Experienced Indianapolis Tanker Truck Accident Lawyer
Indiana has a magnificent highway web that traverses its breathtaking landscapes, seamlessly connecting rural towns and bustling cities like Indianapolis. However, amidst this extensive road network and many vehicles, the unfortunate reality is tanker truck traffic accidents occur with alarming frequency. An ndianapolis tanker truck accident lawyer can help hold motor carriers accountable for the damages and injuries caused by the driver’s negligence.
Every day, the bustling roads of Indiana witness a steady stream of thousands of commercial trucks carrying valuable goods and cargo. Across the nation, there has been a substantial rise in the number of registered commercial tractor-trailers, and it comes as no surprise that Indiana has also experienced a significant increase in collisions involving these large trucks in recent years.
Tanker truck accidents are capable of disastrous injuries and damages. While government regulations exist to safeguard Indiana’s roads from catastrophic tanker truck accidents, they cannot prevent all calamities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s traffic fatalities estimates report, the fatalities in 2021 involving at least one large truck increased by 13% compared to the previous year.
Tragically, when it comes to truck accidents, the occupants of passenger vehicles suffer the devastating consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), their reports reveal a staggering statistic: in a recent year, out of 3,964 fatalities resulting from large truck accidents, a mere 17 percent were drivers of the trucks themselves, while a staggering 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles. The same year witnessed 95,000 people being injured in large truck collisions, with 72 percent of those injured being occupants of other vehicles.
In the aftermath of a tanker-truck accident, it is not uncommon for truck drivers to try to evade responsibility in order to protect their jobs. However, if you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident, you can seek compensation for your injuries. An experienced tanker truck accident attorney can evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim.
Assigning liability in auto accidents is typically a straightforward process, with the at-fault driver’s insurance expected to cover the resulting damages unless the other party was driving recklessly or negligently. However, the complexity intensifies when a truck is involved.
Liability hinges on the employment status of the truck driver, adding an additional layer of complexity to the equation. Factors such as self-employment, contract work, or full employment significantly impact the determination of liability. For instance, if the truck driver is self-employed and assumes responsibility for the truck’s maintenance and insurance, the liability falls on the driver. Conversely, the employer may be held accountable if the driver is officially employed and on duty during the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a tanker truck accident in Indianapolis, contact Stephenson Rife, Indianapolis tanker and bucket truck accident lawyer, today. Our team of experienced truck accident lawyers has the expertise, experience, and resources to navigate the complexities of tanker 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 a Stephenson Rife Tanker Truck Accident Attorney?
Stephenson Rife is an established Indiana law firm with experienced tanker truck accident lawyers. Our firm has been helping people throughout Indianapolis and other Indiana communities since 1976. Renowned for our dedication, preparation, and drive, you can be confident that our lawyers will get you the compensation you deserve.
Our past accomplishments prove our relentlessness in pursuing our client’s best interests. Stephenson Rife has recovered numerous verdicts and settlements for our Indiana truck accident clients. These compensation awards are in the tens of millions of dollars.
Here are some reasons to choose Stephenson Rife:
- Expertise in Tanker Truck Accident Laws: Our tanker truck accident attorneys focus on large truck accidents and have extensive knowledge of the laws and regulations specific to tanker trucks. We are well-versed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, hazardous materials transportation laws, and other relevant statutes governing the tanker trucking industry. This expertise allows us to navigate complex legal frameworks and build strong cases for our clients.
- Investigative Resources: Tanker truck accidents often require a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause and establish liability. Stephenson Rife, tanker truck accident lawyers in Indianapolis, has access to various investigative resources, including accident reconstruction experts, industry professionals, and forensic specialists. We can leverage these resources to gather crucial evidence, reconstruct the accident scene, and uncover any negligence or wrongdoing by the truck driver, trucking company, or other parties involved.
- Compassionate Support: Dealing with the aftermath of a tanker truck accident can be emotionally and physically draining. Our tanker truck lawyers provide top-notch legal representation and compassionate support throughout the legal process. We understand your challenges and will guide you with empathy, helping you make informed decisions and offering a shoulder to lean on during this difficult time.
