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.
When a semi-trailer or huge flatbed truck is overloaded or improperly loaded and exceeds weight limits set by federal and state laws, they can pose a serious hazard to other motorists. We’ve all seen the truck weighing stations along Indiana’s interstates, and it is the responsibility of trucking companies and their drivers to stay within the legal weight limits.
There are also “oversize” loads on large trucks transporting massive equipment and building materials that must display signage, safety flags, or other alerts and take special care when on the road. Overloaded trucks can spell disaster in high winds, when speeding, or in rain and snow when visibility and braking ability are diminished.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a collision with an overloaded truck, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This is especially true if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. A skilled and experienced overloaded truck accident lawyer in Indiana can explain your legal rights to you and assess whether you might have a successful claim.
Types of Overloaded Trucks
An overloaded truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis describes common scenarios.
We’ve all seen those mammoth 18-wheelers on the road carrying oversized loads. They are often wide and take up more than one lane. Law frequently requires them to have flags, flashing lights or signage identifying them as “oversize.” These are meant to alert and protect other motorists. There are many types of overloaded trucks hauling large objects and materials. Some of these include:
- Logs and timber
- Modular homes
- Enormous machinery
- Electrical transformers
- Farming equipment
There can also be semi-trailers that are simply loaded with too many consumer goods that are over the weight limits set by state and federal law. These illegally overloaded trucks pose a serious hazard because the cargo can shift unexpectedly, the trailer can jackknife or tip over, or braking distances can be impaired. Other things that can contribute to oversize truck accidents include driving on a steep grade, tire blowouts, or sharp curves on an interstate.
There are many reasons a trucking company might overload a truck. It could be because they are careless, in a hurry to transport as many goods as possible to make deadlines, or their truck scales are defective or poorly maintained. Whatever the reason, their negligence can result in disaster for other unsuspecting motorists on the road.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Freight Management and Operations, federal law controls maximum gross vehicle weights and axle loads on interstates. Federal limits are 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, 20,000 pounds on a single axle, and 34,000 pounds on a tandem axle group. There are also federal standards for length and width on the network of the nation’s interstate roadways.
Stephenson Rife has been enormously successful in winning truck accident cases. We recently recovered $48 million in damages for one of our clients.
When Can I File an Overloaded Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Proving who is responsible for an overloaded truck crash.
If you have suffered injuries in a crash with a flatbed truck carrying timber, a modular home, large machinery, or any other type of oversized load, you can file a lawsuit in court. You can also file an overloaded truck accident lawsuit if you’ve been injured in a crash with a semi-trailer over the weight limits set by federal law. It is the responsibility of the trucking company to make sure these large loads are tied down, are within legal weight limits, and meet state and federal safety requirements. They must also ensure that their drivers are sufficiently trained and possess the proper commercial vehicle license.
In any truck accident case, your attorney will have to prove that the driver, trucking company, and/or truck manufacturer was negligent. For the defendants to be found negligent and at fault legally, an overloaded truck accident lawyer in Indiana must show the following four 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, monetary or otherwise, as a result.
How to Choose the Best Overloaded Truck Lawyers in Indiana
The skilled and experienced attorneys at Stephenson Rife are among the best overloaded truck accident lawyers in Indiana. We are fierce and determined when representing our clients, and we are willing to go toe-to-toe with insurance companies to secure the best financial awards possible. Choosing the top overloaded truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis is easy when you consider Stephenson Rife first. You can learn more about our experienced legal team by reading our attorney bios. You can also see what our many satisfied clients have to say about our exceptional legal services by reading their testimonials.
Common Injuries in an Overloaded Truck Crash
An overloaded truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis explains serious injuries that arise.
When an overloaded truck in Indiana crashes into a passenger vehicle, it’s almost always passengers in the smaller car or SUV who are injured. That’s because cars, SUVs, and motorcycles crumple under the extreme weight and size of the large trucks. Common injuries in truck accidents include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Road rash
- Cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Organ damage
- Wrongful death
Some of these injuries can heal over time with medical treatment and rehabilitation, but others cause lifelong impairment and a devastating loss in the quality of life. You can be compensated for all that you’ve lost if you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence.
Can You Sue a Trucking Company for an Overloaded Truck Accident?
Absolutely. In many circumstances, you will name a trucking company as a defendant in an overloaded truck accident lawsuit. Even if the accident was caused by truck driver error, he or she is an employee of the trucking company, and they are responsible for training all of their drivers. Accidents can be caused by driver fatigue, intoxication, disobeying road signs, speeding, wrong-way turns, failure to yield the right-of-way, and many other mistakes by a truck driver.
