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.
Today, over five million bus and truck drivers share the road with over 250 million motorists in the U.S. Since accidents that involve large, commercial trucks usually cause more serious injuries and damage, there are stringent requirements and guidelines that regulate the entire trucking industry.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a tractor trailer accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through insurance or a lawsuit. Tractor trailer accidents are complicated by Indiana laws, and complex trucking rules and regulations. It takes a law firm experienced in tractor trailer truck accidents to go up against the teams of attorneys working for commercial trucking concerns, and it takes knowledge of the potential safety and operational infractions that may have contributed to the catastrophe to win maximum compensation.
At Stephenson Rife LLP, we are dedicated to helping those who have been in truck accidents due to a company’s or driver’s safety violations.
MEASURING TRUCK SAFETY
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict regulations in an attempt to prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to large trucks and buses. They have developed programs to identify unsafe motor carriers and ensure that safety protocols are enforced.
The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program was created to proactively identify high-risk carriers and hold them accountable. They do this through the Safety Measurement System (SMS) which uses data from state-reported crashes, roadside inspections, and investigations conducted over the last two years.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT A CSA SCORE IN TRUCKING
In calculating a CSA score, the FMCSA assesses motor carrier on-road performance and compliance in numerous categories:
The driver fitness category covers all driving records, including commercial drivers’ licenses, medical certificates, driver qualification files, annual driving record reviews, compliant employment applications, and state driving records.
The vehicle maintenance basics look into vehicle defects, pre- and post-trip inspections, and whether the truck got repaired promptly if there was a defect. It also covers other standard maintenance issues such as broken brakes, lights, worn-out tires, and poor cargo securement.
This category covers all driving violations. It covers everything from reckless driving, speeding, texting, inattention, and improper lane changes, to using your cellphone while driving. These violations are used in the evaluation regardless of whether the state officials issued a citation or just gave a verbal warning.
The crash indicator evaluates the vehicles’ history of state-reported crashes. Crashes are usually reportable whenever they result in an injury or fatality or if the car had to get transported from the scene.
Under this category, the FMCSA looks into insurance-related violations. It could be a violation like using trucks for commercial transportation without the minimum coverage or failing to maintain crash report documentation.
Hazardous Material Compliance
The hazardous material compliance category looks at trucking companies’ compliance with how the carriers should properly mark, label, package, placard, and load cargo. It also includes the regulation for tank specification testing, attendance, leakage, loading, and unloading.
Hours of Service Compliance
The hours of service compliance looks at compliance with FMCSA’s hours of service regulations, such as driving for more than the hours allowed or falsifying on-board recording devices.
This category covers driving trucks under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Drivers are said to have a controlled substances violation if they are found with alcoholic beverages in the cabin or fail an alcohol test. It also covers the misuse of over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs.
WHAT ARE THE SAFETY RATINGS?
Typically, trucking companies and drivers will receive one of three safety ratings, which include Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory.
Satisfactory Safety Rating
A satisfactory safety rating is the best possible outcome that a trucking company or a driver can receive. It indicates that adequate and functioning safety management controls have been implemented to meet the safety fitness standard.
Conditional Safety Rating
A conditional safety rating may be issued if you are not compliant with some safety protocols. The company may continue to operate with this rating, although it may be a warning sign for potential customers, insurance agents, and creditors.
Unsatisfactory Safety Rating
The unsatisfactory safety rating indicates that the trucking company or driver has failed to comply with the safety protocols. Once the company receives this rating, it will be allowed 45 to 60 days to make the necessary improvements in order to continue to operate.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A TRUCKING COMPANY HAS A GOOD CSA SCORE?
CSA scores are measured on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is the worst score. The higher the score, the worse the performance was. These scores are used to prioritize interventions by the FMCSA.
Final CSA scores are not available to the public; however, data for certain categories are available. The attorneys at Stephenson Rife will access this data when investigating a tractor trailer accident and use it as persuasive evidence of negligence to win compensation for injured crash victims.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT
The aftermath of a truck accident can be traumatic. However, victims must remember that they have a right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver, employer, or others. Sadly, obtaining compensation for damages and expenses is easier said than done. That’s why taking a few necessary steps immediately after the accident is essential to maximize the chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Call the Police
After a truck accident, calling the police is essential. The law requires it after an accident, and it begins the process of documenting your case. Insurance companies may also need a police report when you make your claim, and the lack of it could make them think your injuries or claim are not as serious as they are.
