South Bend Truck Accident Lawyers
Have you been injured or lost a loved one in a South Bend truck accident?
You may have legal options that can help you obtain the compensation you need to recover from your injuries or loss. At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend truck accident lawyers have decades of experience working with trucking companies and their insurance providers. We have recovered millions on behalf of truck accident victims and have the resources to handle your case. Our attorneys are well-versed in the many complex trucking industry regulations and know what it takes to build a successful claim and obtain the compensation our clients deserve. We offer free consultations, and once we take your case, we do not charge any fees unless you collect.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started now.
Why Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accidents often result in devastating injuries that require expensive medical care and could leave you out of work for days, weeks or permanently. Because of this, it is vital that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your claim after an accident.
Unfortunately, these types of cases are complicated. Truck accident cases are unique because they can involve multiple parties. Having an experienced South Bend truck accident attorney by your side is essential to ensuring your best interests are represented and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Decades of Experience
Our South Bend truck accident lawyers have recovered millions on behalf of innocent victims injured in truck accidents, including a $1,950,000 settlement for a woman who was severely injured when the vehicle she was traveling in was struck from behind by a semi tractor-trailer.
Our truck accident attorneys are experienced personal injury attorneys with a strong commitment to fighting for justice for injury victims. Founding partner Richard Morgan is a past president of the St. Joseph Bar Association, and founding partner Daniel Pfeifer is a member of the Board of Governors for the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.
With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, we are dedicated to helping you obtain the justice you deserve.
Gathering Evidence for Your Claim
Our team of experienced lawyers will conduct our own investigation into the crash to build a strong case on your behalf.
We will gather all of the evidence necessary to help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. This will include:
- Reconstructing the accident scene
- Reviewing the police and accident reports
- Analyzing photos and video footage of the accident
- Determining how many hours the trucker had driven and when his or her last break was before the accident
- Identifying if the truck trailer exceeded weight restrictions and was loaded properly
- Verifying the truck drivers’ background, driving records and criminal background
- Working with industry experts to investigate and build your case
Although it is easy to determine the cause of some truck accidents, others are more complex and require investigative skills to get to the root cause of the collision.
Our South Bend truck accident lawyers utilize the latest technology and expert guidance to investigate the accident to determine what was happening in the moments leading up to the accident, during the incident and after the collision. This helps us put together a complete picture of what caused the accident.
We Handle the Insurance Company for You
The trucking company’s insurance company will likely contact you soon after the accident to obtain a statement about your view of the accident and your injuries.
We recommend that you speak with a reputable lawyer before providing any statement to the insurance company, as anything you say can be used against you.
The insurance company for the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo company and any other potentially liable party will do everything it can to reduce the liability of its client. For this reason, you need an attorney who has the resources and experience to build a strong claim on your behalf.
Our South Bend truck accident lawyers have decades of experience working with insurance companies for the best interests of our clients. We are stiff negotiators who are not willing to settle for anything less than our clients deserve.
When Should I Contact a Truck Accident Attorney?
It is in your best interest to contact our South Bend truck accident lawyers as soon as possible after an accident.
In addition to handling the insurance company for you, there are strict time limits on how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Indiana, also known as statutes of limitations. If these deadlines pass, you will lose your opportunity to file a claim and obtain compensation.
According to Indiana code, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. There is also a two-year deadline for accidents that cause a death and accidents that are caused by a defective product. For a wrongful death, the deadline begins on the date of the person’s death.
It is always best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to ensure the statutes of limitations have not expired.
It is important that our South Bend truck accident lawyers have plenty of time to investigate and pursue all options for resolving your claim, including negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. If a settlement is not possible and all other legal options have been exhausted, we will file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
Do not hesitate to contact Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak today.
What Type of Compensation Can I Get?
A personal injury lawsuit can help truck accident victims get compensation for a variety of damages they have suffered. Although every case is different, some of the most common types of compensation available from a truck accident lawsuit include:
Current and Future Medical Expenses
Often truck accidents can lead to devastating injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Head trauma
- Internal organ damage
- Sprains and strains
These types of injuries will require extensive medical care that can be expensive. Because of this, it may be possible to obtain compensation to help pay for the medical expenses associated with your injuries.
This can include:
- Ambulance rides
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital stays
- Medical tests
- Appointments with doctors and other medical care providers
- Prescription medication
- Assistive devices
This compensation can cover the costs you have already incurred, along with any future costs that can be estimated.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
Some injuries may be so severe they prevent an individual from being able to work, whether temporarily or permanently. Compensation can help reimburse you for the wages you lost while you were unable to work.
If your ability to earn a living has been impacted by your injuries, you may be able to get compensation for the wages you would have earned in the future if you had not been injured in the accident.
Pain and Suffering
When determining the compensation you are entitled after an accident, our South Bend truck accident lawyers will consider the physical pain you experienced during the accident and because of your injuries.
We will consider how severe your injuries are and how long they are expected to last so we can build a strong claim that helps you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
It may also be possible to recover compensation for the emotional pain and suffering you have experienced because of the truck accident. This can include compensation for depression, anxiety, nervousness and other forms of emotional distress.
