If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to a truck accident, you have the right to fight for your rights. A large-truck accident can be devastating for the occupants of the other, smaller vehicles affected. With the right attorneys on your side, you can stand up for yourself and your loved ones.
According to The Indianapolis Star, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reported 218,112 roadway crashes with 911 fatalities in 2017 alone. Of those crashes, commercial vehicles -including large trucks, pickup trucks, combination vehicles and buses- were involved in 16,910 of those accidents, resulting in 152 fatalities and 3,297 injuries.
While some of those fatalities and injuries involved the truck or commercial vehicle operator, the NHTSA reports 72 percent of the fatalities in large-truck accidents during 2016 were occupants of other vehicles while 11 percent were nonoccupants, such as bicyclists and pedestrians.
Living in the Crossroads of America has its advantages and disadvantages but being the victim of a truck accident and having the burden of its physical and financial toll shouldn’t have to be one of them. If you are in a commercial truck accident in Indiana, it is important that you take steps to protect your right to recover compensation for damages, which are often significant and traumatic due to the larger vehicles involved.
Contact Poynter & Bucheri, LLC by calling 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 for your free consultation with one of our experienced Indiana truck accident lawyers. Learn how our PBAR legal team can help you recover the money you deserve after a commercial truck accident.
Why Are Large Truck Accidents Dangerous?
The average car weighs about 2,871 pounds without occupants. The average truck? It weighs anywhere from 10,000 pounds to over 33,000 pounds. Now imagine a large truck -even on its smaller, 10,000-pound scale- traveling at highway speeds. Imagine you and maybe your family in your four-door.
In a collision, a passenger vehicle is no match for the size and weight of a large truck. The commercial truck can easily crush or demolish a passenger vehicle, even in slow-speed collisions.
When fully loaded, a truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds and is 60 to 70 feet long and eight to nine feet wide. When compared to the passenger vehicle, it becomes clear how large trucks cause the destruction and devastation they do in traffic accidents.
Even minor traffic violations can result in tragedy when large trucks and high speeds are involved. Something as seemingly insignificant as failing to signal when passing can result in a massive, multi-vehicle accident. Other common causes of car and truck collisions include:
- Improper or multi-lane merging
- Failing to accelerate sufficiently when passing a truck
- Not taking a truck’s braking distance into account when passing or merging
- Failing to take a truck’s blind spots, or “no zone,” into account
- Distracted driving, such as using a cell phone or messing with music or your dashboard
- Driving while overtired
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
In addition, certain road conditions can create or contribute to crashes, such as:
- Weather conditions such as heavy rain, sleet, snow and icy roads
- Roads in poor condition, such as those with potholes
- Construction zones and reduced or changing speed limits
- Interstate highways that transition into city streets and reduced speeds
- Road closures and delays
Residents of Indianapolis and surrounding areas know how frequently Hoosier weather can be unpredictable, resulting in difficult driving and the need for construction work zones as weather-damaged roads are repaired or closed.
In 2019, more than $2 billion is scheduled to be “invested in highway maintenance” with more than 1,100 projects planned throughout the state of Indiana - a record number and all part of a plan to invest $10 billion in Indiana roads in the next five years. While the long-term results will be smoother, better-kept roads, the short-term result is a lot of road closures, delays and detours—all large-truck crash contributors.
When Do Most Large-Truck Accidents Occur?
According to a recent Arizona study, the most common time for fatal truck accidents to occur is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., with a peak of accidents happening at 1 p.m. That’s right, in the middle of the day, with plenty of other vehicles on the road.
This same study finds “failure to yield the right of way” is the most cited truck driver behavior responsible for fatal trucking accidents. Other top-cited failures include careless driving, improper use or changing of lanes, failure to observe and obey traffic signs and signals, overcorrecting and erratic vehicle operation.
Even experienced drivers get into accidents and even defensive drivers make mistakes. No matter the vehicle in question -whether you refer to it as a commercial truck, a large truck, a semi-trailer, an 18-wheeler, a big rig or a tractor-trailer- the potential for traumatic and life-threatening injuries in a truck accident is very real.
Breaking Down the Numbers: Large-Truck Accidents
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found deaths from large-truck accidents were at their highest level in 29 years, despite the overall traffic fatality rate declining.
