Indianapolis Fatal Truck Accident Lawyer

Wrongful Death - Truck Accident Attorneys

Indianapolis Fatal Truck Accident Lawyer

Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of serious injuries and death in the United States. The severity of injuries largely depends on the motorists’ demographic and conduct, the type of vehicle, and the time and location of the accident. Some of the most serious Indiana traffic accidents involve large vehicles such as commercial and non-commercial medium and heavy trucks.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), Indiana has experienced a 13% increase in large truck accident fatalities over the last decade. These harrowing statistics highlight the dangers that large trucks present to motorists on Indiana roadways. Those who have lost a loved one in a truck accident may have a claim for compensation under Indiana’s wrongful death laws. The personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Tabor Law have years of experience successfully representing individuals and families who have suffered serious injuries or the death of a loved one in an Indiana trucking accident.

Call (317) 236-9000 to speak to our experienced workplace wrongful death attorneys in Indianapolis today.

Indiana’s Wrongful Death Statutes

Under Indiana’s statutes, wrongful death refers to a death that was “caused by the wrongful act or omission” of a person, business, or entity. Indiana has three district statutes that govern wrongful death claims.

  • Indiana’s General Wrongful Death Statute: These claims operate for the exclusive benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse, dependent children or next of kin.
  • Indiana’s Child Wrongful Death Statute: This statute recognizes a parent's right to recover for their child's death. Under the statute, a “child” refers to an unmarried individual without dependents who are under 20 years old; or under 23 years old and is currently enrolled in college or technical school. In July 2009, the act extended the definition of a “child” to include a fetus that attained viability.
  • Indiana’s Adult Wrongful Death Statute: This is the most recent iteration of Indiana’s wrongful death statute. Before the enactment of the Adult Wrongful Death Statute, there was no remedy for the death of a person who died without a surviving spouse, dependent child, or next of kin or who did not qualify as a “child.” The statute permits recovery for the exclusive benefit of a non-dependent parent or non-dependent child of the adult person.

These actions are mutually exclusive and independent; therefore, claimants cannot pursue them together. The deceased’s estate or personal representative files the action on behalf of qualifying members of the deceased’s family. In essence, wrongful death claims are available where, if the victim had survived, they would have had a lawful personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

Common Causes of Truck Accident Fatalities

A groundbreaking Large Truck Crash Causation study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) evaluated large-scale data from 1000 serious large truck crashes. The study found the following most common causes of truck accident crashes:

Driver Error

Many truck accident injuries and fatalities stem from driver non-performance, such as falling asleep, acute medical conditions, or another physical impairment. Moreover, driver recognition problems such as inattentiveness, distraction, or failure to adequately observe situations also contributed to a number of crashes. Further, truck drivers’ decision-making skills were a contributing factor in accidents. For example, the study revealed that many accidents involved:

  • A truck driver driving too fast for the conditions.
  • Misjudging the speed of other motorists.
  • Following too closely.

Finally, driver skill and performance were linked to many serious truck accidents. For example, truck drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol present a significant risk to other motorists and are responsible for a significant percentage of all fatal truck accidents each year. Similarly, distracted driving plays a role in many truck crashes, although the total number of distracted driving truck accidents is hard to determine because truckers rarely admit to being distracted. An experienced Indiana truck accident lawyer can help grieving families by conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Environmental Factors

Certain environmental factors, such as inclement weather conditions, road defects, and unfavorable traffic conditions, are linked to an increased chance of a truck accident. While some of these factors are unpredictable, such as sudden, unexpected weather events, others stem from negligence.

Vehicle Issues

The study also found that defective truck parts can pose a serious hazard to motorists. Poor design, faulty brakes, worn tires, and other defects increase the likelihood of severe accidents and injuries.

In addition to these prominent factors, hundreds of associated factors can increase the severity of an accident.

Liable Parties in an Indiana Wrongful Death Truck Accident Claim

Large truck accidents are complex events, often involving two or more vehicles and several liable parties. Individuals or entities that caused or contributed to the wrongful death may be responsible for damages. Some common at-fault parties in a truck accident lawsuit include the following:

  • The negligent truck driver,
  • The trucking company,
  • The truck’s owner,
  • The cargo loading company,
  • The freight owner,
  • The trucking maintenance company,
  • The manufacturer of a defective truck part, or
  • Another motorist.

Establishing liability is a critical component of wrongful death claims in Indiana. An attorney can work with truck accident victims and their families to ensure that every responsible party is held accountable for damages.

Available Compensation for Indiana Truck Accident Claims

Under the state’s Wrongful Death Act, a spouse or dependent children, dependent next of kin, and service providers can recover damages in a wrongful death claim. Damages in these cases include but are not limited to, reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses, lost earnings, and the costs associated with bringing the wrongful death lawsuit. However, only spouses, dependent children, and dependent next of kin can recover damages for lost earnings and the loss of love, care, and affection. Further, while the Wrongful Death Act does not explicitly permit punitive damages, the Indiana Supreme Court has concluded that punitive damages are not recoverable under the Act.

Under the Child Wrongful Death Act, qualifying beneficiaries can recover the loss of the child’s lost services, the loss of the child’s love and companionship, and expenses and debts arising from the child’s death.

Finally, under the Adult Wrongful Death Act, the personal representative may recover reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses. These damages are only available to the adult person’s estate for paying expenses. The truck accident victim's non dependent parent or non-dependent adult child may secure any remaining damages.

Who Can File an Indiana Wrongful Death Claim?

Under state law, all wrongful death cases must be filed by the personal representative of the accident victim’s estate. In most cases, the personal representative is named in the victim’s will as the person who will oversee their affairs after they die. However, if someone passed away without a will, the court will appoint a personal representative. Often, but not always, the court will first look to family members who are willing to serve as a personal representative. Thus, if your loved one died in an Indiana truck accident, you may be able to get appointed as their personal representative. Importantly, a personal representative has a legal duty to act in the best interests of the victim’s surviving loved ones. So, even if you or another family member are not designated as your loved one’s personal representative, the named representative should still pursue a claim on your family’s behalf.

What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Indiana?

Under Indiana’s wrongful death statutes, the decedent's personal representative must file these claims within two years from the date of the person’s death. In most cases, courts will dismiss any wrongful death claims that do not meet the two-year statute of limitations.

However, it’s best to speak with an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. This is because these cases often rely on time-sensitive evidence, which only gets harder to locate as time passes. For example, wrecked cars and trucks get destroyed, witnesses forget what they saw or moved away, and surveillance video may no longer be available.

Have You Suffered the Tragic Loss of a Loved One in an Indiana Truck Accident?

If you recently lost a loved one following a fatal truck accident in Indiana, your life has understandably been turned upside down. And, it’s common not to know where to turn for help. At the Tabor Law Firm, our wrongful death lawyers have been helping grieving families pursue financial justice for what they’ve been through. We handle all types of wrongful death claims, including those arising out of fatal truck accidents. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give the Tabor Law Firm a call at 317-236-9000. You can also connect with our Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers through our secure online contact form.

Submit an online contact form or call us at (317) 236-9000 to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.

The Tabor Law Firm Difference

Over A Century of Combined Experience

Aggressive, Empathetic, and Accessible Representation

Thousands of Clients Helped Throughout Indiana

You Don't Pay Until We Win

Play Video

Hear What
Other Lawyers Have To Say About Tabor

Tabor's Recent


For Brain Injury due to Truck Accident