Semi-Truck Accidents Explained: Here Are 5 Things to Keep in Mind
When you’re the victim of a semi-truck accident, it’s natural to wonder what to do next. When you understand the law and how the legal system works for accident victims, you can do the right things to protect yourself. Here are the answers to five common semi-truck accident questions:
Is Indiana a no-fault state?
Indiana is an at-fault state for semi-truck accidents. Because Indiana is an at-fault state, you can bring a claim for recovery any time the semi-truck driver is legally liable for your injuries. There are no special rules about collecting first from your own insurance or any requirements about certain types of injuries. You can seek compensation from the semi-truck driver any time they’re legally responsible for the accident.
What do I have to prove to win?
To win your case, you show that the semi-truck driver caused your injuries by driving in a negligent, reckless or intentionally harmful way. You don’t have to prove that the other driver caused the accident on purpose. Instead, you have to show that the semi-truck driver acted without reasonable care and caution in a way that caused your injuries. Because they drive large vehicles for commercial purposes, semi-truck drivers have very high standards to drive carefully on the road. If they’re not careful and the result is that you suffer injuries, you may receive compensation.
What if I might have done something that added to the accident?
It may still be possible to bring a claim for compensation after a semi-truck accident even if you think your actions may have contributed to the accident. Under Indiana law, you can still win compensation as long as you’re not more than 50 percent to blame for the crash. You can present evidence at trial in order to explain the events leading up to the accident to the jury.
Can I still bring my case if there’s a criminal case?
A semi-truck accident may result in a criminal case against the semi-truck driver. The driver may face charges of drunk driving, reckless driving or other criminal offenses. Even if the state’s attorney brings criminal charges against the semi-truck driver, there are several reasons to pursue a civil claim in addition to the criminal charges.
The standards for proof are different in criminal and civil cases. You can win your case even if the driver doesn’t receive a conviction for criminal charges. In a civil case, you control the presentation of evidence. In addition, there are broader categories of damages that you can claim in a civil case than are available to a victim in a criminal case.
Is there a way to hold the driver’s employer responsible?
The best course of action may be to bring a claim against the driver and their employer. Corporations who employ semi-truck drivers have a duty to employ safe drivers. They must make sure their employees are qualified drivers and that they employ safe practices like getting enough rest. If the employer’s failures led to the accident, the employer may be liable as well as the driver.
Navigating after a semi-truck accident
A semi-truck accident can be a life-changing experience that leaves you frustrated and confused. Indiana’s at-fault system allows victims to seek compensation when they’re hurt because of a semi-truck accident. Your time to bring a claim may be limited. General legal principles of negligence apply to semi-truck accident cases. In some cases, the driver’s employer may also share legal liability.