Tractor-trailer Accident Lawyers in Indiana
LEGAL HELP FOR INDIANA TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS
The Hoosier State is well-covered by highways, leading to the major population areas within the state and to the rest of the United States. Indiana, famous for its auto races and farmland, is a big agricultural producer as well as a steel producer. These industries ship their goods via the U.S. interstate highway system through the use of the trucking industry. The majority of these products are moved within and out of the state through semi-trucks.
Unfortunately, large trucks are the culprits of thousands of motor vehicle traffic crashes each year. In Indiana alone, 129 people lost their lives in a trucking accident in 2014. Most Indiana trucking accidents are avoidable and unnecessary, and countless lives may have been spared if truck drivers and trucking companies adhered to the guidelines set to keep you and your loved ones safe on the roadways.
When the unthinkable tragedy happens to your family, you need a law firm that is ready to serve your best interests from the first time we meet. And don’t worry — if you cannot make it to our office, our injury attorneys can visit your home, hospital, or place of work wherever you reside in Indiana. Our team of experienced lawyers are accessible 24/7, nights and weekends to hear your concerns and evaluate your claim.
THE LEGAL RESOURCES YOU NEED TO WIN YOUR INDIANA TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
In order to successfully take on big trucking companies, you need a firm with the necessary financial resources to do so. Thomas J. Henry ensures your case is handled with care from intake to resolution. The firm’s resources and decades of experience allow us to assist you efficiently and effectively every step of the way.
- Our firm conducts business with state-of-the-art technology in an environment where efficiency and effectiveness are paramount. From the first time a new client visits our office (or we visit you), a complete case profile is active in our modern computer system. We understand the importance of technology to your case, so we employ the leading-edge solutions for case management, client interaction, and information security. Our attorneys can access your files with speed and security from anywhere in the world with a click of a mouse. We want to ensure you receive the most up-to-date information possible and have an advocate to hear your concerns at a moment’s notice.
- Our experienced Indiana trucking injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends. Our attorneys are accessible from any part of the world, and because our firm can access your case files remotely, attorneys can hold meetings, draft and review documents, and store or share files at anytime from anywhere. We have access to jet services, satellite technology, and cutting-edge mobile technologies to provide efficient, dynamic representation for our clients. If you cannot make it to our offices, we can come to you at your home, office, or hospital in Indiana.
- Expert witnesses
- Trucking experts serve as witnesses in commercial trucking litigation matters, providing experts reports and testimony for judges, attorneys, law firms, and government agencies in Federal and State court trials and arbitration. It is vital to find the right expert and the best expert witnesses for your case. Each expert witness we engage has been thoroughly examined and questioned before ever participating in your case. Our firm has spent a tremendous amount of time selecting only the best experts from across the nation.
- Expert witnesses in an Indiana trucking accident case may include:
- Accident investigation experts
- FMCSA compliance consultants
- Accident reconstructionists
- Forensic scientists
- General equipment technical experts
- Doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals
I’VE BEEN IN A TRUCKING ACCIDENT — WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Trucking accidents can leave you stunned and disoriented, and if you’ve been injured, it may be overwhelming and hard to handle. After ensuring your safety, there are steps to take to preserve your rights as a trucking injury victim in Indiana. Trucking accidents can be very complex, making it important to record facts from the accident and to try and protect evidence. Thomas J. Henry knows how truck drivers and companies operate, and we are there to help you after the accident to preserve your rights.
The following are tips to protect your personal well-being and your rights as a trucking accident victim.
- Stop immediately after the crash and assess the situation
- Accidents can be disorienting. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Make sure it is safe outside your vehicle before attempting to exit.
- Make the accident visible
- Use your vehicle hazard lights, set out reflectors, or use road flares to signal to other motorists that there is a crash scene approaching.
- Notify the police
- Contact your local police department or call 911 if there is an emergency. Filing a police report is an important step in filing insurance claims. Be sure that paramedics arrive on the scene to care for any injuries sustained in the crash.
- Record the facts and take pictures
- Speak with responding officers and be as accurate as possible, but do not speculate about facts surrounding the accident or any injuries you may have incurred. In addition, take pictures of damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, any injuries you or passengers suffered, or anything else that may help your case in the future.
- Gather and exchange information
- Collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses to the crash. Obtain the insurance information of all drivers involved, too.
- Seek medical attention
- Sometimes injuries or pain from the accident won’t become apparent until days after the crash. If you are uncertain if you suffered an injury, err on the side of caution and get a check-up from your physician.
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Contact your insurance company as soon as you can. As your claim is processed, keep a log of any medical expenses or crash-related expenses as well as any changes in health. Avoid speaking with other insurance companies or trucking company claims adjusters. If you have retained or plan on retaining a trucking injury lawyer, refer these companies to them.
- Contact an experienced Indiana trucking accident attorney
- Attorneys are responsible for protecting your rights as an accident victim and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys will immediately work to obtain and preserve evidence from the accident, give you legal advice, and ensure you receive ample medical attention. Our Indiana truck accident lawyers will make sure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire process, from the first day you meet to the drop of the gavel.
