Here at Crossen Law Firm, we provide Indiana residents with expert legal assistance in personal injury cases, including injuries caused by semi-truck accidents. On this page, we discuss frequently asked questions regarding truck accidents in Indiana.
If you have any additional questions regarding truck accidents or personal injuries, please contact us at 317-401-8626, or you can schedule a free consultation here.
Some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents in Indiana include driver error, negligent maintenance, faulty parts, poor road conditions, and improperly loaded cargo.
Driver error occurs when a trucker fails to drive with proper care, which puts others in danger on the road.
Negligent maintenance occurs when a trucker or truck company fails to maintain a vehicle, which then results in an accident. Mechanics that service trucks could also be liable for an accident if they fail to fix apparent issues with a vehicle.
In addition to semi-trucks being dangerous due to improper maintenance, a truck that’s equipped with faulty or defective parts can cause serious or fatal accidents. For example, if a truck manufacturer or trucking company equips a vehicle with faulty brakes, the semi-truck may cause a serious collision. Other examples of defective parts that can be dangerous include bad tires, poor windshield wipers, and dim or defective lights.
A semi-truck that’s overloaded or has improperly-loaded cargo may cause a serious accident. Unsecured freight can shift when a driver turns and cause the trucker to lose control of the vehicle due to the weight imbalance. This can cause a truck to overturn or for a trucker to hit another vehicle. Additionally, cargo could fall from the truck and cause others to wreck.
Semi-truck accidents can cause numerous minor, serious, or even fatal injuries. Semi-trucks are much larger and weigh significantly more than the average passenger vehicle. This means that passenger vehicle drivers involved in a semi-truck accident are likely to sustain injuries because of their smaller vehicles. Some common truck accident injuries include:
- Broken Bones: A collision with a semi-truck can result in broken bones, including broken ribs, pelvis, leg bones, arm bones, and sternum.
- Bruises and Lacerations: Semi–truck accident victims can sustain serious bruises and lacerations due to the impact of a collision as well as hazardous broken glass and sharp metal shards.
- Back, Neck, and Spine injuries: The force generated in semi-truck accident collisions frequently result in muscle strains and tears in the back and neck, including whiplash. Additionally, someone can suffer from serious spinal injuries, resulting in paralysis.
- Seat Belt Injuries: Although seat belts save lives, they can cause injuries during truck accidents, including broken bones, burns, bruises, and internal bleeding.
- Head Injuries: Head injuries sustained in a semi-truck accident, such as a concussion or a more serious traumatic brain injury, can lead to severe injuries and permanent disabilities. A traumatic brain injury can even shorten a person’s life.
Although semi-truck accidents can occur due to negligent maintenance, bad road conditions, faulty parts, and improper loading, most accidents result from driver error. Some common trucker mistakes in Indiana include:
- Reckless driving
- Failing to check blind spots
- Careless lane changes
- Illegal passing
- Wide turns
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while tired
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Different factors can contribute to a driver making mistakes or driving dangerously at the wheel. If a driver is inexperienced or improperly trained, they may take dangerous maneuvers or make serious errors that cause an accident.
Another significant factor that contributes to wrecks is driving while fatigued. Truckers frequently have to drive for extended periods, and they can become overworked by their trucking company. A tired trucker can fall asleep at the wheel or make a critical mistake that causes a serious or fatal accident.
Different parties could be liable after a semi- truck accident depending on what caused the wreck, including the driver, trucking company, mechanic, a shipping company that loaded the freight, truck manufacturer, and parts manufacturer. Additionally, different parties could bear partial blame after an accident. For example, if a trucking company overworks a driver and he or she falls asleep at the wheel, both the driver and trucking company could be liable for the accident.
Semi-truck accident cases are frequently complex because they often involve multiple at-fault parties. Ways in which the authorities and insurance companies determine fault in Indiana include:
- Truck black box data
- Truck driver log books
- Truck maintenance records
- Vehicle damages
- Employee records
- Evidence apparent at the scene of the accident
- Eyewitness testimonies
Indiana enforces critical rules for semi-truck drivers and trucking companies intended to keep both truckers and other drivers safe. These include weight and size restrictions, lane restrictions, and a maximum number of driving hours per day and week.
Firstly, semi-trucks are not allowed to weigh more than 80,000 pounds in Indiana, and their wheel weight must not exceed 800 pounds per inch of a tire’s width. Additionally, a truck’s width can’t exceed eight feet and six inches, and its height cannot be more than 13 feet and six inches. They cannot have a length of more than 50 feet.
