When a large commercial truck and passenger vehicle collide, most people assume the accident was caused by driver error—whether on the part of the commercial driver or motorist.
However, while tractor-trailer accidents due to driver error are common, trucks also crash as a result of defective components more often than people realize.
In fact, vehicle failure is identified as a contributing factor in nearly 30 percent of all truck accidents and approximately 33 percent of collisions involving both commercial and passenger vehicles, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) groundbreaking Large Truck Crash Causation Study.
If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident caused by a defective component, an experienced Indianapolis truck accident lawyer can investigate your case and help you explore your legal options.
How Our Law Firm Helps Build Your Case
A truck accident case will require a plethora of evidence, some of which can be hard to access on your own. When we handle your case, we take care of building your case for you. Our team will:
- Calculate the financial value of your case
- Review your case to identify the liable party(s)
- Investigate and collect relevant evidence
- Complete and submit all case-related paperwork
- Communicate with the liable party’s insurer
- Request the truck’s maintenance records
- Request testing of the truck’s parts and components
We will also handle the negotiation process from start to finish. Our goal is to help you avoid the time and expense of a lengthy trial whenever possible. We will take your case to court, though, if that is the only way to ensure you get the compensation you are due.
Common Truck Defects
Degraded braking capability and brake or tire failure are the defects that cause the most truck accidents, according to the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Other mechanical or equipment defects that can cause or contribute to serious truck crashes include:
- Wheel defects
- Steering column failure
- Engine failure
- Defective transmission
- Faulty lighting
- Defective trailer attachment systems
- Suspension failure
- Body, door, or hood failure
Defective Truck Components: Who’s Responsible?
Liability can be a complex issue in truck accident cases, particularly those in which a defective component is alleged to have caused the crash. Identifying the responsible party can be a challenge for many would-be plaintiffs, as fault depends largely on the circumstances of the defect and subsequent accident.
Many accidents caused by defective components can be divided into the following categories:
- Defective by design: Some components may have a flaw in their designs that prevents them from performing the intended function, regardless of the quality of manufacturing or the maintenance performed. If a design defect in a truck component results in an accident, the company that designed the component could potentially be liable.
- Defective by manufacturer: Other components may have been manufactured incorrectly, preventing them from working as designed. If a manufacturing error causes a component to fail, resulting in an accident, the manufacturer could possibly be liable for damages.
- Defective due to poor maintenance: Sometimes a component may fail or develop a defect if not maintained properly. The FMCSA requires commercial drivers and trucking companies to perform regular maintenance on their vehicles to make sure they’re safe and in good working order. If a truck driver or trucking company fails to perform mandated vehicle inspections or repair issues as they’re discovered, they could be held liable if an accident occurs due to the failure of a poorly-maintained component. However, if the company contracts truck maintenance to a third-party garage whose employees leave components in a defective state, the garage might be considered responsible for damages incurred in a related accident.
Victims who were seriously injured in truck accidents can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages sustained as a result of the crash. Common economic damages sought in truck accident cases include:
- Property damage
- Past and future medical costs related to injuries sustained in the accident
- Lost wages for the time the injuries kept the victim out of work
- Loss of earning potential if the injuries will prevent the victim from working permanently
Truck accident victims may also pursue a monetary award for non-economic damages, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Get Responsive Legal Service and Support at No Cost
“Their business model made it possible for me to actually file this lawsuit. If they required upfront payment, I would not have been able to go through with it. I would absolutely recommend this firm to anyone I knew who was injured.” — Lia T
The last thing you need to do after a truck accident is add new expenses to an already financially strained situation. Our injury law firm understands the financial predicament many injured clients face with growing medical bills and related expenses. That is why we work with you on a contingency-fee basis.
We take care of all upfront costs including hiring expert consultants from the medical and trucking industries and paying any filing or other fees required by the court. It means you have no out-of-pocket expenses and do not pay our firm anything unless and until we recover damages for you.
Personal Injury Law Is All We Do — Do Not Wait to Put Us to Work for You
The state of Indiana puts a time limit on your right to recover damages. In most personal injury cases, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file, according to IC § 34-11-2-4. Similarly, IC § 34-23-1-1 generally gives you two years from the date of a loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Several factors can cause you to miss the filing deadline including:
- Severe injuries that prohibit you from taking the necessary steps to take legal action
- Misunderstanding or being unaware of the deadline
- A change in the deadline you were not informed of
The statute of limitations in Indiana can be difficult to understand, in part because some circumstances of your accident can cause it to change. An injured minor, for example or the involvement of a government or municipality-owned or operated truck can lengthen or shorten the filing deadline or can mean you have additional deadlines to consider.
The best way to ensure compliance and avoid losing your ability to sue for compensation is to let our team handle it right from the beginning.
Do You Need Help Pursuing a Truck Accident Case?
Proving a truck accident was caused by a defective or failed commercial truck component often requires a thorough examination of the vehicle’s systems and analysis of the information from its event data record or black box.
This can make pursuing a truck accident personal injury case seem intimidating, but Randy Sevenish of Sevenish Law Firm, P..C. can walk you through every step of the civil litigation process. Contact Sevenish Law Firm, P.C.’s Indianapolis law office to schedule a free initial case consultation.