Arkansas Truck Accident Lawyer
CALL (512) 246-2224 TO SPEAK WITH AN ARKANSAS TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, you know that the experience can be frightening and overwhelming. Big rigs have the potential to cause devastating and sometimes fatal accidents.
This is not surprising given that there is a significant size discrepancy between an 18-wheeler and an average passenger vehicle. In fact, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle.
YOU COULD BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION
Following an accident involving a truck, following these steps may help you protect your rights while ensuring you focus on your health:
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you are in a truck accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if the accident seems minor, you should still go to the doctor.
2. Report the Accident
You should call 9-1-1 so that a police officer can file a police report and create a crash report. Also, you should report the accident to your insurance company.
3. Document the Accident
When you are involved in a truck accident, you should document the incident as best as you can. All the information you retain will be useful when seeking compensation. Examples of information worth noting are:
- Name and contact details of those involved in the accident
- Details of any witnesses and get their contact information.
- The insurance company of the truck
- Photos of the scene of the accident, damage to your vehicle, and your injuries.
- Medical records and bills relating to the accident
4. Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a truck collision, finding the right personal injury lawyer can save you money, time, and stress. An attorney will be able to focus on building the strongest case possible for you, while you focus on your recovery.
How long do I have to file a claim?
After an accident occurs, the plaintiff has a limited time to file a lawsuit. This time limit is called the “statute of limitations.”
In Arkansas, for personal injury lawsuits, you have three years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit. This applies to truck accident injuries. If the accident results in death, the deceased’s survivors also have three years to file their case.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations where the 3-year limit may be extended. For a wrongful death case in which a minor is the plaintiff, the minor has until they are no longer a minor. Under Arkansas law, a minor is anyone under twenty-one years of age. This means that a child plaintiff has three years to file their case from the time that they turn 21 years old.
Who is liable?
It is not always immediately obvious who is at fault. It may seem clear that the truck driver is responsible for the accident when another party is actually at fault. Potentially liable parties include the following:
The Truck Driver
In cases where the driver of the semi-truck caused the accident by reckless driving or was not adhering to the rules of the road, you may be able to seek compensation from them. In doing so, you would make a claim against the insurance company that insures the truck driver.
The Trucking Company
Commercial trucking companies generally hire either employees or independent drivers. The trucking company may be held responsible when its driver is involved in an accident due to the company’s failure to adequately supervise employees or screen independent contractors.
A Certified Truck Inspector
Truck drivers rely on certified truck inspectors to detect potential safety issues. If an inspector fails to perform the required tests, they may be held liable when the unsafe truck is involved in an accident.
The manufacturers of the truck and parts of the truck are responsible for maintaining a certain level of safety. If there was a problem with a part of the truck, a manufacturer might be liable.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
There are four elements that your lawyer will work to prove to establish truck driver negligence:
1. The truck driver owed a duty to operate the vehicle safely to not present an unreasonable risk of harm to others on the road;
2. The truck driver failed to comply with their duty in some way (e.g., by violating a law);
3. The breach of this duty caused an accident in which you were injured; and
4. You suffered injuries and losses because of this breach and accident.
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
1. Meet with your Lawyer
When filing a lawsuit, it is usually best to meet with your lawyer to discuss your case. This way, your lawyer will be able to move forward with all the necessary information and leave you to focus on your recovery
Your lawyer will then proceed to investigate your case. In doing so, they will gather all important evidence needed to prove liability and to build the most persuasive case possible for you. They will request medical reports, police reports, and witness accounts, for example. While they are doing this, a claims adjuster from the other side will also investigate the claim to how much your claim is worth. At this point, you will speak with your lawyer about how much you are offered versus how much your claim is worth.
3. Case Settlement
Many truck accident cases are settled before ever reaching trial and are done so through negotiations with the other side. In many cases, the insurance company may offer a lower offer than what your case is worth. This is because the insurance company will want to settle quickly and for as little as possible. A lawyer, on the other hand, will thoroughly investigate your case and uncover elements that the insurance company may miss. This is why it is vital that you consult with your lawyer before accepting any offer.
There are three main elements of compensation that you may seek after a truck accident. These elements are known as ‘damages’:
Economic damages are losses that are calculated in terms of dollars and cents with reasonable precision.
