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How to File a Lawsuit Against a Trucking Company in Indiana

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How to File a Lawsuit Aga…

Trucking accidents are incredibly dangerous and usually result from human failure at some level of the operation. If someone else’s negligence was to blame for causing your injuries in a trucking accident in Indiana, you can file a lawsuit to recover damages.

Trucking companies may be directly liable if they fail in vehicle maintenance, securing cargo, or screening, training, and scheduling their drivers. Even if the trucking company was not directly liable, you still may be able name them in a lawsuit through the doctrine of vicarious liability. There is only a limited amount of time to file these types of legal actions, so you must act quickly to secure your recovery.

To learn more about the process for filing a lawsuit against a trucking company, reach out to the dedicated Indiana trucking accident lawyers at Wruck Paupore by calling (219) 322-1166 today. When you call our offices right now, you can obtain a free initial case assessment.

Identifying Direct Trucking Company Liability for an Accident in Indiana

A great number of accidents involving commercial trucking vehicles can be traced back to the negligence of the fleet operator or trucking company. Trucking companies are directly liable for the harms caused by an accident involving one of their vehicles when their own actions or failures to act contributed to causing the accident. Below are a few of the common situations that would create direct liability after an accident for a trucking company in Indiana.

Poor Maintenance

Commercial trucks call for quite a bit of maintenance in order to ensure that they are fully operational while out on the roads. However, some trucking companies will attempt to cut down on costs by ignoring required maintenance. When the trucking company fails to institute proper inspection and maintenance protocols, the danger of a malfunction on the road increases substantially. These malfunctions could involve brake failure, engine failure, steering problems, tire failure, or other events that put other drivers in serious danger.

Unsecured Cargo

Trucking companies must take care to load cargo correctly and maintain weight limits, overseeing proper practices to secure cargo correctly. On flatbeds in particular, unsecured cargo that shifts during transit can pose a real risk to other vehicles on the road. If cargo slips off the truck, it can damage other vehicles and cause serious injuries. Flatbeds often haul heavy, oversized cargo, which other drivers might struggle to avoid if it hits the road around them.

Even in enclosed trailers, improper loading could cause cargo to shift and throw the vehicle off balance during maneuvers. Improperly loaded cargo can also increase the odds of the trailer “fishtailing” or the truck being involved in a “jackknife” accident.

Inadequate Driver Training and Screening

The nationwide shortage in staffing impacts many industries, including the trucking industry. To compensate, trucking companies may choose to send out under-qualified drivers to handle substantial loads. While truck drivers must go through training to acquire a commercial driving license (CDL) before they can handle a big truck legally, they may not have the necessary training to handle all types of commercial vehicles. Trucks also have weight classes, and drivers must have the right license to safely operate those vehicles.

Failures in Driver Schedule Assignment and Management

Under federal law, commercial truck drivers can only operate for up to 11 hours of each 14-hour shift period. Following each shift, the driver must take a certain amount of time away from the truck to rest and replenish before getting back on the road. In reality, however, many trucking companies place unreasonable deadlines on their drivers that improperly incentivize them to violate these rules and even create false entries on logbooks to meet delivery windows. This can result in an overly tired driver behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle, one of the most dangerous elements on any roadway in the country.

Vicarious Liability Laws for Trucking Accidents in Indiana

Even if the trucking company was not negligent themselves, they still may be held liable under a federal theory of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that allows plaintiffs to sue employers for the negligent behavior of their employee while in the course of their work for the employer.

In other words, if a commercial truck driver caused an accident by driving negligently and injured you, you can also name the trucking company in your lawsuit under a theory of vicarious liability. You must be able to demonstrate that the truck driver was working within the scope of their employment when the accident occurred. If the truck was in the process of servicing a delivery, it is generally safe to assume that the driver was operating within the scope of their employment.

Considering vicarious liability is important when contemplating a lawsuit, as you will want all available resources at your disposal to recover the compensation that you need for your injuries. If you have questions about how vicarious liability may apply in your case and who you should name in your lawsuit, we recommend that you discuss your concerns with an experienced Indianapolis trucking accident attorney.

When to File a Lawsuit Against a Trucking Company in Indiana

If you were recently injured in an accident involving a commercial truck on the roads of Indiana and believe you may have the grounds for a lawsuit, you must file your claim within a specific time window or risk losing out on your ability to recover.

Under Indiana’s statute of limitations, personal injury victims who hope to sue a trucking company must file their initial complaint in court no more than two years after the date of the accident in question. Without meeting one of the few narrow exceptions to the statute of limitations, a lawsuit filed after the statutory period has expired will almost certainly be dismissed, leaving the victim without the ability to recover the financial compensation that they deserve.

Our Indiana Trucking Accident Attorneys Can Help You File Your Lawsuit Today

The clock on your case is already ticking. Contact the seasoned Fort Wayne trucking accident lawyers at Wruck Paupore for your free case evaluation by calling (219) 322-1166 today.

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Top-Rated Litigator.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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