Semi-truck accidents can be devastating. When you’re injured, you need an advocate on your side who can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. There are many factors at play, which can make these cases very difficult to navigate on your own. Luckily, Ken Nunn’s experienced truck accident lawyers in Bloomington, Indiana, understand the laws and regulations related to commercial vehicle accidents.
Injured in a Semi-Truck Wreck?
Common Types of Commercial Truck Collisions
Commercial truck accidents can happen in a variety of ways. The type of accident often determines the severity. Some common types of commercial vehicle collisions include:
- Rollovers – when a vehicle is overturned as the result of a wreck
- Rear-ends – when the truck collides with the rear end of the vehicle in front of it, or vice versa
- Head-on collisions – when two vehicles collide into the front of each other
- Jackknife accidents – when the front vehicle (cab) skids but the trailer doesn’t stop or slow down, causing it to swing out to form an L or V shape
- T-bone crashes – when the front of a vehicle crashes into the side of another
- Sideswipes – when the side of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle
- Wide turn accidents – when a truck needs additional space to successfully make a wide turn and they hit another vehicle, or another vehicle hits them, while they are mid-turn
- Blind spot crashes – when a vehicle is changing lanes and does not see the motorist in their blind spot, and the two vehicles collide as a result of one merging into the other
- Underrides – when a smaller vehicle collides with a tractor-trailer and slides underneath
Sadly, many semi-truck accidents can be fatal, especially if there are other motorists involved. In these cases, the surviving family members of the deceased may be entitled to compensation. A Bloomington truck accident lawyer can help you determine who can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
There are many factors that can cause a semi-truck accident. While driver error is the leading cause, sometimes elements that are out of the driver’s control can result in an accident, even if the driver takes all the right precautions on the road. Some examples of these elements include:
- Faulty part manufacturing or vehicle maintenance
- Improper distribution of cargo
- Inclement weather conditions
- Recklessness of other motorists on the road
Normally, truck drivers are trained on how to be safe on the road in dangerous situations, such as storms or reckless driving by others around them, but accidents can still happen despite these safety measures. This is all the more reason why drivers must stay vigilant on the road and take care not to do the following:
- Drive while tired
- Drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Exceed the speed limit
- Use cell phones or other distracting devices while driving
- Neglect their mandated break periods
- Fail to take caution in harsh weather conditions
These actions often indicate negligence on the driver’s part. If an accident occurs because a truck driver was negligent, they could be deemed at fault for the accident and held responsible for all damages and injuries that occurred as a result. Contact a truck accident attorney in Bloomington if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle.
Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries?
Indiana is an at-fault state, which means that if an accident occurs, the negligent party is responsible. However, proving negligence in commercial vehicle accidents is not always cut-and-dry. There are several parties to consider when trying to determine liability in these cases, including:
- Truck driver – if the accident was caused by driver error
- Truck owner/trucking company – if the truck was not well-maintained, proper insurance was not provided, the driver was not thoroughly trained or was denied their break periods, etc.
- Truck mechanic – if the truck was recently looked at by a mechanic and cleared to drive, and an accident occurred due to a mechanical error
- Parts manufacturer – if a part was poorly manufactured and caused the truck to fail, resulting in an accident
- Cargo loader – if the truck’s cargo was loaded in a way that did not adhere to weight distribution standards, and the uneven weight of the truck caused an accident
What makes these accident cases so tricky is that oftentimes, liability is linked to more than one party. For example, if a driver gets into an accident because they are tired, they may have been tired because they did not take their scheduled break. While that may look like the driver’s fault, it is possible that the trucking company instructed them to skip their break to get to their destination faster.
All parties are responsible for adhering to safety regulations set by the FMCSA. Trucking companies are also required to maintain insurance policies on all trucks. Failing to do so could put them at risk of a lawsuit in the event of an accident.
Insurance Requirements for Commercial Trucks in Bloomington
In Indiana, insurance requirements vary based on the size, weight, and contents of commercial vehicles. Depending on how large the commercial truck is, how much it weighs, and the type of cargo it is transporting (hazardous or non-hazardous materials). Due to the amount of damage these commercial vehicles can cause, liability insurance coverages tend to be much higher than personal vehicles and oftentimes that coverage can be in the millions.
Safety Regulations for Commercial Vehicles
Indiana law and federal law require certain commercial vehicles, including semi-trucks, to have safety equipment available and installed. Vital parts of the truck must also be inspected before each use, including the tires, steering function, brakes, windshield wipers, mirrors, and more.
