What to Do if You’ve Been Rear-Ended by a Semi-Truck in Indiana

March 7, 2024 / Truck Accidents

Being in a car accident is scary enough. But the aftermath can become overwhelming when the other vehicle involved is a massive semi-truck weighing up to 80,000 pounds. If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a truck accident in Indiana, we will help you understand the steps to take immediately following the crash.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

In the initial moments after a truck accident, adrenaline will likely keep you from feeling pain from injuries. However, the first and most urgent priority is a wellness check. Evaluate yourself and any passengers for injuries right away. You should still get examined even if you don’t notice any immediate pain or symptoms. Certain types of injuries, like soft tissue damage or traumatic brain injuries, can take days or even weeks to manifest.

Having all your injuries documented in medical records and imaged from the beginning is critical. This provides solid evidence if you need to file an injury claim later on. Plus, catching and treating injuries early can help prevent long-term problems.

Some common injuries from truck rear-end collisions include:

  • Whiplash
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • PTSD.

If anyone involved complains of severe pain, call 911 immediately to request emergency transport. Otherwise, get checked out at the nearest hospital or urgent care facility. Don’t refuse this medical attention or downplay your pain since it can come back to haunt you.

By acting quickly and working with an experienced truck accident lawyer, you can protect your rights and pursue the maximum compensation available under the law.

Gather Information at the Accident Scene

After ensuring medical care is enroute or provided, you can start assessing the accident scene. If it’s safe to do so, exit your vehicle and identify the truck driver along with any passengers, witnesses, or other parties involved. Take plenty of photos, capturing damage to both vehicles, skid marks on the road, scattered debris, and any other relevant details.

Be sure to collect key information from the semi-truck driver, including:

  • Their name, contact details, and driver’s license number
  • Insurance provider and policy details
  • DOT number and trucking company name.

Also, obtain identities and contact information for anyone who witnessed the collision. These independent perspectives could be vital later when determining fault and liability.

Report the Accident Promptly

Indiana law requires those involved in traffic accidents to call 911 or report the accident to police. You’ll need to file an official accident report to document what transpired. Provide a clear, factual account of how the crash occurred when speaking to police. Go to the station nearest the scene or request an officer to come on-site.

Be sure to secure a copy of the report before leaving, as this will be crucial evidence.

Consult with a Truck Accident Attorney

The next thing to do after being rear-ended by a semi-truck in Indiana is consulting with an experienced Indiana truck accident lawyer like those at Stephenson Rife LLP. They can analyze the accident details and help you understand all available legal options. An attorney can handle the complicated claim process so you can focus on recovery. They will also determine what damages and compensation you may be entitled to based on both state laws and federal regulations.

Working with a lawyer is advisable because semi-truck accident cases tend to be more complex than regular car crashes. Some key reasons it pays to have an attorney include:

  • They understand trucking regulations. – Many state and federal laws surround the proper operation and maintenance of semi-trucks. Experienced truck accident lawyers can pinpoint violations related to your rear-end collision. These may revolve around work hours, rest periods between trips, mirrors, brakes, and the like.
  • An attorney will help to negotiate a settlement agreement. – Injury claims involving semi-truck crashes are often settled before trial. However, the trucking company or insurer may offer an unreasonably low settlement that doesn’t cover your losses. Your lawyer can advocate to secure a full and fair settlement.
  • If necessary, an attorney will take the case to trial. – A qualified attorney will take the truck accident case to court if a satisfactory settlement can’t be reached through negotiation. They are prepared to build a compelling claim and argue for maximum compensation at trial.
  • They grasp the gravity of trucking accidents. – The immense weight disparity between a semi and a passenger car impacts the extent of damage in the crash. An attorney takes this into consideration and also determines whether the truck was overloaded beyond federal limits at the time.
  • A law firm has access to accident reconstruction experts. – This may be necessary to prove the exact sequence of events that transpired. They can also identify the mechanical and/or human errors that caused the collision.

Document Evidence in Aftermath

In the days, weeks, and months following your semi-truck rear-end accident, make sure to document all related expenses and communications. Keep detailed records of:

  • Medical invoices, prescription receipts, mileage for appointments, and other injury-related costs
  • Written estimates from auto repair shops regarding vehicle damage
  • Any correspondence with insurance providers about the accident, your claim, or settlement offers.

Thorough documentation creates a trail that your truck accident lawyer can use to justify compensation amounts during settlement talks or trial. Don’t throw away any related paperwork, no matter how trivial it may seem.

Consider Types of Compensation Available

You may be entitled to several types of accident compensation, including:

Medical expenses – All ambulance transport, hospitalization, appointments with specialists, prescription medication, physical therapy, assistive devices like wheelchairs, and other present and future medical costs related to accident injuries.

Lost income – If injuries prevent you from working for a period of time during recovery, you can seek compensation for lost wages.

Property damage – Costs to repair or replace your vehicle if it was damaged in the crash.

Pain and suffering – There are few metrics to quantify pain and emotional distress caused by a traumatic semi-truck collision. An experienced lawyer can advocate for appropriate pain and suffering damages.

Loss of quality of life – If crash injuries prohibit you from participating in activities you previously enjoyed, compensation can offset this reduced quality of life.

Punitive damages – If gross negligence, such as drunk driving, caused the accident, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the reckless behavior.

Understanding potential compensation can help you feel more empowered to recover both physically and financially. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will investigate your unique case parameters to build the optimal case.

Contact Stephenson Rife Today

Being the victim of a semi-truck rear-end accident can negatively impact multiple aspects of your life. However, you don’t need to navigate the legal claims process alone. Partnering with an experienced Indiana truck accident lawyer levels the playing field when dealing with aggressive insurance providers.

With strong legal advocacy in your corner, you can focus energy on healing while trusting your attorney to pursue fair financial compensation. Call us at (317) 680-2350 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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 ]

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