- Strong Negotiation and Litigation Skills: Tanker truck accident cases often involve large trucking companies and their insurers, with their legal teams aiming to minimize liability. Our tanker truck accident attorneys have excellent negotiation and litigation skills, allowing us to advocate for your rights effectively. We can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf or, if necessary, pursue litigation to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
You need an experienced Indianapolis tanker truck accident lawyer to handle your tanker truck accident case. Contact Stephenson Rife at 317-680-250 to schedule a free phone, video, or in-person consultation.
Tanker Truck Accidents in Indiana
Tanker truck accidents are one of the most serious types of accidents on Indiana’s roads. Tanker trucks are large vehicles. A heavy-duty tanker truck can measure up to 100 feet in length for multi-trailer configurations and can transport 9,000 gallons of cargo. An accident with a vehicle of that size can be devastating regardless of what it transports.
However, tanker trucks are dangerous for more reasons than their impressive size. Manufacturers build these trucks to transport liquid cargo. These liquids can be volatile or combustible, such as:
- Industrial chemicals
- Diesel fuel
- Agricultural chemicals.
A tanker truck accident can occur in various ways, including improper tank maintenance, errors in tank construction, failure to close a tank properly, and damage during an accident. These occurrences can lead to accidents, serious injuries, and death.
Sparks can fly when a tanker truck collides with another vehicle, which could ignite the flammable liquid within the tanker. These tanker truck accidents may involve fires and explosions that can result in catastrophic injuries for everyone involved.
Because tanker trucks can pose a serious risk to all drivers on Indiana roads, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a comprehensive list of regulations. Tanker trucking companies must comply with all regulations to operate in Indiana.
These regulations require tanker trucking companies to:
- Comply with federal regulations
- Hire skilled tanker truck drivers
- Conduct safety checks before and throughout transit
- Properly maintain their tanker trucks
- Limit tanker trucker drivers’ hours.
Unfortunately, sometimes tanker truck companies do not abide by these requirements, or they may incentivize their employees to bend the rules. When this happens, victims of tanker truck accidents may be eligible to file a lawsuit for their damages.
Tanker Truck Accident Damages
Following a tanker truck accident, there are usually damages, similar to other personal injury cases. These damages can include injuries and damage to the victim’s body, health, vehicle, personal property, earning potential, relationships, and mental health. Sometimes additional punitive damages are awarded by the court.
If the negligent party caused a victim to suffer damages in the form of medical expenses or physical or mental pain, it is fair and just that the court should order the responsible party to compensate the victim for damages.
These damages can be divided broadly into economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Examples of damages that may be sought in a tanker truck accident lawsuit include:
- Medical Expenses: Most injuries require medical treatment. Medical expenses can include hospital bills, medication expenses, physical therapy treatments, future medical expenses, medical devices, and other reasonable and necessary medical expenses resulting from the accident.
- Property Damage: The tanker truck accident may have totaled your vehicle and any property, such as a cell phone, laptop, or sporting equipment.
- Lost Income: In a serious accident, the victim will unlikely be able to return to work immediately. If weeks of work are missed, this lost income may be recoverable. If doctors anticipate additional months of recovery before the victim can return to work, the damage awards can also include this amount of lost wages. Sometimes, an injury can result in a disability or impair the victim from ever returning to their profession. The court will appropriately compensate these unfortunate damages, as well.
- Pain and Suffering: This type of damage award compensates the victim for the physical pain and discomfort they have endured due to the accident.
- Loss of Consortium: These damages are awarded to the victim’s spouse, as the victim may no longer be able to provide the same level of companionship as before the accident.
- Emotional Distress: The court bases mental distress damages on the emotional trauma of the accident, such as suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or nightmares.
The court may levy punitive damages against the negligent party to punish them for their actions and as a deterrent to others who might engage in similar actions. Courts do not regularly assess punitive damages against negligent parties, but these damages can be substantial when they do.
Many states, including Indiana, have caps on punitive damages. Indiana courts cap punitive damages at the greater of $50,000 or three times the amount of compensation from the economic and non-economic damages.
We understand that no amount of money can adequately compensate a serious tanker truck accident victim for loss of health, for their physical pain, and other damages they have endured. However, the courts in Indianapolis make a great effort to compensate victims appropriately.
