Legal Options for Truck Drivers Injured in an Accident
June 6, 2022 / Truck Accidents
We often hear about truck accidents, but not about truck drivers who may be seriously injured in these crashes. Drivers of passenger vehicles in these wrecks file lawsuits, but what are the legal options for truck drivers injured in an accident?
If you’re a semi driver who has sustained an injury after a collision with a passenger vehicle or other roadway debris, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You don’t have to face the stress of medical bills and lost income alone. The Indiana truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife have won many large truck accident lawsuits worth millions of dollars, and we’re willing to put our legal skills to work for you.
We understand that a big-rig driver’s bread and butter is being out on the road, logging miles, and bringing home a paycheck for your family. When you’ve been injured in a crash, it puts your family’s financial stability in jeopardy. This is especially egregious if the crash was not your fault and due to someone else’s negligence. Whether the wreck was caused by another driver who was drunk, a missing guardrail, or a defective engine, the lawyers at Stephenson Rife can make sure you get the justice you deserve. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free consultation at (317) 680-2350.
Why Choose Stephenson Rife to Represent You?
Stephenson Rife has an outstanding reputation for winning truck accident lawsuits and securing the largest payouts possible. Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of legal experience and has won many large personal injury claims totaling millions of dollars. Recently named a Super Lawyer in Indiana, Attorney Mike Stephenson is one of the most experienced trial lawyers in the state. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials and has handled litigation in 18 states around the country. State and local polls by peers have listed Mike as one of Indiana’s top lawyers, including a poll of 14,000 attorneys from 2004-2016 in which he was chosen to be among the top 5% of the attorneys in his area of practice.
The legal team at Stephenson Rife also includes Attorney Brady Rife, who takes case preparation seriously and prepares each case as though it may be tried in court. Some of the firm’s most successful cases include winning a $48 million settlement against a large corporation in a fatal vehicle crash in New Mexico and a $14 million dollar settlement against a national trucking company in Illinois. Not surprisingly, we have many satisfied clients.
Whether your accident was caused by another driver, a defective engine, or poor maintenance, we aggressively represent truck drivers who are injured in crashes. We even represent truck drivers who have become ill from prolonged diesel exhaust exposure. We will always fight for the maximum compensation possible.
Who Are the Defendants That Can Be Sued?
Depending on the nature of the accident, there are several parties that could potentially be sued. There may be one or multiple defendants in your lawsuit. The possible defendants include:
- Trucking Company
- Truck Manufacturer
- Municipal/Government Agency
- Other Driver’s Insurance Company
Let’s take a closer look at each entity and examine how they might be at fault:
You can sue the trucking company if it failed to train you adequately for the job or if it pressured you into working longer hours than laws allow. The trucking company may also have cut corners on truck maintenance, forcing you to drive a semi with bald tires or engine problems.
If there is a design or assembly flaw in the tractor trailer itself that led to the accident, you could sue the truck manufacturer. Sometimes vehicle manufacturers know their trucks and cars are sub-standard and have a defect, but they put profits before customer safety.
If your accident was caused by deep potholes, missing guardrails, poorly lit detours, or another aspect of the roadway itself, you might be able to sue the municipality or government agency charged with maintaining and overseeing that interstate, highway, or country road.
Other Driver’s Insurance Company
If the driver of another vehicle caused or contributed to the accident by swerving into your lane, trying to pass when it was not allowed, or tailgating too closely, you can sue the other driver’s insurance company.
Whether there is one or multiple defendants in your lawsuit, you are entitled to collect damages from any guilty party. A skilled Indiana truck accident lawyer can help you determine the plaintiffs in your case.
How Is Fault Determined in Indiana?
Indiana applies the modified comparative negligence test to truck accidents (Indiana Code Title 34, Section 51-2-5, et seq.). Also known as the “51% fault” method or “comparative fault”, you must be less than 51% at fault for the accident to file an injury claim. Courts will reduce your financial damages by the percentage of fault you bear. For example, if you’re hit by a distracted driver operating another vehicle, but you were working longer hours than allowed that day, a judge could decide that the distracted driver was 80% at fault and you were 20% at fault. If the total award is $400,000, then the amount you receive would be $320,000 (the total reduced by 20%).
In a personal injury case, “negligence” refers to one party’s careless behavior that resulted in harm to the other person. That means the careless party is legally liable for the injuries suffered by the other party. There are certain elements that you must prove to establish negligence, including:
The defendant owes the plaintiff a legal “duty of care,” which means, for example, that a trucking company must adequately train its drivers, or another driver must not drive drunk. Duty is a legal obligation.
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 the same situation.
It’s not enough for a defendant to be acting negligently, but you must demonstrate that their negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injury.
Damages mean that a plaintiff suffered losses – medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering – and there’s a way to compensate him or her with money for their injuries.
Our highly experienced truck accident lawyers know how to prove the four elements of negligence. We spend exhaustive hours interviewing witnesses, scouring police reports and accident scene photos, collecting evidence, and even hiring expert witnesses, if needed, to build a powerful case on every client’s behalf. If you have questions, we’re happy to explain the legal options for truck drivers injured in an accident.
What Is Your Case Worth?
Every truck accident is different, so there is no “average” settlement for crash victims. Several factors impact the settlement amount including severity of injury, number of defendants, amount of property damage, lost wages, and medical bills. Whether it’s a jackknife truck accident, delivery truck collision, or other type of truck crash, we will fight to secure the maximum payout possible. We work on contingency, which means we get paid when you get paid. The defendant’s insurance company pays our legal fees in a successful lawsuit so you don’t have to worry about this.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim?
The statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years in Indiana. This means an accident victim has just 24 months to file a lawsuit after being injured. The clock starts from the date of the accident or injury, with just a few exceptions. If you miss this window of opportunity, you risk having your case dismissed by a judge.
The Indiana personal injury statute of limitations is codified at Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4.
There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations. The “discovery rule” says that when a victim is not immediately aware of their injury (for example, internal bleeding or leg numbness don’t present for many weeks), the clock on the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until the accident victim discovers, or should have discovered, that they’ve been injured. The statute of limitations can also be paused (sometimes referred to as “tolled”) for victims who are mentally impaired (for example, a truck driver who is in a coma for a month after the accident). Additionally, the statute of limitations clock can be delayed if the defendant in a lawsuit leaves the state or takes steps to conceal their liability from the plaintiff.
If more than two years have passed since your truck accident but you only discovered your injuries months later, you could still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. The best way to find out is by speaking to a skilled and experienced truck accident lawyer.
Contact a Truck Driver Injury Lawyer Today
WE’LL EXPLAIN THE LEGAL OPTIONS FOR TRUCK DRIVERS INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT
To find out more about what your case might be worth, contact a truck accident lawyer today at Stephenson Rife. We have achieved outstanding results in truck accident cases, so we have the skill to win cases for truck drivers as well as people in passenger vehicles that are involved in truck collisions. Contact us to find out more about how we can help by calling (317) 680-2350. We will fight to get the compensation you deserve!
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 ]