Find out how much your truck accident claim is worth. Call (844) 678-1800.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Crashes
Throughout our many years of experience, our South Bend truck accident lawyers have recovered millions in compensation in a variety of Indiana auto accident cases involving commercial vehicles, including:
- Rear-end collisions
- Jackknife accidents
- Side-impact collisions
- Truck underride
- Runaway trailer
- Blind spot accidents
Often, these accidents are the result of some kind of negligence, such as:
- Driver distraction
- Driving under the influence
- Driver fatigue
- Failing to obey traffic signs and signals
- Failing to check blind spots
- Reckless driving
- Inadequate training
- Unrealistic schedules and deadlines
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Inclement weather
- Defective parts
Common Trucking Industry Regulation Violations
In some situations, an accident is caused by a violation of the many rules regulating the trucking industry.
The federal, state and industry regulations governing the conduct of truck drivers and their employers are complex and require that drivers adhere to specific rules of conduct.
When truck drivers, motor carriers, shipping companies or cargo loaders fail to adhere to these rules, they put everyone in danger.
Some of the most common regulatory violations include:
In order to prevent fatigued drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules and regulations about the number of hours truckers can drive within a certain period of time.
Drivers are required to take a 10-hour break after driving 11 hours and cannot drive more than 14 consecutive hours after 10 hours off duty. Drivers must also take a 30-minute break after driving eight hours.
Unfortunately, tight delivery deadlines often push drivers to ignore these rules and drive beyond the legal limit, which can lead to dangerous drowsy drivers.
Truck drivers are required to keep a detailed log of the number of hours they drive and rest. However, some drivers fail to keep an accurate record or attempt to lie about their hours in their logs.
The FMCSA requires that all commercial vehicles undergo regular, scheduled maintenance and inspections and that all inspections, observations and repairs are recorded.
Although there is no set schedule for how often these vehicles should be inspected and repaired, the motor carrier is required to establish its own schedule that is best for its fleet of vehicles.
However, certain equipment, such as brakes, tires, mirrors and windshield wipers must be spot-checked before every trip.
A failure to properly inspect and repair a vehicle could have catastrophic consequences if a vehicle part malfunctions and causes an accident.
Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, can greatly affect a driver’s ability behind the wheel. For this reason, the FMCSA requires that commercial vehicle drivers maintain an updated medical card.
Medical examiners licensed by the Department of Transportation must perform a physical exam for the card to be issued. Each card is valid for two years.
Similar to other motorists on the road, truck drivers must follow the rules of the road. A driver can be held liable for an accident that results from any violation of a traffic law, such as speeding, improper lane changes, running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign.
Alcohol and Drugs
It is illegal for drivers of commercial vehicles to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more. That is half the legal limit for other drivers.
Any impairment from drugs or alcohol can seriously limit a driver’s ability to handle the requirements of the job, including reacting to situations they encounter on the road.
Vehicle Weight Limits or Improperly Loaded Cargo
The weight of commercial trucks cannot exceed 20,000 pounds for a single axel, 34,000 pounds for a tandem axel or 80,000 for the entire vehicle. If the cargo on a truck exceeds the legal limit, it can greatly affect the truck's driving ability and may break an axle.
Furthermore, improperly loaded cargo that is unbalanced or poorly secured can increase the risk of a truck tipping over or of cargo falling and striking another vehicle on the road.
Trucking companies, like all companies, have a legal obligation to hire qualified individuals who have the proper training and certifications required for the job. Hiring a driver who does not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or failing to conduct drug tests could make the company liable if an accident were to occur.
Indiana CDL requirements state that drivers must pass a written knowledge test, a skills test and a physical examination to become a truck driver.
Our South Bend truck accident lawyers are well-versed in the many rules and regulations of the trucking industry and can identify if any violations have been broken.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to learn more.
Liability in a Truck Crash
Just as there are many rules and regulations that truck drivers and companies must follow, there are numerous parties that can be held liable for an accident. The negligence on the part of any of these parties can cause a devastating accident.
Our South Bend truck accident lawyers will work tirelessly to hold any and all liable parties responsible for the harm they have caused. These parties can include:
- Truck driver
- Owner of the truck or trailer
- Truck company
- Truck maintenance company
- Manufacturer of the truck or any of its parts
- Cargo loading company
We have experience successfully bringing claims against large trucking companies and their insurance companies. We have the resources to take on any company and have the skills to build a strong case on your behalf.
Call (844) 678-1800 for a free consultation with our South Bend truck accident lawyers.
What if I Was Partially at Fault for the Crash?
In some situations, there may be more than one party that is liable for the accident, including the accident victim.
According to Indiana’s comparative fault law, an injury victim can only obtain compensation from a personal injury lawsuit if he or she is less than 50 percent at fault for causing the accident. If his or her actions were more than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident he or she cannot recover any compensation.
Additionally, the compensation award will be reduced by the individual’s percentage of fault in contributing to the accident. For example, if the victim is 20 percent liable for causing the accident, his or her compensation award will be reduced by 20 percent.
The insurance company and the at-fault party will likely attempt to downplay their fault in causing the accident and make the victim look as though he or she was mostly responsible for the accident.
Our South Bend truck accident lawyers will make sure you are not blamed for something you did not do. We will work to maximize your compensation.
Find out how we can help you by completing a Free Case Evaluation form.
Contact Our South Bend Truck Accident Lawyers
Most truck collisions happen in an instant, which can leave victims disoriented and unaware of what to do next. Our South Bend truck accident lawyers can help you determine if you are entitled to make a claim for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and more.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend truck accident attorneys are dedicated to helping accident injury victims fight for their right to fair and just compensation.
Contact our firm today for a free legal consultation and review of your claim. We will not charge any fees unless we recover compensation for you.