South Bend Truck Accident Lawyers
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may have legal options for seeking 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 representing personal injury victims. We have recovered millions on behalf of motor vehicle accident victims. This includes 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.
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.
We offer free consultations with no obligation to take legal action. If you have a valid claim and decide to move forward, we do not charge any upfront fees unless we help obtain compensation for you.
There is no risk in calling us. Ph: (844) 678-1800.
Am I Eligible to File a Case?
Your eligibility will depend on several factors unique to your situation. Our lawyers need to review your situation in detail to not only help determine who may be liable for your damages, but also whether negligence played a role in the accident and your injuries.
Negligence claims must establish four things:
- The other party owed you a duty of care to act in a reasonable manner to prevent harm to you
- The other party breached this duty by failing to act as a reasonable person would have under similar circumstances
- The other party’s actions or inaction directly caused your injuries
- The other party’s negligence caused you to suffer damages, and these damages must be supported by things like medical bills and receipts and documentation of lost wages
If we determine you have a viable case, we are prepared to conduct a through investigation to gather the necessary evidence to help build a strong case for maximum compensation.
Call (844) 678-1800 for a free consultation today.
Why Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Injury victims may not realize that seeking legal representation may increase their chances of recovering more compensation than those who do not. Having an experienced lawyer by your side could help ensure your best interests are represented and that you receive the compensation you need.
With decades of combined legal experience, our lawyers are well-versed in the many complex trucking industry regulations and know what it takes to build a successful claim. This includes:
- 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 or was loaded improperly
- Verifying the truck drivers’ background, driving records and criminal background
- Working with industry experts to help determine the value of your damages, how the crash occurred and strengthen your case
The trucking company’s insurance company will also 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.
Our firm has worked with many insurance companies over the years. We are stiff negotiators who are not willing to settle for anything less than our clients deserve. We are also prepared to go to trial if necessary.
What Type of Compensation Might I Be Eligible for?
Truck accident victims may be able to get compensation for a variety of damages they have suffered. Although every case is different, some of the most common types of compensation that may be available include:
Current and Future Medical Expenses
Truck accidents often result in devastating injuries that require extensive medical care that can be expensive. This can include:
- Ambulance rides
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital stays
- Medical tests
- Appointments with doctors and other medical care providers
- Prescription medications
- Assistive devices
This compensation could help cover the costs you have already incurred, along with any future costs that can be estimated, such as if you develop a disability or permanent injury.
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 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. Our attorneys know how to factor in your work experience, skills, education and other factors to get an accurate estimate of what you may have earned if not for your injury.
Pain and Suffering
When determining your eligibility for compensation, a South Bend truck accident lawyer from our firm may consider the physical pain you experienced during the accident and because of your injuries.
We could consider how severe your injuries are and how long they are expected to last so we may be able to build a strong claim that helps you obtain the maximum compensation needed.
Call (844) 678-1800 to see how much your claim may be worth.
Filing Deadlines for Indiana Truck Accident Claims
There are strict time limits on filing a personal injury claim in Indiana, also known as statutes of limitations. If the deadline for your claim passes, you will likely lose your opportunity to file a claim and obtain compensation.
According to Indiana code, you generally have two years from the date of the injury to take legal action. 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 statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the person’s death.
It is always best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to avoid running out of time to file a claim. Our firm is prepared to investigate and pursue all options for resolving your claim, including negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or going to trial.
Learn more about Indiana statutes of limitations from our blog.
Liability in a Truck Crash
Truck accident cases can be complicated as there are numerous parties that could be held liable for your injuries and damages.
These parties may 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
The insurance company for the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo company and any other potentially liable party will look to avoid responsibility for damages. For this reason, you need an attorney who has the resources and experience to build a strong claim on your behalf.
Our attorneys have experience bringing claims against large trucking companies and their insurance companies.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form to get started.
What if I Was Partially at Fault for the Crash?
According to Indiana’s comparative fault law, an injury victim is only eligible to obtain compensation 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 legal team is ready to build a strong case to refute the other side’s claims about your fault for the accident. We want to make sure you are not assigned an unfair percentage of fault for the accident.
Trucking Industry Regulations That Are Often Violated
In some situations, an accident is caused by a violation of a federal or state regulations governing truck drivers, their employers and others involved in maintaining or loading the trucks. 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 violations that result in accidents include:
Hours of Service Violations
In order to prevent fatigued driving, 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 increase the risk of drivers getting into an accident. Drowsy driving can affect people in much the same drunk driving does. The risks of drowsy driving are even greater for truck drivers as their vehicles are so large and it is harder to overcome mistakes.
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. Their employers may even try to conceal or alter this information to protect themselves from liability.
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.
The South Bend truck accident lawyers at our firm are prepared to gather maintenance logs to determine if poor maintenance may have contributed to your crash.
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. It takes commercial trucks much longer to stop, which is why truck drivers need to be fully awake and alert and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Vehicle Weight Limits
The weight of commercial trucks cannot exceed 20,000 pounds for a single axle, 34,000 pounds for a tandem axle 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 out and striking another vehicle on the road.
Our licensed South Bend truck accident lawyers are well-versed in the many rules and regulations of the trucking industry and how to help identify if any violations occurred and contributed to an accident.
Find out how we could help you by calling (844) 678-1800.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Crashes
Our firm is prepared to handle claims arising from various truck crashes, including:
- Rear-end collisions
- Jackknife accidents
- Side-impact collisions
- Truck underride collisions
- Runaway trailer crashes
- Blind-spot accidents
Often, these accidents are the result 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
Contact Our South Bend Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck accidents often leave victims disoriented and unsure of what to do next. At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend truck accident lawyers are here to help you determine if you may be eligible to file a claim for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
Contact our firm today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation and review of your claim. We will not charge any upfront fees for our services unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf. We have recovered millions on behalf of our clients.
Our office is on 53600 N Ironwood Drive, just a few minutes from the United States District Court South Bend Division.