A Guide to Large Truck Accidents in Indiana

A Guide to Large Truck Accidents in Indiana


If you get into an accident with a big rig, delivery truck, or any other commercial truck, there are some things you need to know if you hope to receive compensation for your injuries.


Picture this: A commercial truck weighing 80,000 pounds and standing 14 feet tall parked next to a 3,000 pound Ford Focus…standing 5 feet tall.


It goes without saying that commercial truck and passenger car collisions are often catastrophic.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Indiana, you might be facing a long road to recovery. Here at Injuries, we hope to provide you with the information you need to make it a smooth road — starting with some important and shocking statistics.


Truck accident statistics


Indiana is the 5th busiest state for commercial freight traffic. Every year, 724 million tons of freight travel through the Hoosier State. All of this traffic means truck accidents are inevitable.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to analyze crash data in Indiana. The ICJI found that roughly 5% of all motor vehicle accidents in Indiana involved large trucks. This means there were almost 11,000 accidents involving large trucks in 2018.


Large trucks are involved in 5% of all motor vehicle accidents in Indiana. Tweet this

Nationally, large truck accident statistics are just as alarming. The number of people injured in truck crashes every year across the country has almost doubled since 2009, from 74,000 to 145,000 people.


Common causes of truck accidents


The ICJI found that driver-related actions account for 94% of collisions involving commercial trucks. The primary factors include:

  • Unsafe lane movement
  • Improper passing and turning
  • Following too closely
  • Unsafe backing
  • Failing to yield
  • Speeding


Drivers of commercial trucks were more likely to cause an accident by backing up unsafely, whereas drivers of passenger vehicles were more likely to cause an accident by passing improperly.


The FMCSA conducted a national investigation of the actions that lead to truck accidents and found that they could generally be broken down as follows:

  • Decision (38%)—The driver was driving too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, or followed other vehicles too closely.
  • Recognition (28%)—The driver was inattentive, distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle, or failed to observe the situation adequately for some other reason.
  • Non-performance (12%)—The driver fell asleep or was physically impaired for some reason.
  • Vehicle (10%)—Vehicle failures, such as brake failure.
  • Performance (9%)—The driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor directional control.
  • Environment (3%)—Poor weather conditions, such as fog or heavy rain.
  • Indiana laws governing truck accidents


Federal Laws


Federal laws govern the commercial trucking industry throughout the United States. These laws establish certain standards that trucking companies and drivers must meet. The vast majority of federal regulations can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and cover things like:

  • Maximum vehicle weight
  • Transportation of hazardous materials
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Licensing requirements
  • Inspections
  • Emergency signal equipment
  • Use of hand-held devices (they’re strictly prohibited)


The Indiana Department of Transportation has its own set of trucking regulations that provide additional requirements concerning things like obtaining oversized load permits.


Who’s at fault for a truck accident?


When it comes to truck accidents, there are a number of parties who may be at fault for the accident, including:

  • The truck driver
  • The owner of the truck
  • The company that leased the truck from the owner
  • The manufacturer of the truck or truck components
  • The person who loaded the ship’s cargo


Proving Fault


To prove fault, the plaintiff generally needs to establish that the defendant was negligent—in other words, that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, and this failure caused the accident.

Enjuris tip:

It’s common for a defendant to point their finger at someone else. For example, the truck company might claim that the tire manufacturer was responsible for the accident because the tires were defective. In turn, the tire manufacturer might argue that the truck company is responsible because they failed to keep the tires properly inflated. Because it’s common for a defendant to point their finger at someone else, lawyers typically sue every party that might be responsible and let them argue among themselves.


In Indiana, the legal theory of “respondeat superior” can be used to hold a truck company responsible for an accident caused by its employee. Under this theory, the truck company is liable for the actions of its employee so long as the actions were:

  • Unintentional, and
  • Committed within the scope of the employee’s employment and in furtherance of the employer’s business.


Indiana’s shared liability laws


In some cases, the plaintiff and the defendant are partially responsible for a truck accident. What happens then? Indiana has adopted the modified comparative fault rule. This rule means that the plaintiff’s damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. What’s more, if the plaintiff is considered more than 50% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff is barred from recovering ANY damages.


Let’s look at an example:

Ben is driving an 18-wheeler south on I-70 in Reelsville, Indiana. He blows a tire and pulls to the side of the road. He gets out to repair the tire but fails to put up the warning cones required by law.

Tyler is also driving south on I-70 in Reelsville. He’s driving in the right lane and texting his friend. Because he’s looking down at his phone, he doesn’t see the truck pulled to the side of the road. His car clips the side of the truck causing him to crash.


Tyler sustains injuries in the accident and sues Ben for $100,000, claiming that Ben’s failure to put up warning cones was the cause of the accident. The court finds that Ben was 30% at fault, but that Tyler was 70% at fault for texting while driving.


Because Tyler is more than 50% at fault, he’s prohibited from recovering ANY damages. If, on the other hand, Tyler was found 30% at fault, his damages would simply be reduced to 70% and he would recover $70,000.


Statute of Limitations


Statutes of limitations are laws that limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. Under Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4(1), you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

However, if you plan to sue the government (for example, if an Indiana Public Works Department truck caused the accident), you must provide a tort claim notice to the appropriate government agency within 180 days.



Contact The Lockwood Legal Group, LLC today!


If you think you might have a case, it is crucial you contact a qualified attorney right away. We understand litigation is often daunting to those who are not attorneys. but rest assured, we will be here for you all throughout the process. No one fights harder for their clients then attorneys of The Lockwood Legal Group, LLC.


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