March 14, 2018
A heavy duty semi-truck can weigh more than 33,000 pounds. If you are involved in an accident with a semi, any injuries you may obtain will likely be severe.
If you were injured in a semi-truck accident, an experienced semi truck accident attorney can help determine which parties are liable, so you can recover damages including medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Recovering Damages from the Liable Party’s Insurance Company
Semi-truck accidents are handled differently than car accidents not only because the amount of damage is usually greater, but also because there are several parties that could share liability.
You can recover damages—property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of wages— by filing a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. But in order to do so, you must first determine who has liability for the semi accident.
There are multiple parties who may be financially responsible for your damages, including:
- The truck driver, if he or she was driving while intoxicated, drowsy, or distracted.
- The trucking company, if the truck driver wasn’t thoroughly vetted before hiring or doesn’t possess the necessary credentials to operate a commercial truck.
- The truck manufacturer, if mechanical parts on the truck failed to perform.
- The company that loaded the truck if improper loading caused the truck to overturn or crash.
Because the truck driver is on the clock whenever he or she operates the vehicle, the trucking company may be found negligent if the truck driver was driving dangerously. The trucking company may also share liability if they have shady employment practices—like making their drivers spend too many hours on the road, or hiring drivers without the proper driving certifications.
Truck drivers usually have personal liability insurance, which you could use to recover damages. However, the truck driver’s company may be a more appropriate avenue for you to seek compensation. Because there are so many parties who could potentially be at fault, a semi truck accident attorney can help injured victims determine the best course of action to receive compensation for their injuries.
What to Do after a Semi Accident
It is very important to establish that you were not at fault, or minimally at fault, for the semi accident. Indiana is a fault state. The percent of fault you have for the semi accident will affect how much money you’ll be able to recover in damages.
If you were in an accident with a semi, your first call should be 911 so you can begin treatment for your injuries. Then you should call the police. The police will file a police report which will list who was at fault for the accident.
If you are not too injured to do so, you should gather evidence of the semi accident, like photos and eyewitness contact information.
Be sure to take lots of photos of the accident. Photos will help investigators recreate what happened at the scene. And if an insurance investigator omits details about the semi accident, you will have photographs to help prove your side.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask them to give their statement to the police. If they can’t stay, collect their contact information if you can so you can get their statement later. They can also call the non-emergency police number and leave their statement later.
Semis are required to use an electronic logging device, or ELD, that automatically monitors how many hours the truck is moving. If the driver had been driving for too many hours, or if they claim that they weren’t moving at the time of the accident, the ELD can confirm whether or not the information is correct.
Help from a Semi Truck Accident Attorney
As the trucking industry changes, the options for financial recovery after a semi truck accident change with it. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that some of these changes will be for the better. However, some will bring a new set of problems.
If you’ve been injured in a semi truck accident, call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free conversation about your case.