Perhaps this is due to the large dependency the United States has on large trucks, as nearly 70% of all freight is transported via truck in the U.S. This means that trucks transport up to $671 billion of manufactured and retail goods in the United States each year.
In addition, evidence reported the United States Department of Transportation’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017 finds:
- Indiana had 119 fatal crashes involving large trucks.
- Approximately 57% of all fatal large-truck-involved crashes took place in rural areas.
- Approximately 27% of all fatal large-truck-involved crashes took place on interstate highways.
- Approximately 13% of all fatal large-truck-involved crashes took place on rural interstate highways.
- The vast majority of fatal crashes (83%) and nonfatal crashes (88%) involving large trucks occurred on weekdays (Monday through Friday).
- The largest percent of fatal crashes happened on Thursdays, with 756 or 17.8% occurring.
- The next two most frequent days for fatal crashes were Friday, with 716 crashes (16.9%) and Tuesday with 701 (16.5%)
- Sunday and Saturday saw the lowest percentages of fatal crashes, with only 6.8% occurring on Sundays and 9.9% of fatal crashes occurring on Saturdays.
- Less than half (35%) of all fatal crashes, 22% of injury crashes and only 20% of property-damage-only crashes that involved large trucks took place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Of all work zone fatal crashes, 30% involved at least one large truck.
- Of all work zone injury crashes, 12% involved at least one large truck.
Results of the study show for every million people in the United States, there were 13 fatal large truck crashes in 2017, a number that increased by 23 percent from 2016. Up to 91 percent of fatal crashes in 2017 had only one fatality. While any fatality is one too many, up to 82 percent of those deaths were not occupants of the large trucks.
So what does all of this mean? It means large-truck accidents will inevitably occur, they are on the rise in the United States and overwhelmingly, the victims most affected are those in passenger vehicles.
It could be you. It could be your loved one. And if it is, you will need excellent legal counsel to help secure compensation and represent your interests. Contact Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery for a free case review with one of our qualified truck accident attorneys.
The Many Tolls of Truck Accidents in Indiana
The types of bodily injuries most commonly resulting from a truck accident range from broken bones to back, shoulder, spinal and brain injuries. While these are preferable by far to fatalities, the physical, emotional and financial toll they take can be devastating to a person and their family.
The physical injuries sustained from large-truck crashes often require urgent medical treatment, meaning ambulance and emergency services are often necessary. Following medical care on the scene, people who suffer injury as a result of large-truck accidents often require diagnosis and treatment by a variety of doctors at hospitals and outpatient facilities. Sometimes they must endure treatment for months following the crash.
The average cost of an ambulance dispatchment in Indianapolis is determined by the 911 call. Depending whether you receive a “Basic Life Support” or an “Advanced Life Support” response, your ambulance could cost anywhere from $2,006.46 to $2,286.59. Because of the often catastrophic results of large-truck accidents, you would most likely receive an ALS response, meaning your bill could be well over $2,000 even before a doctor treats you.
If your accident occurs outside of a city, airlifting could be involved to a local hospital, resulting in even higher paramedic and transportation costs.
The average emergency room bill in Indiana is $2,200. Compared to $800 in nearby states, Indiana’s healthcare costs are higher than other Midwestern states. This means in Indiana, before receiving additional personalized treatment, your healthcare costs from being involved in a large-truck accident can easily reach $5,000.
When factoring in the possibility of surgeries, anesthesia, physical therapy and follow-up, medical costs could reach as high as $100,000 or more.
Additionally, the mental and emotional toll those involved in vehicular accidents face is great and can continue to affect them for years to come. According to one study, Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs) are the top cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general public, with 39.2 percent of all involved in a motor vehicle accident developing PTSD.
In addition to medical costs, you and your family may also deal with the cost of your destroyed vehicle and personal items as well as the possibility of lost wages due to medical recovery time.
Although you could lose your life in a worst-case scenario, you might also lose the ability to perform your current job entirely, meaning you also lose your livelihood. Such an emotional and financial strain on top of physical ailments should be compensated. The truck accident attorneys at PBAR can support you and your interests.
What Should I Do After a Commercial Truck Accident?
When a commercial truck accident occurs, it is extremely important to contact an Indianapolis truck accident attorney immediately. Trucking companies and their insurance providers begin investigating the crash scene quickly. They want to determine if they may be liable for damages and, if so, how they can mitigate those damages.