How Our Indianapolis Tanker Truck Accident Lawyer Helps Clients
The first step is to contact Stephenson Rife and schedule a free consultation. Our experienced tanker truck accident lawyer will personally engage with you during this valuable and no-obligation meeting. This is an opportunity for you to have all your queries addressed and for us to make an initial assessment of the viability of your case and estimate the potential compensation you may pursue through legal action.
At Stephenson Rife, our experienced tanker truck accident attorneys delve deep into investigating the cause of your accident. Such large tanker truck accidents are considerably more complex than minor collisions involving passenger vehicles. Multiple contributing factors can include excessive speed, driver fatigue, distraction caused by cellphone use, or mechanical issues arising from inadequate maintenance.
Accurately identifying the precise cause of a truck accident may necessitate an independent investigation carried out by reconstruction experts. Collaborating with recognized accident reconstruction experts, our proficient tanker truck accident attorneys will analyze how the accident unfolded and construct a compelling case to secure full compensation from the insurance provider based on factual evidence.
We will meticulously obtain the truck driver’s cell phone records to determine if distractions played a role in the crash. Additionally, we will scrutinize driver logs and toll receipts to ascertain whether the driver exceeded safe driving hours, leading to impaired alertness due to fatigue. Our investigation will also thoroughly review the truck’s maintenance records to establish whether the truck company serviced critical safety components such as brakes according to the prescribed schedule.
It is important to note that trucking companies are only obligated to keep maintenance records and driver logs for a limited time. Delaying in hiring an attorney may result in crucial evidence being lost. Therefore, acting swiftly if you have been injured in a traffic accident involving a tanker truck is crucial. The longer you wait to contact a tanker truck accident attorney, the more challenging it becomes to locate and preserve evidence, thereby increasing the risk of jeopardizing your case.
Consult with Our Indianapolis Tanker Truck Accident Lawyer
Tanker truck accidents can cause serious injuries and damages. They are often traumatic, resulting in staggering medical bills, property damage, and mental and emotional trauma. You do not need to fight this battle alone. If you or a loved one hasbeen in a tanker truck accident, you may have multiple legal options for pursuing justice. Our tanker truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis will sit down with you to discuss your legal options. Contact Stephenson Rife at 317-680-2350 for your free consultation.
Are Tanker Trucks Dangerous?
When a tanker truck is properly operated, according to regulations, it should not pose a danger to other motorists. However, because these trucks are often filled with hazardous liquids, a relatively minor accident can quickly escalate into a raging fire or an explosion.
Can a Tanker Truck Explode?
Tanker trucks can explode. Explosions are possible if the truck is transporting flammable or combustible substances. Even a relatively minor accident can create heat and electrical sparks. An explosion can occur if this heat source reaches the flammable substance within the truck’s tank. Even without a flammable substance, regular vehicles can explode under certain circumstances.
How Much Is My Indiana Tanker Truck Accident Worth?
The value of your tanker truck accident will be primarily based on the damages you suffered due to the accident. If you have medical bills and property damage, add that up. Next, consider whether you have missed wages or will continue to miss work in the future and add those amounts. You may receive additional damage awards if your injuries cause you physical suffering. Another award may be offered if you cannot provide your spouse with the same level of companionship. Likewise, if you suffer from emotional or mental health issues, such as depression, the court may also issue an award for these damages. If the liable party was particularly reckless or negligent, the court may demand they pay punitive damages, which could significantly increase your award.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Indianapolis Tank Truck Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer can be scary, especially when you are in debt from the accident. One solution is to hire a law firm that works on a contingency fee basis. Under this arrangement, you will not pay your Indianapolis tanker truck accident lawyer anything unless you win. Instead, they will take a percentage from your damage awards when you win your case. This arrangement is helpful for victims who may otherwise be unable to afford to pursue justice.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Tanker Truck Accident Lawsuit in Indianapolis?
According to Indiana law, IC 34-11-2-4, you must act quickly if you have been injured by a tanker truck accident in Indiana. You have only two years to file your legal claim before the statute of limitations runs out. After two years, you will be time-barred from pursuing legal action, with relatively few exceptions.
Will a Tanker Truck Settlement Cover My Medical Bills?
One of the main damages tanker truck settlements should cover is all medical bills related to your accident. You have full control over whether you wish to accept a settlement offer. Your tanker truck accident attorney may advise you not to take a settlement if it does not sufficiently cover your damages. However, accepting or refusing a settlement is ultimately up to you.
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 ]