Being hit by a semi-truck is a traumatic event. In most cases, the occupants of the other vehicle sustain catastrophic injuries in the collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 70 percent of the deaths and injuries in a semi-truck vs. other vehicle accidents are sustained by the occupants of the other vehicles.
The large disparity in the injury and death statistics is caused in part by the difference in the size and weight of the vehicles involved in the accident. A passenger vehicle is not built to withstand the force of an impact from a large semi-truck. In many cases, when a passenger vehicle is hit by a semi-truck, the passenger vehicle is crushed by the force of the impact.
During 2014, it is estimated that 3,903 people died and 111,000 people were injured in crashes involving semi-trucks. Because the damages in a semi-truck accident claim are usually quite substantial, it is critical that the responsible party or parties are identified and named in a lawsuit to ensure that the victim has the best chance of receiving full compensation for his or her damages, injuries, and losses. The insurance company, the driver, and other parties will try to blame each other to mitigate the liability each party has for the damages suffered by the accident victims.
Identifying the Liable Parties in A Semi-Truck Accident
When a person is hit by a semi-truck, the first priority is to seek medical attention for injuries. However, another high priority should be contacting an Indiana semi-truck accident attorney for help. The trucking company and the insurance company send a team of professionals to investigate the accident scene and to secure evidence.
The accident victim needs a team of legal professionals working on his or her behalf to perform a thorough, independent investigation designed to identify and preserve key evidence used to prove fault. The sooner the legal team begins its investigation, the better chance it has of preserving evidence needed to prove fault. If the victim cannot prove fault, he or she cannot recover compensation for injuries.
Parties that may share liability in a semi-truck accident claim include:
- The truck driver;
- Trucking company;
- Truck or parts manufacturer; and,
- Mechanic or body shop.
In many cases, the driver is at least partially to blame for the accident because of driver error such as distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, impaired driving, or drowsy driving. The trucking company may also be partially at fault if it did not conduct a thorough background check, did not require routine truck inspections, failed to provide proper training, or pushed the driver to break laws related to driving hours.
In cases involving defective truck parts or defective workmanship, a parts manufacturer, the truck manufacturer, or a mechanic may be held liable if we can prove the accident was caused by a defective part or poor workmanship. Likewise, in truck accidents caused by shifting or improperly loaded cargo, the shipper may be held liable for some or all the damages resulting from the collision.
Determining Fault in A Semi-Truck Case
As you can see, when a person is hit by a semi-truck, the case immediately becomes more complex and difficult to handle than a collision involving two passenger vehicles. It is crucial that an Indiana semi-truck accident attorney works quickly to preserve evidence used to re-create the accident to determine exactly what caused the accident and how the collision occurred. Only by proving how and why the accident occurred can we prove who is liable for the victim’s damages.
The evidence we use in a semi-truck accident claim includes but is not limited to:
- The truck’s black box;
- Physical evidence from the truck and the accident scene;
- Driver’s log books;
- Maintenance records;
- Employee records;
- Eyewitness testimony; and,
- Medical records.
In many cases, we retain the services of experts to re-create the accident to prove fault. Our Indiana semi-truck accident attorneys have extensive experience handling these complex personal injury cases. You can trust that we will fight for your right to receive the compensation you deserve if you have been hit by a semi-truck.
Call For A Free Appointment
If you have been injured in a truck accident, call the Ken Nunn Law Office at 1-800-CALL-KEN or 1-800-225-5536 to schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation and case evaluation with an Indiana truck accident lawyer.