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What are your rights if you are injured in a truck accident?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2021 | Personal Injury

Big commercial trucks are an essential part of the economy, but they also pose substantial risks. If you are injured in a truck accident in Indiana, you’ll need to seek sound legal advice – at once – from the right Indiana truck accident attorney.

About 130,000 truck accident injuries are reported each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Passengers in the other vehicle account for about two-thirds of the serious injuries and fatalities that happen in truck accidents.

If you are injured on an Indiana street or highway because a truck driver – or a trucking company – was negligent, what are your legal rights? Can you recover damages? Will you need an attorney’s help?

If you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of truck accidents in Indiana, you will learn the answers to these questions, and you will also learn what steps to take if you’re in an accident with a commercial truck.

What Steps Should You Take After a Truck Collision?

Summoning medical attention immediately is the paramount priority after a truck accident. You should also call the police, trade contact and insurance details with the truck driver, and take photos of the vehicle damage, the accident scene, and your own visible injuries.

If you can’t move, try to ask someone to make the calls and take the pictures for you. It’s important. Finally, if there were eyewitnesses, try to obtain their names and contact details. Later, your personal injury lawyer may seek to obtain their statements or testimony.

What Are Your Rights as an Injured Victim of Negligence?

Speaking with a personal injury attorney is the next priority. After you’ve been examined by a medical professional, arrange at once to meet with an Indiana personal injury attorney. If negligence is the reason you were injured, the law entitles you to full compensation.

The injured victims of negligent truck drivers have the right under Indiana law to be compensated for their pending and projected future medical expenses, their lost wages and projected future lost earnings, their personal pain and suffering, and their related damages.

Who May Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

Your lawyer will launch an accident investigation to determine which party or parties are liable. How is liability determined after a truck collision? Can a trucking company or some other third party be held liable for an accident and the injuries you suffer in that accident?

Determining liability after a truck collision takes a careful examination of evidence including the police accident report, medical and toxicology reports, eyewitness accounts, and photos of the accident scene. Your attorney may seek an accident reconstruction expert’s help.

When accidents involve commercial trucks, even if the truck driver was clearly at fault, identifying the party that has liability for damages may not be easy. If you’re injured in a crash with a commercial truck, you will need the advice of an Indiana truck accident lawyer at once.

A trucking company may be deemed liable for the negligence of a truck driver/employee so long as the negligence wasn’t intentional and occurred within the “course and scope” of the employee’s job responsibilities.

What is Vicarious Liability?

The legal concept of “vicarious liability” transfers or imputes the employee’s negligence and liability to his or her employer. Whether vicarious liability transfers in any particular truck accident case will depend on answers to these questions:

  • Was the driver’s negligence unintentional or intentional?
  • Was the driver a contractor or an employee of the trucking company?
  • Did the collision happen in the scope and course of the truck driver’s job duties?

Vicarious liability may hold a trucking company liable for an employee’s negligence but not for an independent contractor’s negligence. If the driver who injures you is an independent contractor, vicarious liability probably will not apply.

What Else Makes Truck Accident Cases Complicated?

Trucking in the United States is regulated by a multitude of state and federal laws and agencies. A driver’s hours, the weight a truck may carry, and the amount and type of training needed for drivers are but a few of the many trucking-related matters regulated by the government.

In a truck accident, the violation of any federal or state trucking regulation – either by the driver or by the trucking company – is evidence that strengthens a negligence victim’s personal injury claim and – in many cases – makes the successful recovery of damages a foregone conclusion.

Trucking companies are not the only third parties that may be deemed liable for a truck crash. Depending on the details of the case, subcontractors and contractors, leasing companies, and cargo companies may also be held liable for truck accidents and the subsequent personal injuries.

When Should You Contact a Truck Accident Attorney?

Under Indiana law, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims arising from truck accidents gives an injured victim of negligence two years to begin the legal process. Don’t wait that long to speak with an Indiana truck accident attorney.

In fact, contact an attorney as soon as you’ve been examined and treated for your personal injury or injuries. Your claim is much stronger if your attorney can review the evidence while it’s fresh and speak with the witnesses before their memories fade.

No Fee Until and Unless You Are Compensated

If you’re worried about paying for an attorney, don’t be. Your first legal consultation is provided without cost or obligation. You’ll get the personalized advice you need and learn how the law applies in your own truck accident case.

If you and your attorney move forward with a personal injury claim, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.

If you are the victim in a truck accident, don’t let anything stop you from seeking justice. The right attorney will fight aggressively and effectively for the full compensation amount you need and deserve.