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Can I Sue a Semi Truck Driver for Causing an Accident in Indiana?

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Can I Sue a Semi Truck Dr…

Semi truck accidents in Indiana are some of the most dangerous collisions on the road and often result from driver error. If you were injured in a semi truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you are entitled to recover monetary damages in Indiana.

Semi truck drivers who violate traffic laws or otherwise behave unreasonably while out on the road may incur liability for the harms they cause in an accident. However, you and your attorney should always consider the possibility that the cause of the accident can actually be traced to the trucking company’s negligence rather than the individual driver. In any case, you do not have long to consider who to sue, as your case is subject to a two-year filing window, and you need to act much faster than that to preserve critical evidence.

If you were hit by a semi truck in Indiana, our attorneys may be able to help. For a free case evaluation, call the Indiana truck accident attorneys at Wruck Paupore today at (219) 322-1166.

When is a Semi Truck Driver Liable for an Accident in Indiana?

Driving a semi truck is a challenging undertaking that requires experience, skill, and diligent attention on the road. When a semi truck driver behaves negligently behind the wheel, they put everyone else in their vicinity at serious risk. If their negligence results in an accident that injures others, the injury victims may have the ability to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in an Indiana court.

To prove that a semi truck driver is liable for your injuries, you will have to show that they acted negligently while driving. You must also show that this negligence caused the accident, leaving you injured.

Proving negligence in a semi truck accident case is in some ways similar to proving negligence in other auto collision case. In most cases, if the semi truck driver violated traffic laws, this is a good indicator that they were at fault for the accident. However, plaintiffs do not need to be able to prove that the semi truck driver broke the law to recover in a suit for negligence. Unreasonable behavior behind the wheel, such as failing to account for weather conditions that affect the road surface, is also grounds for negligence.

Unlike other accident cases, interstate trucking drivers are also subject to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, a set of federal law and standards that place unique duties on semi truck drivers to increase their safety on the road. This includes things such as limits to hours of operation, driving log requirements, and other requirements unique to over-the-road truck drivers. These rules can be extremely complex but can also be critical to your right to monetary recovery. It is important that your lawyers understand these rules.

The negligent driving must have also been the cause of the accident. Proving this can be complicated in some cases, as accidents involving semi trucks often involve more than two vehicles, calling into question the behavior of the other vehicles involved. It may be that, even though your vehicle was hit by a semi truck, the actual accident was caused by another driver’s negligence.

When is a Trucking Company Liable for an Accident in Indiana?

There are some instances where a trucking company is the party at fault for an accident involving their driver or vehicle. Trucking companies are directly liable for accidents caused by their own negligence. There are several scenarios where the trucking company is actually to blame.

Negligent Hiring and Retention

Trucking companies are responsible for hiring and training their drivers. While all truck drivers require a commercial driving license (CDL) before getting behind the wheel of a semi truck, there are a number of different types of semi trucks that require different sets of knowledge to operate effectively. A trucking company that puts a driver without the necessary experience behind the wheel of a particular truck may be liable for harm that results from the driver’s inexperience or lack of training.

Negligent Cargo Loading

Another example of trucking company negligence is poor cargo loading practices. For a semi truck to operate safely and effectively on the road, the cargo it is transporting must be properly loaded, secured and of an appropriate weight. Cargo that shifts or becomes loose in transit could affect the vehicle's balance or, even worse, fall off and strike other vehicles on the road. In these cases, the trucking company may be at fault, but there may also be shipper liability if the shipper loaded the cargo onto the truck.

Negligent Inspection and Maintenance

Trucking companies are also typically responsible for inspecting the actual vehicle for maintenance issues that could malfunction on the road. In some cases, however, this responsibility could be offloaded to a truck maintenance contractor.

Vicarious Liability

Even without direct negligence, trucking companies are often indirectly liable for the negligent behavior of their drivers on the road. The doctrine of vicarious liability allows plaintiffs to sue the defendant’s employer for the negligent and harmful behavior that the employee defendant committed while on the job. Discuss your case with a lawyer for help determining whether there is an employer or trucking company you can add to the lawsuit under these rules.

How Long Do I Have to Sue a Semi Truck Driver for an Accident in Indiana?

Your ability to sue for your injuries after a semi truck accident does not last forever. The State of Indiana uses a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims stemming from auto accidents. This means that you must typically file your initial complaint in court no more than two years from the date of the accident.

Missing your deadline under the statute of limitations will likely mean the dismissal of your case, so it is important that you reach out to your Hammond truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.

However, it is critical to take action long before this time in order to preserve critical evidence. Our firm uses a rapid response team to preserve evidence following semi-accident cases. If we are retained immediately following an accident, this team can be on scene within hours of the accident happening in order to make sure that evidence crucial to your recovery is preserved.

Call Our Indiana Attorneys Today if You’ve Been Injured by a Semi Truck Driver

If you have been injured in a semi truck accident in Indiana, our lawyers are prepared to help. Call us today for a free case review. Contact the Indianapolis truck accident lawyers at Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.

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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.

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