Semi Truck Accidents
What to do if you or a loved one has been involved in a serious semi crash.
If you, or a loved one, were involved in a serious semi accident in Kentucky or Indiana, you probably have at least two years to bring your claim against the negligent semi driver; however, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY HIRE AN ATTORNEY EXPERIENCED IN SEMI TRUCK WRECKS IN ORDER TO PRESERVE VALUABLE EVIDENCE. I cannot emphasize how important it is to retain a qualified attorney as soon as possible, before evidence is forever lost.
Just as an example, one of the most important pieces of evidence is the semi driver’s log book. This book documents exactly where the driver has been, how long it took him to get there, and how many hours he has been on the road. Federal law requires these logs be kept for a certain period of time. Guess how long the federal rules require the driver, or his employer, to keep these logs. Federal law only requires this important evidence be kept for only six months. If you are reading this, and you or a loved one has been involved in a serious semi wreck, time is of the essence. Trust me, the semi company isn’t waiting for you to file a claim before they start investigating the wreck and looking for a way to minimize their exposure. Most semi companies have a “risk management” or “safety” department that shows up at the accident scene to start this process.
How will I get my medical bills paid and lost wages paid?
If you, or a loved one, have been involved in a serious semi wreck, then there are probably SIGNIFICANT MEDICAL BILLS and LOTS OF MISSED WORK. The semi driver’s company is NOT responsible for immediately paying all of your medical bills. Whenever you are involved in an accident in Kentucky (even if it wasn’t a semi), the first $10,000 of your medical bills, lost wages and replacement services will be paid by your own automobile insurance company, regardless of who caused the wreck. This is what is known as “No-fault Benefits.” These benefits are also known as Basic Reparations Benefits (BRB) and are automatically included in your insurance policy. In Indiana, you may have $5,000 in what is known as MED PAY coverage, or as little as $0.
Is $5,000 or $10,000 enough to pay for your medical bills? Probably not, especially if you were involved in an accident with a semi. However, if you live in Kentucky, you may have purchased Additional Reparations Benefits (ARB) that will provide you additional coverage, usually in $10,000 increments. For various reasons too difficult too explain here, it is usually preferable to have your medical bills paid using MED PAY, BRB and ARB rather than using your health insurance. In fact, most health insurance companies will not pay your medical bills from an auto accident until you prove to them you have “exhausted” your these benefits.
Unfortunately, this coverage is likely not going to be enough to pay your medical bills and lost wages. The only way you can be “made-whole” is if you bring a claim against the negligent semi driver and, possibly, his employer. An attorney experienced in semi truck litigation will be able to tell you whether you have a case against the driver, his employer, or both; however, if you hire an attorney not familiar with the federal rules and regulations, or wait too long to hire an attorney….well, you get the picture.
What if I don’t make a full recovery and can’t return to work?
Sometimes, wrecks involving semi’s are so severe that the injured person never fully recovers to the point they can work again. If this is the case, the only way to get compensation for your “loss of power to labor and earn,” is to hire an attorney experienced in semi-wreck litigation who is able to bring a claim on your behalf.
This attorney will have to be familiar with how to “prove” that your injuries are permanent and will keep you from ever returning to work. When The Poppe Law Firm® handles cases involving serious, permanent injuries, we often hire vocational economists and vocational rehabilitation experts who are experienced in testifying about the severity and permanency of the injuries. We also use our client’s own treating physicians to give opinions about their patient’s ability to work in the future. These experts are very expensive, and some lawyers would prefer not to spend the money and instead try to get a quick settlement. This is a mistake. When your work-life is significantly shortened, you need an attorney who is ready to do, and spend, whatever it takes to maximize the value of your case.
How will I be able to know if I have a competent lawyer?
Many people think that all lawyers are the same, after all, we all went to law school, right? Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Just because a lawyer handled your speeding ticket last year doesn’t mean they have the knowledge, skill and expertise to handle a serious semi-truck wreck. Lot’s of lawyers advertise for these kinds of cases, only to farm them out to some other law firm and collect a referral fee. Semi-truck wreck cases can be extremely complicated and VERY EXPENSIVE. You might need multiple experts like accident reconstructionists (to explain how the accident happened), bio-mechanical engineers (to explain how the forces of the wreck caused your injury), orthopedic doctors (to explain what your injuries were and what they did to try to fix you), vocational economists (to explain how much money you would have likely made, but for the wreck), and on and on and on.
Choosing the wrong lawyer only adds insult to injury and could ruin your case. If you want to know whether you are talking to a lawyer experienced enough to handle your case, ask them a question you already know the answer to. “How long does federal law require the driver keep his log book?” If they can’t answer this question correctly, look elsewhere.
“If I hire The Poppe Law Firm®, what can I expect?”
- We will meet with you at our office, at your home, or anywhere it is convenient for you.
- We will explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
- We will discuss similar cases our office has handled.
- We will explain our “no fee if no recovery” policy.
- We will take the time to understand how your injuries have impacted your life and your family’s lives.
- We will take an inventory of every place you have received medical treatment and we will have you sign authorizations so we can collect all of your medical records.
- We will get medical records from all of your healthcare providers and organize them in preparing for depositions and trial.
- We will review the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, as well as your own automobile insurance policy, to determine how much coverage is available to you for your injuries.
- We will contact your own automobile carrier and notify them of your claim for no-fault benefits and we will complete your application for benefits and ensure that all of you medical bills and lost wages are promptly paid until your benefits are exhausted.
- We will notify the at-fault semi-driver’s employer and insurance company of your claim. We will also notify your own carrier of any potential claim for uninsured or underinsured benefits when applicable.
- We will obtain the accident report.
- We will interview any witnesses, and the investigating officer if necessary.
