Determining Fault After an Indiana Semi Truck Accident
The trucking industry is a crucial part of our society. Every day, thousands of trucks on the roads transport goods across the country. However, as integral as the commercial trucking industry is to the economy, these large trucks can also cause significant damage and devastating injuries when accidents occur.
In 2020, over 100,000 large trucks were involved in accidents that resulted in injury, and 5,000 of those accidents resulted in fatalities.
Aside from the damage and injuries that semi truck accidents can cause, these types of accident cases can also be challenging when it comes to filing claims and determining fault. When a semi truck accident occurs, it is not necessarily the truck driver that is responsible. There could be other potentially liable parties involved, which can make it difficult to resolve the case and reach a settlement.
At Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery, our Indianapolis semi truck accident lawyers know what it takes to handle these types of cases and hold the right party liable. We have years of experience helping victims of semi truck accidents win their cases and get the full and fair settlement they deserve.
Potentially Liable Parties in a Semi Truck Accident
It’s not uncommon with semi truck accidents for the injured parties involved to assume the truck driver is to blame for negligent driving. While this may be true on some occasions, there are a few other parties who could be to blame for the accident, and it’s important to understand who these potentially liable parties could be so you know exactly who to file the accident claim against.
Possible parties that can be held liable for a semi truck accident include the following:
- The Truck Driver: If the semi truck accident happened because the truck driver was speeding, failing to signal lane changes, or driving negligently in any other manner, then they will likely be the one to blame for the accident.
- The Truck Company: The company that hired the truck driver could also be held liable. They are responsible for the drivers they employ, and they are responsible for making sure all Federal trucking regulations are being followed. If the company hired a negligent driver or disobeyed trucking regulations, then they could be the at-fault party.
- The Shipping or Cargo Company: In some cases, the shipping or cargo company responsible for packaging and loading the shipment onto the truck could be held liable. If they did not package or load the cargo safely and properly, the fault could be traced back to them.
- The Truck Parts Manufacturer: If the semi truck accident happens due to a defect or malfunction with the truck itself, then the company that manufactured the truck could be the one to blame.
- The Truck Mechanic: Mechanical failures can happen with these large commercial trucks, and if the failure is the result of a mistake made by the mechanic or repair shop, they could be the ones held liable.
Determining Fault in an Accident Involving a Semi Truck
Determining fault in a semi truck accident often requires some experienced digging to uncover evidence. There are a lot of things that can help determine who is ultimately responsible for the accident, but obtaining that information is not easy without the help of an attorney.
The process of determining fault can also vary slightly depending if it is the police getting involved or the insurance company. Typically, both the police and the insurance company will be involved, but they will have their own separate ways of doing things.
How Do Police Determine Fault in an Accident?
The police do not have the same end goal in mind as the insurance company when determining fault. The police will gather evidence primarily with the purpose of discovering if anyone involved in the accident committed a negligent act or a crime so they can serve the proper punishment, such as a citation or a misdemeanor charge.
They will do this by talking to those involved in the accident, gathering witness statements, and looking at video surveillance footage or videos and photos captured by cell phones. They may also look into driving records or the records of the trucking company.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault in an Accident?
In contrast, insurance companies gather evidence to discover who was at fault and how much money is owed to the victims. They often still look into the evidence as the police, but they are doing so with the intention of discovering who caused the accident and what damages they caused to ultimately determine the settlement award.
Such evidence that the insurance company will use to determine fault and how much compensation the victims of the accident are owed may include:
- Copies of the police reports
- Video and photographic evidence from the scene of the accident
- Video surveillance footage
- Eye witness statements
- Truck driver logs
- ELD (black box) data from the truck
- Employee records for the truck driver
- Truck maintenance records
- Documents/information about the cargo or shipping company
- Car/property damage
- Medical documents that show proof of injuries
While the police are often instrumental in personal injury claim cases, it typically comes down to the insurance company and what they decide based on the evidence provided. If the insurance company feels there is insufficient evidence to prove what happened, they can deny the claim or offer a reduced settlement that does not fully or fairly compensate the victim. This is why working with an attorney to obtain as much evidence as possible is crucial.
Consult With an Indianapolis Semi Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a semi truck accident, the team at Poynter & Bucheri can help. We know what it takes to obtain evidence from the trucking company and any other important information to ensure the right party is held accountable and to ensure the insurance company awards you the high-value settlement you deserve.
Don’t hesitate — an experienced Indiana Semi Truck accident attorney can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.