In Indiana, semi-trucks are required to use the far-right lane when traveling on the interstate. They may use the two lanes farthest to the right if the interstate has three or more lanes in a single direction. Trucks are allowed to use the left lane if they are passing another vehicle, avoiding an obstacle on the road, or taking an exit on the left.
Truckers face limitations when it comes to the number of hours they may work on a given day or week. They are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours in a single day. Additionally, truckers are not allowed to drive on duty for more than 60 hours in a given seven-day period or 70 hours within an eight-day period.
The amount you can receive in damages after a truck accident depends on your unique case. We encourage you to contact us so that we can learn about your case and give you an estimate of how much you could receive.
You may be able to recover different forms of compensation including vehicle damages, medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and more. Additionally, if you lost a parent or spouse in a semi- truck accident, you can file a wrongful death claim in order to recover compensation for funeral and burial costs, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of a parent.
The amount of time it takes for a car and semi-truck to stop differs significantly. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it takes a standard passenger vehicle driving at 65 miles per hour around 300 feet to come to a complete stop. Semi-trucks traveling at the same speed, on the other hand, need 600 feet to stop.
Because trucks have a much greater stopping distance, they can cause serious rear-end collisions if the trucker follows vehicles too closely.
The main factors that determine the amount of time it takes for a truck to come to a complete stop include weight, speed, brake quality, road conditions, and driver reaction time.
Trucks weigh around 80,000 pounds and that significant weight means that it takes a truck a great deal of time to stop. The heavier a truck’s weight, the greater the stopping distance. Additionally, the faster a truck travels, the longer it will take the vehicle to come to a halt.
A truck’s brakes also determine its stopping distance because brake quality directly impacts the amount of time it takes to stop a vehicle. Worn or faulty brakes can contribute to serious or fatal wrecks because they make it more challenging for a trucker to stop their vehicle.
A trucker’s ability to spot hazards impacts their stopping distance. It typically takes a driver around 1.5 seconds to observe something dangerous in front of them. If a trucker drives while distracted, tired, or impaired, they may have a slower reaction time. Truckers need to be especially cautious and observant when driving on slick roads and dangerous Indiana highways because the amount of time it takes them to come to a complete stop will be even greater.
Highway hypnosis refers to the effect in which truckers or other drivers operate their vehicles without thinking much about it. You may have noticed this effect if you’ve ever driven on a route you’re so familiar with that you reach your destination without even remembering your journey.
Studies indicate that the reason why highway hypnosis occurs is because of monotony and fatigue. Spacing out at the wheel can lead to serious or fatal accidents because drivers may not pay attention to what’s in front of them. Additionally, highway hypnosis can cause a driver to feel even more tired, which can contribute to a collision.
Semi-truck accident victims have every right to file a claim against trucking companies through a legal concept known as “vicarious liability.” Vicarious liability means that as long as the driver was abiding by the duties and rules of their employment at the time of the accident, liability can transfer from the driver to the employer. For example, if a trucker abides by their company’s policies and is involved in an accident while they’re on duty, liability may fall on the trucking company. If the trucker is running a personal errand with their truck or breaking company policies, liability may only fall on the driver and not their company.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truckloads to be completely secure. If a truck’s cargo causes an accident, the trucking company or the shipping/packing company will be partially or solely liable. Additionally, liability could fall on an employee who was in charge of loading the truck if they didn’t abide by their company’s protocols.
Truck accidents are frequently complicated because liability can fall on multiple parties. When you hire a truck accident lawyer, they can help you by determining who could be at fault. Additionally, they’ll handle the paperwork, gather evidence, and present your case. Although you may be able to gather certain forms of evidence, such as photographic evidence and witness statements, a seasoned Indiana semi-truck accident lawyer can subpoena invaluable evidence, like phone and black box records, and they can help you prove your case by gathering witness experts, such as medical experts and accident reconstruction experts. Additionally, an attorney can work with the defendant’s legal team to reach a favorable settlement, or they can fight on your behalf in court.
If you’ve suffered from injuries caused by a semi-truck accident, we recommend you reach out to an Indiana truck accident attorney to assist you with your case. For seasoned legal support in Indiana, contact the attorneys at Crossen Law Firm. We have years of experience assisting Indiana residents with truck accident personal injuries.
Contact Us with Your Additional Questions
Semi-Truck accidents are unique and different than car accidents, and you may have additional questions regarding the claims process. Fortunately, we offer 24/7 phone support for semi-truck accidents and personal injury inquiries. Call our office at 317-401-8626, or you can ask your question online here.