Indianapolis Truck Wreck Lawyers
In 1938, truck drivers were allowed to drive twelve hours in a row, and there was no maximum for hours on duty before a 30-minute rest break was required. As of March 2017—eight decades later—the laws were changed to allow eleven hours of consecutive driving after ten consecutive hours off duty for property-carrying truck drivers, and ten hours of consecutive driving after eight consecutive hours off duty for passenger-carrying truck drivers.
If you have ever driven eleven hours at a stretch, you are fully aware of the difficulties you encounter staying awake and alert. Truck drivers, however, do this on a daily basis, even though thirteen percent of all truck drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel while driving, and forty-five percent said they sometimes or often had trouble staying awake while driving. An FMCSA-sponsored study found that 48 percent of truck drivers admitted falling asleep while driving at least once during the prior year. Further results of this study include [The US House of Representatives has since removed the records of this testimony from their official website]:
- The crash risk for truck drivers increases exponentially after the 8th consecutive hour of driving.
- Truck drivers average six hours or less of sleep per night.
- Lack of sufficient sleep day in and day out results in cumulative sleep deprivation.
Electronic Log Books Make Enforcement of Hours of Service Easier
The implementation of electronic logbooks—which the trucking industry has fought hard against—will make it much more difficult for truck drivers to exceed their allowed hours of service. Since a large percentage of fatal trucking accidents can be tied to an overly fatigued truck driver, it would seem the trucking industry is more concerned with economic profits than the safety of Americans who share the roadways with truck drivers.
Our Cohen & Malad, LLP Indiana truck wreck personal injury attorneys are located in Indianapolis but represent clients across the state, including Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend and Terre Haute. Our attorneys have many years’ experience litigating personal injury claims which involve large trucks, as well as the necessary knowledge to successfully negotiate and litigate such cases.
Why Truck Accidents are Often Fatal or Leave Those Involved Severely Injured
The passengers in a car or pickup rarely fare well when involved in an accident with a large commercial truck. Considering that a commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds fully loaded—and can potentially be loaded with hazardous cargo as well—you can see why a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle has little protection in the event of a collision. Those who survive a truck accident are often unable to return to their prior job for months, years—or ever. They must deal with months, years, or a lifetime of medical interventions, rehabilitative therapies, surgical procedures, and may still not be able to return to the life they had prior to the accident.
Types of Truck Accidents
In addition to the large, commercial tractor-trailers most of us are familiar with—the trucks which deliver goods from east to west and north to south, logging hundreds of thousands of miles across the nation—there are also other types of large trucks. These include cement trucks and dump trucks, which tend to deliver loads locally, rather than nation-wide.
Complexities of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are much more complex than passenger-vehicle-only accidents. Driver training and experience come into play, as well as how well the driver was vetted by his or her trucking company. Whether the driver has exceeded the hours of service—and whether the trucking company was aware of this—as well as whether the truck driver was impaired, distracted, or driving recklessly will all be considered.
The truck itself may have had a design flaw, the cargo could have been carelessly loaded or improperly secured, or the truck maintenance company may have failed to perform regular maintenance on the truck. Because there can be so many factors involved in a truck accident, there are often multiple defendants in a truck accident claim.
Truck Driver Issues
The study listed above separated truck driver issues which could be responsible for a collision into four categories:
- If the truck driver was physically impaired for any reason, such as having a heart attack, seizure, or simply falling asleep, this was listed as “non-performance.”
- If the truck driver failed to adequately assess a situation or was distracted by something inside or outside the truck, the cause was listed as “recognition.”
- If the truck driver made an error in judgment, such as driving too fast for road or weather conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, or misjudging the distance it would take to stop, the cause was listed as “decision.”
- Finally, if the truck driver panicked, or overcompensated for a situation on the roadway, the cause was listed as “performance.”
Dozens of other factors could be present in a truck accident, including brake problems, over-the-counter drug use, roadway unfamiliarity, exceeding the speed limit, prescription drug use, traffic congestion, illness, tailgating, weather conditions, road construction, shifting cargo, crosswalks or traffic control devices which require slowing down, tire problems, distraction and inadequate surveillance.
Experienced Representation from the Attorneys at Cohen & Malad, LLP
If one or more of the above factors were responsible for your truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation for the injuries resulting from your truck collision which could include:
- Medical expenses you have paid, plus any medical expenses you can reasonably expect in the future which are related to the injuries received from your truck accident.
- Lost wages if you are unable to return to your regular job because of the severity of your injuries. If you are left with a permanent disability which precludes you from ever returning to your job, you may be entitled to future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering related to your injuries, particularly if that pain and suffering can be expected to last for a considerable length of time.
- In rare cases, the actions of the defendant may have been intentional, malicious, or willful. If this is true in your case, you may be entitled to receive punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.
Cohen & Malad, LLP will Preserve and Protect Your Rights Following Your Truck Accident
It is crucial that your Indianapolis personal injury attorney have the necessary experience to help you with your case. Our attorneys are experienced in truck accident litigation and understand that truck accidents often have multiple defendants. Based on the facts of your case, we will determine all possible defendants including the truck driver, the trucking company, the maintenance company, the manufacturer of the truck or the loading truck.
We are also skilled in product liability law, therefore if the truck or a truck part was defective, we can fight for a positive outcome. At Cohen & Malad, LLP we fully understand that it may be difficult for you to deal with your severe injuries and the pain and trauma of your accident, while still looking ahead to the future. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys will advocate relentlessly on your behalf. If you, or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a truck accident contact our Cohen & Malad, LLP personal injury attorneys today.