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Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys Blog
Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

When Is Trucking Company Responsible for a Trucker’s Mistake?

Trucking accidents can often be catastrophic for the people involved. The injuries that people sustain in truck accidents can be devastating, due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicles involved. In addition, if a truck is carrying a load of hazardous materials, even people not involved in the initial accident or people miles away may suffer injury if the contents of the trailer are released into the environment.

Trucking accidents may be much more complicated than other types of traffic accidents due to the potential number of parties involved. Trucks may be owned by the driver or another party, and trucking companies often treat drivers as independent contractors in an attempt to avoid liability for crashes. Simply because a company claims a driver is an “independent contractor” does not make this so; in fact, courts often find that this is a question for a jury under all of the relevant circumstances. For example, in one case we handled involving a serious brain injury, a company claimed that its driver was not responsible because she was an independent contractor and not an employee. The company even presented a signed “independent contractor” agreement. However, after years of litigation we obtained a court ruling finding that this was not determinative and that a jury could still find the company liable based on all of the surrounding circumstances. Shortly after this ruling, the brain injury claim was settled by the insurance company for $25,000,000. Every case is different, so if you are injured by a so-called “independent contractor”, it is critical that you have your case evaluated by a qualified injury lawyer. Indeed, given the complicated legal issues arising in many semi-accident cases, it is important for anyone who has been injured to obtain a case evaluation by a qualified truck accident attorney.

Who can be held liable?

There are a number of parties that may be responsible for any injuries that you sustain in a trucking accident. These parties include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The manufacturer of the truck
  • The owner of the truck
  • The company or person responsible for maintaining the truck
  • The owner or driver of another vehicle
  • The manufacturer of another vehicle

As this list makes clear, there are multiple sources of legal liability when it comes to a trucking accident. To determine who to sue, you must first determine what caused the accident in the first place. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, there may only be a single source of liability or multiple sources.

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer can be held liable for the negligent acts of an employee if they occur within the scope of employment. If a truck driver negligently caused an accident while working for a trucking company, the company may be liable for the damages incurred. In addition, if the trucking company is responsible for the maintenance of the truck, they may be liable for any accidents that resulted from problems with the truck itself.

Because of the inherent danger that large tractor-trailer trucks present, the industry is heavily regulated by both state and federal law. Truck drivers are subject to strict rules about length of time spent driving, load weight restrictions, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any violation of these regulations may be sufficient to establish liability on the part of the driver or the trucking company.

Because accidents involving semi-trucks can raise complicated issues of law as well as technical issues unique to the trucking industry, it is important for people injured in trucking accidents to consult with an Indianapolis personal injury attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. Because these types of claims are time sensitive, it is important not to delay in filing your claim. If you wait too long to file a claim, your suit may be barred by the statute of limitations in Indiana. In addition, it is important to undergo a complete medical evaluation after an accident to ensure that your injuries are properly documented by a medical professional.

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– William H.
"Don did a great job on my case! Staff was amazing! Kept me in the loop the entire time. I highly recommend!!!!"
– Dana L.
"Wruck Paupore did more than they promised and did all of the work. I was worried about bills and dealing with insurance people. They did everything while I recovered. They were not concerned about earning money but about helping me and my husband."
– Edithe P.
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– Rhonda M.
"Attorney Wruck did an amazing job in settling my personal injury case. His knowledge and experience specific to semi-truck accidents made all of the difference in the outcome of my case; the settlement exceeded my expectations!"
– James M.
"I can’t say enough about Don Wruck and the staff at Wruck Paupore PC Law Offices. When we were in our accident we were already very shaken and confused and in pain. Don and his staff took over with a gentle hand and took care of everything."
– James H
"We are so thankful with how the lawyers and staff handled our case. The folks at Wruck and Paupore were always pleasant and helpful in all their phone calls and letters. It was always a pleasure to get their calls. We were especially pleased with their tenacious pursuit of the goal of full recovery which was far greater than we could have imagined."
– Jay Zoellner
"A great experience from beginning to settlement."
– William R.
"From start to finish, Wruck Paupore PC Law were the best! Knowledgeable and straightforward, they explained the process, start to finish, and gave guidance while allowing us to determine the best course of action to take. We would highly recommend them and would certainly use them again."
– Chris V.
"My case wasn’t very large, but they made it easy to recover damages when the insurance company didn’t even want to cover basic costs. The firm was responsive to my inquiries, and very clear about what was required and what could be expected, during every step of the process."
– Wayne M.
"Attorney Wruck did an amazing job in settling my personal injury case. His knowledge and experience specific to semi truck accidents made all of the difference in the outcome of my case; the settlement exceeded my expectations! The staff at his firm was helpful, responsive and caring during a difficult time following a life-altering experience. I highly recommend Attorney Wruck and his firm."
– J B
"After being involved in a car accident, I was very fortunate to work with Don Wruck. He explained everything to me and my family and made me feel involved in all decisions. I was very happy with the result of my case and happy to have found this firm!"
– Kayla D.
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Your Legal Team

Top-Rated Litigator.
Helping injury victims move forward.

Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.

Understanding the Insurance Company:
Getting Results.

In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.

More than 40 Years of Experience.
Still Fighting for Justice.

For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.

Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.