Medical expenses are economic damages. This may include emergency room visits, ambulance or helicopter transportation, prescription drug costs, surgery expenses, rehabilitation or therapy expenses, and any other medical expenses incurred because of your truck accident.
The assessment will also consider future medical expenses if the injuries you suffered will require ongoing medical treatment, such as additional doctor visits, therapy sessions, surgeries, prescription medication, or other care.
In addition to causing substantial injuries, truck accidents will frequently result in significant damage to your vehicle. These property damages will also help determine the value of your case.
If you missed work due to your injuries, your lost wages might also be claimable. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may be prevented from fully returning to work or may be forced to take additional time off to complete your treatment. In this case, you may be able to seek lost future earnings, as well.
Non-Economic (Intangible) Damages
Non-economic or intangible damages are usually given to compensate for any psychological harm. You may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of sexual function, and/or other physical disfigurements. Calculating and predicting the value that will be given to your intangible damages is difficult. Speak with your lawyer to find out more about your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are designed to punish the defendant in cases of serious wrongdoing.
Third parties may seek compensation. For example, if the accident results in a death, the deceased’s immediate family members may be able to file a wrongful death suit.
Types of Truck Accident Claims
Rear-end accidents happen when a truck driver drives into the back of another vehicle. These accidents tend to happen where a truck driver was negligent on the road, ran a stop sign, didn’t slow down in time when approaching a red light. In such cases, where it can be proven that the driver was negligent, you may be able to seek compensation.
Underride trucking accidents
Underride accidents occur when a truck is turning or changing lanes, and a car gets stuck underneath the trailer of a commercial truck where the car becomes stuck. Often, the car becomes crushed and crumpled underneath the trailer.
“Jackknife accident” refers to an incident in which a vehicle pulling a trailer loses control and comes to resemble a folding pocketknife. The tractor-trailer may come to rest in such a way that several lanes of traffic are blocked. If other cars or vehicles are nearby, they may be suddenly hit by the jackknifing vehicle. Vehicles that are behind the truck may not have sufficient room or time to avoid a collision.
Rollover accidents often occur with tanker trucks. When a tanker truck goes wheels-up, it is likely to explode and catch fire.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Arkansas
There are many different factors that cause or contribute to truck accidents in Arkansas. Some of these factors include:
- Driver fatigue or tiredness. By law, the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road is limited, and they are required to take a certain amount of rest periods. However, even the most seasoned truck driver can experience fatigue or tiredness when driving hundreds of miles on an open road.
- Distracted driving. Many truck drivers have been guilty of talking on their cell phones or texting while driving. Due to the humongous size of 18-wheelers, a distracted truck driver can cause catastrophe on the road.
- Failure to maintain. An accident can occur if those responsible for maintaining a truck and ensuring all its mechanisms are functioning properly fail to perform their duties.
- Improper or inadequate training. Some truck drivers do not receive adequate training to operate a large commercial truck. Without proper training or enough experience driving a semitrailer, a truck driver might be unable to recognize and avoid hazards that can lead to an accident.
- Inclement weather. Even if the best driving conditions, trucks need more time to brake than other vehicles. If the roads are snowy, wet, or icy, an 18-wheeler driver might not be able to stop or swerve in time to avoid an accident.
Other reasons a truck accident might occur can include driver error, speeding or failure to obey other traffic laws, brake failure, tire blowouts, override accidents, jack-knifing, overloaded trailers, and runaway trailers. Many truck accidents in Arkansas occur if an 18-wheeler’s cargo is overweight or over width limits or if a tractor-trailer has poor tires, unmaintained braking systems, or other unsafe maintenance practices. When these issues are ignored or a truck driver or trucking company fails to adhere to proper safety protocols, the unsuspecting public is placed at serious risk of being involved in a devastating accident.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Arkansas, it is important that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable truck accident lawyer right away. Truck accidents can be complicated, as they may involve a number of defendants, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck maintenance company, and even another driver in a different vehicle. By hiring an attorney who has extensive experience handling these complex cases, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Experienced and Knowledgeable Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been involved in an 18-wheeler accident in Arkansas, you need a truck injury lawyer who will fight aggressively for you. The trucking attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the experience and resources necessary to help you seek the compensation you deserve for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and anguish, and more. Contact us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation.
*Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.*