Truck accidents are some of the most dangerous and catastrophic types of motor vehicle accidents. Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, stand 14 feet tall, and have a much higher ground clearance than a regular passenger car. In comparison, a Ford Focus typically weighs about 3,000 pounds and stands 5 feet tall. The sheer size difference between the two types of vehicles can make it difficult for the smaller vehicle’s driver to anticipate or avoid an accident.
The consequences can be devastating, leaving victims with the physical and emotional trauma that may take months or even years to recover from. If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, you can hold various parties accountable, which we will go into more detail about below.
Truck Accidents Laws in Indiana
The commercial trucking industry in the United States is subject to a number of federal laws that aim to protect public safety and ensure the safe and legal operation of trucks. These regulations, which are outlined primarily in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, cover everything from maximum vehicle weight limits to drug and alcohol testing protocols.
These regulations include:
- Maximum vehicle weight limits
- Transportation of hazardous materials
- Drug and alcohol testing protocols
- Licensing requirements
- Vehicle inspections standards
- Emergency signal equipment requirements
- Prohibition against the use of hand-held devices while operating a commercial motor vehicle
The Indiana Department of Transportation requires truckers to obtain permission for oversized loads by obtaining a special permit, in addition to abiding by existing state and federal regulations.
In Indiana, the modified comparative fault rule is applied when a plaintiff and defendant are both partially responsible for a truck accident. This means that any damages awarded to the plaintiff will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Even if the plaintiff is only found to be slightly at fault, they could still lose out on some or all the damages awarded depending on their percentage of responsibility for the accident. If it is deemed that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault for the accident, then they are completely barred from recovering any damages from the other party.
It is, therefore, very important for those involved in truck accidents to understand this rule so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to pursue a legal claim against another party.
How Can a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Victims of a truck accident should seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in the complexities of truck accident cases. Most attorneys offer free consultations to review the case and provide victims with options on how to proceed. It’s important to choose a truck accident lawyer in Gary with a strong track record in litigating truck accident cases so that injured parties have the best chance of recovering damages.
Who Can Be At Fault for a Truck Accident?
When it comes to truck accidents, numerous parties can be liable, such as the driver of the truck, the owner of the vehicle, any company that leased the truck from its owner, and even the manufacturer of the truck components.
To prove fault by any of these parties, it must be demonstrated that they acted negligently and that their actions directly caused or contributed to the accident. Here are some parties that can be considered at fault in a truck accident:
- The truck driver: A plaintiff may need to demonstrate that a driver failed to exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicle, leading to an accident. This could include speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to abide by traffic laws and regulations, or failing to maintain proper maintenance on their vehicle.
- The owner of the Truck: If an individual owns a commercial vehicle used for business purposes, such as transporting goods or people, they must adhere to certain safety protocols in order for their vehicle(s) to remain legally compliant. If they fail to do so and an accident occurs as a result of this negligence, they can be held liable.
- The manufacturer of the truck components: In some cases, a manufacturer may have designed a defective product which leads directly or indirectly to an accident occurring. In this instance, they can be held liable for damages caused by their faulty equipment.
- The person who loaded the truck: Cargo loaders need to ensure that all items being loaded into a truck are distributed evenly and securely so they do not become unbalanced during transit, which could cause instability leading to an accident. In these situations, those responsible for loading can be found responsible under the law for causing harm due to negligence.
Feel Confident Moving Forward With Your Truck Accident Claim
Trucking companies are responsible for taking safety measures to ensure the safety of their drivers and other passengers on the road. Unfortunately, negligence on the part of these companies can lead to serious accidents and injuries.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you can feel confident moving forward with your claim. It’s important to remember that trucking companies must take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their drivers and other passengers on the road. If these precautions are not taken, there may be grounds for liability.