Seek Medical Attention for Injuries
Most truck accidents result in serious injuries requiring urgent and significant medical treatment. Failing to get treatment because you are concerned about the expense puts your health and life at risk and undermines your case. It gives the insurance company a stronger basis to claim that your injuries were not critical. It can become more challenging to get the compensation you deserve. If you are concerned about the medical expenses, talk to our attorneys to understand your options while they build your case.
Gather Information about the Truck and Driver
Getting this information is essential as it will help you and your attorney build your case. Some of the necessary details you need include:
- The name of the driver
- The driver’s license number
- Their phone number and address
- The truck’s registration number
- The insurance company and policy number
- The name and contact details of the trucking company.
Document the Scene
Your word against the driver doesn’t guarantee you will win the case. It is important to have as much evidence as possible to strengthen your case. If you can, take photos and videos of the scene to clearly show all the vehicles involved, the road’s condition, and the extent of the damage.
Eyewitness testimonies are also helpful, so talk to anyone who saw the accident. It can be other drivers, pedestrians, or workers at nearby establishments. Get their details and hear their perspective on what transpired. The evidence you collect immediately after the accident and eyewitness testimonies can be particularly helpful if your case proceeds to trial.
Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney
It’s not always easy or possible to take all of these steps, especially if you have sustained severe injuries. In any case, you need to consult a truck accident injury attorney. Your attorney can take all the investigatory steps on your behalf while you focus on getting treatment for injuries.
OUR INDIANA TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER CAN HELP
While many trucking companies adhere to the safety protocols of the DOT and FMCSA, some disregard the guidelines that were established to protect them and others. It is not just about the driver’s recklessness, but because the trucking company has only the profits in mind.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Why Choose Us
At Stephenson Rife, we never settle for anything less than your best interests. We provide you with a cost-effective service that begins with a free consultation with us. Attorney Michael Stephenson has decades of experience with accident cases and has honed the skills you need if you are injured in a truck accident. Our Indiana truck accident law firm is:
Our lawyers understand the devastation and suffering of a severe injury from a truck accident. We are dedicated to helping you pursue justice.
We understand the systems and tactics that insurance companies use. We are prepared to fight for the settlement you deserve.
Our clients’ needs are our priority. We are driven to work tirelessly on your behalf. Take a look at some of our past client testimonials so you can see how our hard work has impacted others and won them the compensation they deserved.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accident Claims
You may have questions about your specific truck accident, which we will be happy to address in your free consultation. In the meantime, here are answers to some of the general questions we are frequently asked.
The amount you claim depends on the extent of damage and injuries suffered. You can claim healthcare expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of earning capacity.
Trucks are difficult to maneuver, and their large size and weight make them hard to stop and avoid accidents. Drivers’ failure to comply with regulations is also a contributing factor.
Insurance companies often contact truck accident victims and offer an early settlement. While accepting the offer can be pretty tempting, most initial offers are way below the right amounts and are not likely to cover all of your losses. Your chances of getting a full and fair settlement are much greater with the assistance of a truck accident lawyer.
Contact our Indiana Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you are a truck accident victim, you may be able to get compensation for the injuries and losses you have sustained. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you pursue the maximum amounts of damages that should be rightfully yours. The seasoned attorneys of Stephenson Rife understand everything about truck regulations and are willing to assist you.
Contact us at 317-707-6908 or visit our website and book 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 ]
Table Of Contents
- MEASURING TRUCK SAFETY
- WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT A CSA SCORE IN TRUCKING
- WHAT ARE THE SAFETY RATINGS?
- HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A TRUCKING COMPANY HAS A GOOD CSA SCORE?
- WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT
- OUR INDIANA TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER CAN HELP
- Why Choose Us
- Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accident Claims
- Contact our Indiana Truck Accident Lawyers Today