$48.5 MILLION

Truck Accident Multimillion-Dollar Settlement.

"M.A.," a 30-year-old man, was driving to work in New Mexico. Suddenly a commercial truck veered across the center line and struck his vehicle head on. M.A. died at the scene. The McNeely Stephenson firm was hired shortly after the crash to represent the family of the deceased.

our client results

18-Wheeler Collisions

Indianapolis is growing. According to STATS Indiana, the state’s official digital data center, Marion County is expected to be home to more than a million people within two decades. With interstate trucking on the rise as well, and with I-65 and I-70 running directly through the middle of Indianapolis, Marion County’s largest city, the prospect for collisions involving passenger vehicles and tractor trailers has never been greater.

Collisions between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles can result in horrific injuries. When vehicles collide, the size and weight of each vehicle affects the likelihood of serious physical injury to the people inside. The implication for trucking accidents is obvious. Seatbelts and airbags simply cannot protect against the impact of an 80,000-pound tractor trailer. Furthermore, these collisions usually occur at highway speeds, significantly compounding the risk of harm to the driver and passengers of the smaller vehicle.

The truck accident lawyers at McNeely Stephenson excel at building negligence cases against large trucking companies. Accident claims in which the victim suffered severe injuries or death require an experienced law firm. Our attorneys have more than 45 years of combined experience practicing law in Indiana. We have worked as defense counsel in the past, and we know the tactics the insurance company will employ to try to deny or minimize your claim. When you hire our firm, the insurance company has no choice but to play fair.

Truck Accidents in Indianapolis and Across Indiana

When truck drivers are careless, innocent people can be seriously injured or killed. In 2014, there were 16,330 accidents involving large trucks in Indiana, according to Indiana Crash Facts 2014, up 5.2% over a five-year span; 2,136 people were injured in these accidents and 157 lost their lives. Narrowing the focus to county statistics, we find that crash rates in Marion County were the highest in the state. This is reflected in the frequency with which local news outlets report serious truck wrecks. Within only a few weeks in 2016, Indianapolis highways were the site of numerous accidents in which people were injured or killed by large commercial vehicles:

  • October 19 – I-74 at Acton Road; semi crashed and caught fire, killing the driver
  • October 13 – 37; bicyclist struck and killed by semi which left road
  • September 6 – I-65; dump truck rear-ended semi-truck, killing one and critically injuring another
  • August 10 – I-70 near Sam Jones Expressway; multi-vehicle pile-up including three trucks and injuring several people.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board show that generally driver error is the leading cause of large truck accidents, accounting for 31 percent of fatal truck crashes. Indiana State Police figures are more specific, showing that in 2011 the following mistakes by truck drivers were to blame:

  • Failure to yield right of way – 20.33%
  • Following too closely – 12.15%
  • Truck veered to left of center – 11.02%
  • Truck ran off the road to the right – 7.34%
  • Disregarded a signal – 7.06%
  • Traveling at an unsafe speed – 6.78%
  • Driving too fast for weather conditions – 4.80%
  • Driver was asleep or fatigued – 2.54%

In February 2016, Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Kelly estimated that half of the semis involved in Indiana fatal crashes are driven by distracted drivers.

But What if it Wasn’t All the Truck Driver’s Fault?

First of all, never assume you were at fault just because the other side or their insurance adjuster says so. Even if you believe you may have done something wrong based on your recollection of the accident, it is imperative that you make no statements to that effect. Why? The reason is simple – you may not have all of the facts. Until our firm performs a full investigation, there is no way to know for sure whether you share any blame for the accident.

In accidents where commercial trucks are involved, there may be many potentially liable parties — trucking companies, maintenance companies, manufacturers, even other drivers on the road. This is one reason it is crucial that you consult McNeely Stephenson very quickly after an accident; the situation may be much more complicated than you realize, especially in the turmoil following a crash.

Trucking accidents in Indianapolis are governed by a legal rule called “comparative fault,” so even if it turns out you were partially at fault, you can still collect from the other responsible parties. The rule allows you to recover as long as you were not 51 percent or more at fault in causing the accident. Consider the following example:

  • You were badly hurt in a traffic accident with a tractor trailer and one other passenger vehicle. Your total loss is determined to be $1 million.
  • All three parties (the truck driver/company, the other driver, and you) were partially at fault.
  • Each party will be assigned a percentage of fault based on their individual degree of negligence, for a total of 100 percent.
  • Here, it is determined that the truck driver/company was 45 percent at fault. The driver of the other vehicle was 35 percent at fault. You are found to be 20 percent at fault.
  • Because you are not 51 percent or more at fault in causing the accident, you can bring a claim against the other parties.
  • Your damages of $1 million will be reduced by 20 percent to account for your own negligence, resulting in a potential award of $800,000.

