Articles Posted in Tractor-Trailer Accidents

If you are injured on property owned or occupied by someone else, you may have the right to sue that person or company for coverage of your injuries under a portion of law known as premises liability.

Premises liability refers to the duty owed by the property owner to the visitor. If that duty was breached and injuries resulted, the person hurt can pursue an Indiana premises liability claim against the property owner. The question of “duty” relies heavily on the determination of the visitor’s status. For example, a business invitee, someone invited to a business property for the benefit of the business, is owed the highest duty of care. Property owners must not only warn business invitees of potential dangers and address them quickly, but also they must regularly check for them. By contrast, if you are a trespasser, a property owner need only not intentionally harm you or set traps (although there may be exceptions for child trespassers).

Recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a premises liability plaintiff who alleged she was seriously injured when she tripped and fell on a missed step at an aviation company during an open house with her young grandson.

Liability will be a hotly disputed issue in a recently filed Indiana truck accident lawsuit.

According to, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 35-year-old man with autism who suffered significant brain damage and multiple fractures when the medical transportation van in which he was riding was broadsided by a semitrailer. His 72-year-old father is seeking damages for help with medical bills and other expenses that will be associated with his now-constant care. Although his son was not fully independent before the accident, he had much higher function than he now does. He had been on his way to a trade workshop at the time of the crash.

The father said his son would soon be transported home from the hospital, and the elderly man is the only one available who can render his care.

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a $2.13 million judgment favoring a woman who suffered a permanent injury in a trucking accident that killed her fiance. 

The case stems from a 2008 trucking crash in which a tractor-trailer driver stopped his truck on the interstate after hitting a deer, but he failed to immediately activate the truck’s emergency flashers or deflective triangles behind the truck or near the remains of the deer. He got out to examine the damage and then got back in his truck and at this time activated the emergency flashers. It was at this same time that the plaintiff, a passenger in a vehicle driven by her fiance, approached and, while attempting to avoid the dead deer, lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the parked truck.

The plaintiff suffered serious injuries, while her fiance died at the scene. She sued the trucking company and driver for her injuries. At 22 years old, she suffered severe traumatic brain injury, ruptured spleen, multiple skull fractures, permanent facial nerve palsy, scarring on her forehead, deafness in one ear, and memory loss. She continues to have trouble learning new things, suffers migraines and balance problems, and is at increased risk of early-onset dementia.

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A 2008 National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Survey provided a number of conclusions concerning pre crash factors, including, but not limited to destructed driving, crash ability, road construction and environmental considerations.United States Department of Transportation Causation Survey.pdfAn assessment of the roadway design, environmental conditions, and participant interviews. Among such cases, roads slick with ice and other debris were the most frequent roadway-related critical causes of accidents.

The incredibly bad weather in Northwest and Central Indiana clearly reflects how the current icy and snowy weather and resulting slippery road surfaces have resulted in accident after accident. Perhaps the worst of which took place, January 23 2014, on Interstate 94, and US 421.The collision involved over 40 vehicles, including 15 tractor trailers and at least three fatalities. Whiteout conditions probably played a role making it difficult for truck and automobile drivers to see the road in from of them.

Just days ago, another multiple vehicle crash involving semi-trucks and other vehicles took place on Interstate 65, just outside Lafayette, Indiana. As a result, northbound and southbound. Lanes were closed for hours. Slick roads,winds, snow and fog limited visibility.
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It’s every holiday traveler’s worst nightmare: A semi-truck, seemingly out-of-control, barreling toward you on the expressway at a high rate of speed.

Gary personal injury attorneys know know tractor-trailer accidents are not an everyday occurrence. But too often these crashes are deadly and a recent spate throughout the Midwest reminds us of the risks as we enter the busy holiday travel season.

We expect these kinds of crashes will increase over the holidays, with a combination of icy winter weather and the tendency of trucking companies to overload their vehicles and overwork their drivers in an attempt to meet end-of-the-year demands for goods and materials.
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Underride accidents are a type of accident that occurs only with large trucks. Our Highland truck accident attorneys have discussed the dangers of underride accidents in the past, in response to an Indiana Tractor Trailer accident in which a 56-year-old Indiana man sustained injuries after his car wedged underneath a tractor trailer.

