While many people fear broken bones or traumatic brain injuries after a traffic collision, there is also a chance that a truck crash could prove fatal. Fatal truck accidents in Indianapolis can devastate an entire family. While a lawsuit cannot bring back a loved one, you may be able to at least win some financial compensation with help from a skilled wrongful death attorney.
Because trucks are so heavy and difficult to control, it is common for the injuries in a truck accident to be more serious than injuries that a person might get in a typical passenger car crash. If the injuries are serious enough, a truck accident could claim someone’s life.
The speed and direction the vehicles were traveling can make a big difference in terms of the amount of damages incurred or whether someone is killed. Truckers may sometimes change lanes without realizing a smaller car is there, potentially causing that car to “underride” the larger vehicle. An out-of-control truck might also jackknife, where the cargo hull slides away from the front portion at a 90-degree angle.
It is always important to name all responsible parties in a truck accident on the initial lawsuit. This may include the truck driver and the trucking company, but there may be other possible defendants like the truck manufacturer or the government entity responsible for maintaining the road. An Indianapolis lawyer will advise the family as to all possible sources of recovery for a fatal truck accident.
If a person is driving for a trucking company, they are considered an agent of the trucking company. In addition to being personally responsible for the wrongful death, the trucking company is also responsible for the actions of the truck driver. Many truck driving companies hire unreliable drivers and encourage them to break the law in their deliveries, like driving beyond the required breaks or carrying more cargo than is allowed. If these actions result in an accident where someone is killed, both the truck driver and the trucking company are held legally liable.
The insurance company may understand that they are legally responsible for the fatality. However, they will still take every possible step to limit the possible exposure to damages. Simply because an insurance company admits that the truck driver was at fault, it does not mean they will voluntarily compensate the surviving family members in a fair and equitable manner. Usually, it takes an experienced attorney to force the truck driver’s insurance company to pay adequate compensation for the wrongful death of an individual.
Some states have caps or limits on the amount that an individual can recover for non-economic damages, which in a wrongful death case include grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship. Other states do not limit the amount that can be awarded for these damages and leave it in the sole discretion of the jury. In Indiana, an estate cannot receive more than $300,000 in damages for the wrongful death of an unmarried person over age 23. If they are married or have children, there is no damages cap.
In addition to the possibility of caps on damages, many truck wrongful death accidents in Indianapolis are also limited by the amount of insurance available, regardless of the injury, including fatalities. If there is insufficient insurance to make a full recovery, the family members may be limited by the amount of insurance available. Lawyers are adept at determining additional sources of insurance coverage.
Fatal truck accidents in Indianapolis can happen in any number of ways if certain people do not follow their duty of care. McCready Law can be your partner if you wish to hold a negligent driver or entity responsible for a loss of life. Schedule a consultation with us to discuss your potential legal options