WHO CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURIES?
In the case of an Indiana trucking accident, several parties could potentially be negligent. Negligent parties may include:
- A truck driver
- Trucking company
- Commercial vehicle manufacturer
Knowing who and where to sue is absolutely crucial to your case. Our truck accident attorneys are experienced in determining exactly which party is negligent and who can be sued. In some cases, trucking injury victims may have grounds to recover actual and punitive damages, which can compensate them for all expenses which have occurred since the accident and will occur in the future.
No matter who is found negligent in your case, our team has handled a multitude of serious trucking accidents. Decades of experience coupled with financial resources help us assist our clients in achieving the compensation they deserve for the pain and suffering they experienced. We understand how truck drivers and trucking companies are supposed to handle themselves, and if they broke the law and caused you or a loved one to be injured, we will bring them to justice and make Indiana roads a bit safer, too.
COMMON CAUSES OF INDIANA TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
When truck drivers skirt the law and fail to abide by commercial motor vehicle rules and regulations, you and your loved ones are put in danger on the roadways. In 2014, an estimated 111,000 people were injured in a crash involving a large truck. Many of these injuries could have been prevented entirely if truck drivers obeyed the laws made to keep us safe.
Tractor-trailer accidents often result in massive, catastrophic injuries and death because of the vast size and weight differential between commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles. Minor traffic infractions by trucks can turn deadly in the blink of an eye. Common violations that cause trucking accidents in Indiana include:
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to perform inspections on their vehicles at the beginning and end of every driving shift. Even the smallest mechanical mishap could cause a tragic accident with a 40-ton semi traveling at 65 mph or more.
- Parking on the shoulder
- Improper turning
- Unsecured loads
- Driver fatigue
- A study conducted by the AAA Foundation showed that driving with only four or five hours of sleep increased the risk of a crash as much as having a blood alcohol content between .12 and .15 (and .04 is the legal limit for commercial motor vehicle operators).
- Distracted driving
- Improper lane changing
- Following too closely
- In the United States, semis can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. The average stopping distance for a loaded truck traveling at 55 mph is 196 feet, compared to 133 feet for a regular automobile. Adverse weather conditions only further increase the risk of an accident.
- Impaired driving
WHAT ARE ECM AND GPS DEVICES?
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Electronic Control Modules (ECM) are installed in many commercial motor vehicles and other vehicles regulated by the Department of Transportation. These electronic systems are designed to record and track the movement of the truck, including how fast a truck was speeding before the moment of impact. This information can be crucial in a trucking accident case. ECM and GPS can also show the habits of the truck driver and display which routes he or she took prior to an accident.
Because we know how truck drivers and trucking companies operate, we will immediately file a lawsuit and restraining order to obtain the ECM and GPS data. In addition, our trucking injury lawyers will acquire the truck driver’s Federal Motor Carrier required documents. These pieces of information are paramount in proving fault and negligence in your potential trucking accident and ultimately achieving the verdict or settlement that you deserve for your injuries.
FEDERAL GUIDELINES HELP PREVENT INDIANA TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
Trucking companies and their drivers are required to adhere to a variety of regulations that have been put in place to keep everybody safe on the roadways. These regulations are found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Serious trucking accidents are an unfortunate and preventable result of truck drivers failing to follow these regulations.
Every truck driver is required to obtain a commercial driver’s license, or CDL. Drivers with a CDL are held to higher standards than regular driver’s license holders, meaning they can have their licensure suspended or revoked by committing serious traffic violations. Important commercial motor vehicle regulations include:
- Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
- In Indiana, commercial motor vehicle operators must be 18 years of age or older to drive within the state.
- To be eligible for a CDL, drivers must have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.
- Prior to obtaining a CDL, drivers must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and hold it for 14 days.
- In order to obtain a commercial learner’s permit, drivers must be cleared by a qualified medical examiner that they are physically able to operate a commercial vehicle.
- For commercial motor vehicle operators, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .04, compared to .08 for regular drivers.
- Truck drivers are banned from using handheld mobile phones while driving. Trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use handheld devices while driving.
- Drivers are prohibited from holding a CDL issued by more than one state or jurisdiction.
HOURS OF SERVICE REGULATIONS
One of the leading causes of truck accidents is drowsy or fatigued drivers. Insufficient sleep can have the same negative effects on driving as consuming alcohol. The Hours of Service (HOS) regulations attempt to prevent drowsy truck drivers from getting behind the wheel. Property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,
- may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
- may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED INDIANA TRUCKING ACCIDENT AND INJURY ATTORNEY
Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has helped trucking injury victims from across the United States for decades. Year after year, Thomas J. Henry is recognized for achieving record-breaking results for injured clients. Our results speak loudly of the success that our experienced trucking injury attorneys have achieved for injured clients. Experienced injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to respond to your trucking accident inquiries. If you have been injured in an Indiana trucking accident, contact Thomas J. Henry.
Disclaimer: Any summary, description, or paraphrase of a regulatory requirement on this site is intended to provide general guidance only. Please consult the text of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a full account of the applicable requirements.