Unfortunately, this accident was not an isolated incident and underride accidents are a far-too-common occurrence in Indiana and throughout the United States.The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has, in the past, made recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) intended to reduce the number of underride wrecks or even to eliminate them entirely. Unfortunately, NHTSA has not made the recommended changes to regulations fpr trailers and large trucks. Now, even as the prior problems have not been corrected, IIHS has released a new alert indicating that recent crash tests have raised the possibility of additional underride accident risks.

IIHS Concerned About Underride Accidents
Underride accidents happen when a car gets wedged underneath a large truck or tractor-trailer. Obviously, when this occurs, the top of the car can get crushed and serious injuries can be suffered including injury to the head and neck.

Preventing these type of accidents should be a top priority and there are regulations in place designed to prevent cars from being pushed underneath trucks. For example, the majority of semitrailers are required to have underride guards installed. These guards consist of steel bars that hang down from the back of trucks and stop cars from going underneath.

IIHS’s past criticism of the regulations related to underride prevention center around the fact that the guards are often not strong enough and not large enough. Because the bars were not sufficient to stop cars from sliding underneath, IIHS made recommendations to NHTSA suggesting that the regulations quality of the guards be improved. IIHS also requested that NHTSA expand the types of large trucks the regulations apply to by making it mandatory for more trucks to have guards. For example, dump trucks aren’t currently required to have these underride prevention bars and IIHS has suggested that they should be required to come into compliance.

Unfortunately, NHTSA has not yet passed tougher regulations. And now, IIHS crash tests reveal a high risk of underride accidents when a passenger car hits the back side of a truck. The bars, in other words, prevent the car from slipping underneath the truck if the car hits the center rear. But when a car strikes the side, on the other hand, there is no protection to prevent an underride accident. Since cars often hit from the side if they are trying to swerve out of the way to avoid a crash, this is a serious problem.

In light of the new crash test information from IIHS, hopefully NHTSA will be prompted to take action both to address the past concerns and to address the new safety risk revealed by the recent IIHS crash tests.
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A 56-year-old Hobart man escaped life-threatening injuries when his vehicle wedged beneath a tractor-trailer and up against a retaining wall while merging onto I-80 eastbound, according to the Indiana State Police.

The picture (available at above link) shows how precarious the driver’s position was as his vehicle wedged partially beneath the trailer between the tractor and the trailer’s rear axles. State police say the driver failed to manage the merge before the lane ended and his Toyota was struck by the semi, which was carrying more than 44,000 pounds of soft drinks. The truck driver was not injured. The vehicle’s driver was taken to Saint Mary’s Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.A Highland personal injury attorney experienced in handling semi accidents in Indiana knows fatal injuries often result when a passenger vehicle passes beneath a tractor-trailer. Even 5-star safety-rated cars are not meant to withstand these underride accidents — thus, decapitation risks make them particularly deadly.

Such accidents may occur several other ways.

One of the common factors in such crashes is failure of the underride guards. These guards (which you commonly see hanging down beneath the rear of a tractor-trailer) are designed to prevent passenger vehicle’s from traveling beneath a trailer in the event of a rear-end collision. However, they are notoriously unreliable. A study last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found guards approved for use in the United States failed more frequently than those that comply with more stringent Canadian standards. However, neither performed well in the event of a rear-end collision, particularly when the vehicle strikes the trailer at an angle.

Only 22 percent of the rear-end crashes studied did not result in some underride of the vehicle. In 23 of 28 fatal accidents, catastrophic underride occurred.

The other way these accidents commonly occur is when a motorist does not allow a tractor-trailer plenty of room when making a turn. Semis have a much wider turning radius than passenger vehicles — particularly when making a right turn. The right-side convex mirror is rendered useless during such a turn, leaving the driver blind to the inside of the turn. The truck must swing wide enough to ensure the trailer’s trailing wheels do not strike the curb, a pedestrian or other obstruction located to the inside of a turn. When turning left, a trucker still must swing wide but has the benefit of seeing the inside of the turn through the driver’s side cab window and can thus be more precise.

Motorists should never attempt to pass a truck making a turn. A trailer may catch a vehicle on the outside as it swings wide. Neither should a motorist attempt to beat a tractor-trailer to the turn by trying to skate by on the inside, where it can be caught by the swinging trailer as it tracks out of its turning radius.
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