You need an equally aggressive team of legal professionals working to protect your legal rights as soon as possible. These massive corporations have teams of professionals working to protect their best interests; therefore, you need the PBAR legal team on your side to balance the playing field.
Investigating a Large Truck Accident
In most cases, large truck accident victims are unable to take pictures of the accident scene or gather information immediately after the crash because their injuries prevent them from doing so. Because of this fact, we want to begin investigating the crash as soon as possible. In a commercial truck accident, we want to put the trucking company and other parties on notice not to destroy or tamper with evidence.
A truck accident case involves federal laws and regulations; therefore, the evidence in a commercial truck accident case is different from the evidence in a passenger vehicle accident. Some of the evidence we want to secure as soon as possible includes:
- The truck’s Black Box information;
- Photographs and videos from the accident scene, including an on-board video from the truck;
- Eyewitness statements;
- Copies of truck maintenance reports and other information about the truck;
- Copies of the driver’s logs, driving history, training, medical information, and employee file;
- Physical evidence, including photographs and videos, of the truck before it is repaired or destroyed; and,
- Copies of police reports and investigation reports by state and federal agencies.
In addition to gathering evidence, our Indianapolis truck accident attorneys work with industry experts, technicians, engineers, and accident reconstructionists to determine the cause of the crash and to identify the liable parties.
You Can Talk to Someone Right Now About Your Case!
We want to begin working on your case now. Visit our contact page to request a free case review or chat with a representative 24/7 on our website. You can also call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 to speak with a member of the Poynter & Bucheri, LLC legal team.
Who is Responsible for a Large Truck Accident?
As with other traffic accidents, multiple parties could have some liability for the truck accident. Identifying the correct party is an essential requirement for recovering compensation for your damages. We begin by determining the cause of the crash. By determining how the crash occurred, we can identify who is responsible. In many cases, more than one party may be liable for the commercial truck accident. Our Indianapolis truck accident attorneys name each potential party to increase the chance that you receive maximum compensation for your truck accident claim.
Potential parties in a truck accident claim include:
- Truck Driver — Examples of driver errors that lead to truck accidents include distracted driving, impaired driving, fatigued driving, speeding, aggressive driving, and failing to check blind spots.
- Trucking Company — The company may be held liable if it required the driver to operate the vehicle more than the maximum driving hours, failed to maintain the truck, hired inexperienced drivers, did not adequately supervise drivers, failed to check an employee’s driving history, or was otherwise negligent.
- Parts and Trucks Manufacturers — These companies may be held liable if defective parts contributed to the crash.
- Repair Shops and Service Companies — Using the wrong parts, faulty repairs, and improper maintenance could result in a claim against these companies.
- Loading Company — If a tractor-trailer is improperly loaded, the cargo can shift causing the driver to lose control.
- Government Entities — Accidents involving hazardous or dangerous road conditions can lead to a claim against the government if the conditions led to or were a factor in the cause of the crash.
Fatal accidents involving large trucks increased by 5.4 percent in 2016. The number of large trucks involved in collisions in Indiana also increased from 2015 to 2016. If you are injured or you have lost a loved one in a large truck accident, call Poynter & Bucheri, LLC for a free consultation to discuss your options for filing an Indiana truck accident claim.
What Damages Can I Win From A Truck Accident Claim?
Like the injured in passenger vehicle accidents, the injured in commercial vehicle accidents can seek multiple types of damages. The attorneys at PBAR can work with you to determine what you can recover in terms of compensation. Some examples of the types of damage you can seek include:
- Car and Property Damage
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Income
- Compensation for Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death
How Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery Can Help
Our experienced truck accident attorneys are here to help you understand your rights after an accident involved a truck. We help you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life. If you’re suffering physical pain, financial devastation, emotional trauma and other effects from the accident, don’t suffer in silence.
We’re here to provide a smooth legal process and help you hold the right person and/or company responsible for your injuries. We’ll give you a voice in the Indiana legal system and help you get every penny you deserve.
We Specialize in Helping Victims Like You Who Have Been Injured by Accidents Involving Large Trucks!
If you are injured or you have lost a loved one in a large-truck accident, call Poynter & Bucheri, LLC at 1-800-265-9881, for a free consultation to discuss your options for filing an Indiana truck accident claim.