In some instances in Indiana, the accident can also be caused by a mechanical or electrical defect in the truck itself. When this happens, you can also sue the truck manufacturer. It is their responsibility to produce a product without defects, and they failed to do so. The trucking company’s failure to conduct routine maintenance can also be the cause of a crash. A lawyer at Stephenson Rife will name as many defendants as appropriate in your overloaded truck accident lawsuit.
Overloaded Truck Accident FAQs
An Indianapolis overloaded truck attorney provides answers to commonly asked questions.
Many times, clients who are dazed and in shock have multiple questions when they or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash. Following are answers to some common questions:
The good news is that our attorneys work on contingency, which means that we don’t get paid until you get paid. Our attorneys’ fees are paid by the defendant as part of a settlement agreement or jury award. If for some reason you do not win your claim, then you owe us nothing.
Many of these Indiana lawsuits result in financial settlements rather than jury trials, so no one ends up testifying. If your case is litigated because an insurance company will only offer low-ball dollar amounts, then your attorney will advise you about the best approach to building a courtroom strategy.
Fatalities happen frequently in Indianapolis truck accidents because overloaded trucks are so much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles. Far and away it’s the individuals in the smaller vehicle that suffer the greatest injuries and fatalities when these crashes happen. You can file a wrongful death claim to recover damages if your loved one died in an accident.
There is no “average settlement” for an overloaded truck accident – or any personal injury accident — because each case is different, and the dollar amount depend on the facts in the case. Generally, the more severe the injury, the bigger the payout. This is particularly true if multiple people are injured and/or if someone dies.
If it is your own insurance company, then you can feel comfortable talking to them and succinctly answering their questions. If, however, it’s the trucking company’s insurance company, then say nothing and refer them to your lawyer. Some trucking companies will come directly to you and offer you a check to settle your claim – a strategy that benefits them but rarely benefits the plaintiff. Do not accept or cash such a check. Tell your lawyer immediately. These offers are almost always significantly less money than your attorney can negotiate on your behalf.
Stephenson Rife represents clients throughout the state of Indiana. We have tried cases in many jurisdictions. Whether you’re in a small town or a large city, our skilled and experienced overloaded truck accident attorneys can aggressively represent you and get the justice you deserve.
You may be entitled to financial damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other difficulties caused by the crash.
Damages That Can Be Awarded in an Overloaded Truck Accident Claim
If you’ve been injured in a crash with an overloaded truck in Indianapolis, you may be entitled to a variety of compensation, including economic and non-economic damages. Some of these include:
- Lost wages and future lost earnings
- Doctor, hospital, rehabilitative, and equipment costs (current and future)
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Anguish and emotional distress
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
If the disregard for safety was particularly egregious, a court can also award punitive damages in addition to the damages above. This financial compensation is meant to punish the trucking company or truck manufacturer for their irresponsible conduct and to have a chilling effect on other companies that might be tempted to put profits over consumer safety.
You’re in Good Hands with Stephenson Rife
The overloaded truck accident attorneys at Stephenson Rife have won large settlements on behalf of 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.
- $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.
- $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.
A highly experienced Indianapolis overloaded truck accident lawyer knows how to interview witnesses, gather evidence, and build a powerful case on our client’s behalf.
An Indianapolis Overloaded Truck Accident Attorney at Stephenson Rife Has the Answers
Do you still have questions? We’ve got answers. An Indiana overloaded truck accident lawyer at Stephenson Rife would be glad to offer you a free consultation about your situation and determine whether you have grounds for a legal claim. We treat our clients with compassion, understanding and a deep commitment to their well-being. Every client and their family are important to us, and we do the best job possible of accommodating their needs, communicating frequently, and explaining their legal options. Our team is talented, astute, and aggressive in representing clients who deserve justice. To find out more, call us at (317) 680-2350. We won’t rest until the guilty parties are held accountable.
Table Of Contents
- Types of Overloaded Trucks
- When Can I File an Overloaded Truck Accident Lawsuit?
- How to Choose the Best Overloaded Truck Lawyers in Indiana
- Common Injuries in an Overloaded Truck Crash
- Can You Sue a Trucking Company for an Overloaded Truck Accident?
- Overloaded Truck Accident FAQs
- Damages That Can Be Awarded in an Overloaded Truck Accident Claim
- You’re in Good Hands with Stephenson Rife