- We will collect evidence such as photographs of the accident scene and involved vehicles. If necessary, we will get aerial or satellite images of the accident site.
- We will, if necessary, hire accident reconstructionists to assist us in proving who was responsible for the wreck.
- We will, if necessary, hire bio-mechanical engineers to review accident reports and any reconstruction reports to explain to a jury how the accident caused your injuries.
- We will meet have meetings with your healthcare providers to ensure they are able to discuss their care and treatment of you for purposes of trial.
- We will analyze your health care insurance policy to determine if you will have to re-pay them out of any recovery from the at-fault semi-driver.
- We will discuss with you the likelihood of settlement without a lawsuit.
- If suit is filed, we will prepare written questions for the at-fault driver to answer. We will also assist you in answering any written questions they prepare for you.
- We will prepare you for your deposition.
- We will take all necessary depositions, including but not limited to, the at-fault semi-driver, your treating healthcare providers, any of the defendant’s experts, and any of our experts unable to attend trial live.
- We will utilize the latest technology in preparing your case for mediation and trial.
- We will go to court and get a trial date.
- We will prepare for trial and/or settlement before trial.
- We will file motions and briefs with the court.
- We will prepare and organize all evidence and exhibits such as medical documents and illustrations.
- We will take the case to trial with a jury or a judge.
- We will determine whether either side has grounds to appeal a verdict.
- We will pay all expenses necessary to pursue your case and you will not be required to reimburse those expenses unless we are successful.
Semi Truck Accident Resources
Statistics on Kentucky Semi Truck Accidents
What the Insiders Don’t Want you to Know About Semi Truck Accidents
Where can I find information on semi-truck wrecks?
You can download our Free publication: What The Insiders Don’t Want You To Know About Semi-Truck Wrecks or contact us anytime.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Kentucky for a car or semi-truck accident?
Generally, the Kentucky Statute of Limitations requires a lawsuit for injuries from a car or semi-truck accident be brought within two years of the accident or two years from the last payment by your own insurance company for BRB/PIP benefits, not to exceed four years from the date of the accident. See the FAQ for BRB/PIP benefits for more information.
I've heard that Kentucky is a "no-fault" state and I can't sue the other driver if I have been in a car or semi-truck accident because I am entitled to PIP or BRB benefits What does that mean?
“No fault” is Kentucky’s statute that requires the first $10,000 of your medical bills, lost wages, and replacement services be paid by your own automobile insurance company. It was designed to allow people to recover a portion of their damages without filing a lawsuit. The first $10k of these items are paid by your own insurance company, regardless of whose fault the accident was. Once the insurance companies decide who was at fault, the at fault driver’s company reimburses the other insurance company. If your car is insured in Kentucky, you can recover these benefits even if the accident happens in another state. Furthermore, non-Kentucky residents traveling and injured while in Kentucky may also be entitled to to these benefits. No fault does NOT mean you can’t recover damages from the other driver’s insurance company, it simply means a portion of your damages will be paid without having to bring a claim or a lawsuit. If you still don’t understand, give me a call and I’ll explain it without charge.
If I am involved in a car or semi-truck wreck, who will pay my medical bills and lost wages?
Kentucky is a “no fault” state, this means your own automobile insurance company will pay the first $10,000 of these type expenses. Make sure to read the FAQ on BRB and PIP benefits.
How much auto insurance am I required to carry in Kentucky?
Kentucky requires that you carry a minimum bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000/$50,000. This means that your insurance coverage will pay up to $25,000 for a single injury in an auto accident and up to $50,000 for all injuries in the accident. Kentucky also requires that you carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage coverage. As a no-fault state, Kentucky requires that your insurance company make payments for your injuries up to the limit of your coverage without regard for whose fault the accident was.
I was in an auto accident. Should I take pictures of the scene?
Yes. Taking pictures of the accident is one of the best things you can do. In fact, it might be a good idea to store a disposable camera in your glove box. Here’s a few tips for taking good accident pictures: (1) Walk around the car, taking pictures from every possible angle. (2) Take pictures from high and low angles if possible. (3) If there’s a street sign or traffic light around, be sure to get that in the pictures. (4) Take a few shots from far back to show the car in relation to other cars and roads. (5) It’s best to have a camera that imprints the date and time of the picture on the photo itself. If this isn’t possible, go back and write in ball point pen or permanent ink on the back of the photos the date that you took them.
I was injured in a car crash. What sort of things should I bring to our first meeting?
You should bring any notes that you made shortly after the accident or photographs that you took of the accident scene. Bring police reports, which might contain eyewitness contact information and statements. Copies of any medical records or bills from your doct will be helpful in demonstrating the extent of your injuries. If you have information about the other driver’s insurer, you should bring that.
In short, bring anything that you think may be helpful in making a determination about whether or not your claim will be successful. If there are documents that you are in the process of getting, but have not received before our meeting, you should let us know so that we can attempt to obtain them during the “discovery” period.
Are all lawyers the same?
Unfortunately, not every lawyer can handle every kind of case, even if they say they can on a television commercial. The fact of the matter is, you should choose your lawyer only after you are convinced they will not pass your case off to another attorney if the case doesn’t settle quickly. You should also be certain that the lawyer knows enough about your type of case. For example, my firm does not handle divorces or wills or speeding tickets (we don’t know how, but we do know several lawyers who do and we can give you their names). We don’t handle these cases because we choose to stay abreast of the law in other areas and know we can do a much better job on case with which we are familiar, that is why we limit our practice and the number of cases we will handle. If you are not sure whether your case fits in one of our practice areas, please call us. We’ll be happy to tell you and, if we don’t handle your type of case, we’ll be happy to recommend someone if we can.