These regulations are in place to protect drivers and others on the road and minimize damage and injury in the event of an accident. With that said, accidents can still happen no matter how cautious and vigilant the driver is. Thorough record keeping will ensure that there is documentation of safety precautions taken by the driver, which can be invaluable when it comes to proving negligence in an injury case.
Because there are so many layers to determining fault after a commercial vehicle crash, it is always best to consult a Bloomington truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the incident.
The Truth About Being Injured in a Semi-Truck Accident
Injuries sustained from semi-truck accidents are often more severe than other car accident injuries. Because commercial vehicles are so large, they can cause much more damage than the average vehicle, and in many cases, the effects can be permanent.
Types of Injuries
Some of the most severe injuries that can occur from a truck accident include:
- Head and brain injuries – these can include skull fractures and traumatic brain injury, which can have long-lasting effects including memory loss and difficulty moving parts of the body
- Neck and back injuries – these types of injuries can cause chronic pain and may require physical therapy and other forms of ongoing treatment
- Whiplash – this can cause chronic pain in other areas of the body, such as headaches and neck pain
- Spinal cord injuries – these injuries are some of the most severe, as they can result in paralysis
- Internal injuries – extreme impact can cause internal organ damage, which may require surgery
- Burns – depending on the degree of the burn(s), the recovery could be simple, or it could require surgical procedures like skin grafts to heal
- Wrongful death – in a worst case scenario, a collision with a semi-truck can result in death for one or more parties
- Mental and emotional trauma – non-physical injuries such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression can result from a truck accident in Bloomington, due to the traumatic nature of the incident
The types of injuries that can occur can be life-changing, and you should always contact a truck accident attorney after an accident in Bloomington to see if you have legal standing to pursue damages.
What Compensation Are You Entitled To?
If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you could be eligible to receive payment for the damages you suffered. There are many different types of damages you could be awarded compensation for. These may be any combination of the following:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Long-term disability or disfigurement
- Mental and emotional trauma
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Out-of-pocket expenses
A skilled attorney will help you identify the damages you’re entitled to and file a claim.
Time Frame for Filing a Claim
The statute of limitations is the legal time limit allowed to file an injury claim after an accident. In Indiana, you have two years from the date of your accident to file your claim. However, there are a few exceptions, and the deadline may vary depending on the details of your case. It is best to file as soon as possible so you don’t miss any deadlines or lose your right to any compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident in Bloomington, contact an attorney right away to determine if you are eligible to file a claim.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Bloomington
When you are involved in a collision with a semi-truck, it’s important to follow certain steps to make sure you document the scene as much as possible. This documentation can help you prove your injuries and damages during your case:
If your injuries allow, take as many photos of the accident as you can. These will be valuable when it comes to proving damage and seeking compensation.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information so that your attorney can contact them for a statement down the road.
It is imperative that you call 9-1-1 immediately after an accident so that police and paramedics can be dispatched to the scene. A police report will be an invaluable piece of evidence in your case.
Seek medical attention right away to ensure that you get the treatment you need. Medical records will also be very important when compiling evidence for your injury claim. If you delay medical care, a doctor might not be able to identify the full extent of your injuries. You also run the risk of not healing properly.
After you have received medical attention, contact your insurance company to alert them of the accident. Your attorney can handle any negotiations regarding a settlement so that the insurance adjusters don’t try to low-ball your claim.
Once you are calm and clear-headed, write down your version of events. This will help you to clearly articulate the incident to an attorney and any other inquiring parties. Your written record may also serve as evidence for your claim.
Do not try to handle the aftermath of a serious truck accident alone. A Bloomington truck accident attorney can do the heavy lifting for you so that you can focus on your recovery.
Advantages of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer in Bloomington
The process for obtaining compensation for injuries after a commercial vehicle collision can be long and overwhelming. Working with a Bloomington truck accident attorney can put your mind at ease. They can work on your case while you focus on your recovery.
A lawyer has a thorough understanding of the local laws that are relevant to your claim and they can do the leg work for you when it comes to compiling evidence, communicating with insurance companies, filing paperwork, and so much more. They can also handle litigation if your case goes to trial and can guide you through all the ups and downs of the claims process.
Contact The Ken Nunn Law Office Today
With the right lawyer by your side, you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind. Contact the team at The Ken Nunn Law Office to discuss your case and determine what damages you could be entitled to. Fill out our online form or call 812-332-9451 to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Bloomington, IN, today.