Two collisions involving semi-tractor trailers snarled traffic in downtown Indianapolis last Monday morning. Both accidents happened hours apart along the southbound lanes of I-65 near the North Split.
The first wreck took place at around 7 a.m. at mile marker 111.7 when a semi overturned. No one was injured in the wreck. Another semi caught fire after a crash that occurred at approximately 10:40 a.m. at mile marker 111.8. Indiana State Police reported that the driver was able to escape the truck.
Information about the causes of the accidents is not yet available.
Truck accidents and catastrophic injury
When a traffic accident happens involving a truck or large semi, the sheer size of the large vehicle can contribute to catastrophic injury and death. A fully loaded commercial truck weighs many times more than a passenger car, and when it is hauling hazardous or highly flammable material, there can be severe secondary injuries or death in a post-collision fire or explosion.
Because trucks are prone to jackknifing under slippery road conditions or when they are forced to brake suddenly, the risk of serious injury goes up when they are driving in heavy rush hour traffic or under adverse road conditions. In addition, the stress that truckers experience when trying to meet deadlines, as well as driver fatigue from long hours on the road, can contribute to drowsy or distracted driving behaviors that put other drivers at risk.
Truck wrecks cause thousands of deaths in the United States each year, not to mention millions of dollars in catastrophic injury claims and property loss. According to the FMCSA, of the 37,133 lives lost in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, large trucks and buses accounted for 13% of the traffic fatalities.
Recovering after a wreck
When pursuing a negligence claim, the injured party must clear the legal hurdle of establishing that the truck driver had a duty of care to other drivers, that they failed to exercise that duty of care and that this resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.
If the driver works for a shipping or trucking company, the employer may share liability for the accident. If the driver is an independent contractor, the degree of liability of the hiring company will depend on the level of supervision the company exercised over the driver.
Because trucking accidents often result in severe injuries, high medical bills and long recovery, it is wise to seek experienced legal representation before pursuing a claim or accepting an initial settlement offer.