 and 2017.

Who Are the Defendants in a Jackknife Truck Accident?

There can be a few or several defendants in a jackknife truck accident. Depending on the cause of a crash, defendants can include the truck driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, shipping company that loaded the trailer, or another driver.

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 ]