The percentage of fault assigned to you is obviously a key determination. If your case goes to trial, the jury will determine the percentage. If your case settles before trial, as most cases do, the percentage is sure to be a highly-contested point of negotiation. Our attorneys can present your case in a manner that accurately represents the minimal way in which your conduct contributed to the accident.

Turn to McNeely Stephenson

If you are dealing with severe injuries from a trucking accident, the last thing you need is an insurance adjuster pushing you to settle your case prematurely. Let us deal with the claims adjuster so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Remember this: The insurance company does not have your best interests in mind. But we do. Their goal is to close the case while paying out as little as possible. The adjuster will try to get you to sign away your rights before the full extent of your injuries is known. And once you sign a release of liability, you can never seek additional damages for your accident. By contrast, we want to see you fully compensated for your medical bills, time off work, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Contact us for a no-obligation, no-charge consultation to learn how we can negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf if you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer or other large truck in or near Indianapolis. Call the McNeely Stephenson office in Indianapolis at 1-317-825-5200 or use our convenient online inquiry form.

real-life cases

“B.K.” was driving on a two-lane road one Sunday afternoon with his mother in the front seat and his brother and sister-in-law in the back seat when his life was forever changed. B.K. was struck head on by D.C.

D.C. had spent the day drinking with a friend and had stopped at a restaurant less than five miles from the point of the accident where D.C. had been served several drinks. D.C.’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

As a result of the terrible wreck, B.K. received devastating injuries, which included multiple broken bones, facial fractures, and loss of vision. B.K.’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law were all killed in the accident.

As one would anticipate, D.C. had virtually no insurance. Stephenson, through his thorough and detailed investigation, was able to prepare claims against the restaurant and those that provided the alcohol.

Stephenson pursued dram shop claims against those responsible CASE SUMMARY

D.H. was a competitive bicyclist who was riding in preparation for a cross-country fundraising ride. In the spring of 2010, D.H. was riding across an old steel-grated deck bridge in Shelby County when he hit a hole in the bridge and flipped over the handlebars of his bike. The impact to the bridge decking caused severe injuries to his face, teeth, tongue, and elbow.

Through the investigation, they were able to learn as early as 1998, the bridge inspection reports showed the bridge in question needed to be replaced. The county never authorized additional inspections. The county obtained $844,000 in funding for the replacement of the bridge in 2000, but the Historical Society and adjacent property owners wanted the bridge repaired rather than replaced.

This crash could have been avoided if the inspectors and county had done their jobs. CASE SUMMARY

Our client (“D.W.”) was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. Discovery determined that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries. Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case.

The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount. CASE SUMMARY

Moving Your Case Forward

By choosing to talk with McNeely Stephenson, you will benefit from over 30 years of experience, significant investigative and financial resources, and high standards of client care. Let our Truck Accident Lawyers work for you.

With more than three decades of experience, substantial financial resources to commit to your case, and a commitment to the highest standards of client care, you can count on Mike. Contact him today by calling 1-855-206-2555 for a free accident consultation, or use our online contact form. At McNeely Stephenson, we believe justice matters.

Updates
Personal Injury Lawyer
April 20, 2018 / Truck Accidents, Vehicle Accidents
Truckers Driving Dangerously: Unsafe Lane Changes

While the vast majority of large truck drivers exercise proper attention when it’s time to move into another lane, a few bad apples drive more dangerously, resulting in injuries and deaths for innocent victims. Abrupt lane changes by large commercial vehicles create havoc. The trailer that’s part of a semi often extends to 53 feet, and, in some cases, even longer. Such a vehicle takes up a lot of space on the road, making lane changes a matte...

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

Mike Stephenson is a Super Lawyer in Indiana along with many of his peers at McNeely Stephenson. This is one of the highest honors an attorney can achieve

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

The AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell is the HIGHEST RATING and considered a significant accomplishment. It is a peer-reviewed process reflecting that other attorneys rank Mike Stephenson at the highest possible level of professional excellence.

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Attorney Mike Stephenson is a proud member of The Litigation Counsel of America’s Honorary Society. A close-knit, peer-selected, and aggressively diverse honorary society of 3,500 of the “best trial lawyers” in the country. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, vigorously vetted for skills, expertise, and service; an invitation-only collegial network.

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The American Board of Trial Advocates is an invitation-only organization for attorneys of “high personal character and honorable reputation.” ABOTA works for the preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” and supports the right of a jury trial.

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Our attorneys are proven advocates and trial attorneys. They have served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and have handled litigation in 18 states