Every day, large commercial trucks travel the streets and highways in and around Bentonville, AR. Not only does Walmart have a headquarters here, but tractor-trailers and semis going into and out of Fayetteville and Little Rock travel through Bentonville to do their deliveries. As a result, there are a lot of large trucks in the area at any given time, increasing the risk of a serious accident.
What makes truck crashes so devastating is the sheer size of most big rigs. Tractor trailers typically weigh 80,000 lbs when fully loaded. Even a semi with an empty trailer weighs around 35,000 lbs. Once loaded, they can take up to 40% more distance to stop than cars do- approximately the length of two football fields. This can make it nearly impossible to avoid an accident.
At the Law Offices of Alan LeVar, we know how a truck accident can change your life. The injuries tend to be more severe and disabling, leaving you with high medical bills, temporary or even permanent disability, and difficulty taking care of yourself and your family. A truck accident lawyer from our firm will fight for the financial recovery you need to cover past losses and address your medical and financial needs for the future. To learn more about your legal rights, contact us at (479) 202-0027.
Compensation in a Bentonville Truck Accident Claim
Most damages awarded in truck accident cases are compensatory, meaning they are meant to compensate you for your financial losses. Common examples include:
- Medical bills
- Future treatment costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Home modifications needed to accommodate a disability
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
If the defendant behaved in an especially reckless or negligent manner, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Although seldom awarded in truck accident cases, these damages could be imposed if, for example, an intoxicated truck driver with a long DUI history caused the crash. Should punitive damages be appropriate in your case, they can contribute to a significant percentage of your award, as Arkansas caps them at $250,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, not to exceed one million dollars.
How Can a Bentonville Truck Accident Lawyer Help My Case?
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries that require ongoing medical treatment and can affect your ability to work. A Bentonville truck accident attorney can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve by:
- Investigating the accident scene and obtaining police reports and witness statements to support your version of events;
- Proving the extent of your injuries and damages using medical records and doctor’s statements;
- Gathering bills and receipts to confirm the expenses you have already paid and estimate future expenses;
- Negotiating with the trucking company and its insurer to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation;
- Taking your claim to court if it is denied or you are not able to reach a settlement.
Trucking companies are out to defend their drivers as well as their own reputation, so you need an experienced legal representative to protect your rights. The Law Offices of Alan LeVar will provide you with the aggressive representation you need to obtain the financial recovery you are entitled to.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been in a Truck Accident?
Although no one plans to be in a truck accident, it’s critical to know what to do if it happens to you. The steps below can help you access the medical care you need while preserving evidence for a future personal injury claim.
- Check for Injuries: When you or someone else has been injured, call 911 or the local emergency medical service (EMS). Do not move someone who is unconscious or in pain unless an emergency or hazard requires it.
- Talk to Witnesses: If anyone witnessed the truck accident, get their names and contact information. Their statements can be used to support your version of events later on.
- Call the Police: When you call 911, the operator will send the police. Get the name and badge number of the officer responding. You should also request an incident number and a police report.
- Get the Truck Driver’s Information: Be sure to get the truck driver’s name, address, phone number, and commercial driver’s license number. You’ll also want to get the vehicle’s USDOT number, which will help you track down the owner. This number is usually located at the rear or side of the truck.
- Document the Scene: Take photos and video of the accident scene. This includes the truck, your vehicle (if applicable) skid marks or debris on the road, and any other relevant evidence, such as a malfunctioning traffic light or obscured stop sign.
- Get Medical Attention: See your doctor or go to the emergency room as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Not all injuries show symptoms immediately. You’ll also want medical documentation of your injuries for your truck accident claim.
- Speak to an Accident Lawyer: Once you’ve confirmed that you’ve sustained compensable injuries, call an experienced Bentonville truck accident lawyer. Once the trucking company and its insurer learn of the crash, you’ll be getting calls that are little more than fact-finding missions. An attorney will deal with the insurers on your behalf, protecting your right to full compensation and deterring any attempt to blame you or unfairly reduce your payout.
Will I Be Able to Sue Even If I Contributed to the Truck Crash?
If you have been injured, you may still be able to collect compensation for your losses. The state of Arkansas follows the law of modified comparative negligence, which means your settlement or verdict will be reduced according to how much you contributed to the accident.
For example, if a jury awards you $100,000, but finds that you were 25% at fault for being in the truck driver’s blind spot, your final award would be $75,000. However, if your share of the fault is over 50%, you can’t recover compensation. Many insurers try to get out of paying by exaggerating the victim’s fault, but an experienced truck accident can deter these efforts.
Common Causes of Bentonville Truck Accidents
To reduce the hazard commercial trucks present to other vehicles, the federal government regulates the trucking industry. A truck’s size, weight, and maintenance are all monitored, as well as its cargo weight and the amount of time the driver spends on the road.
Regulations like these, however, are not always followed. When this occurs, truck drivers, their employers, and/or third-party cargo loaders or repair shops may be held liable for injuries or damages that result from their negligence. An accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar will use every means available to determine the full extent of the company’s liability and seek compensation for victims.
Common causes of truck accidents in Bentonville, AR include:
- Driver Fatigue: Many drivers spend hours upon hours behind the wheel, and some try to avoid regulations on how long they can drive without taking breaks or sleeping. Faced with strict deadlines, a tired driver may lose focus, use poor judgment, or even fall asleep behind the wheel
- Driving Under the Influence: Drugged or drunk truck drivers are just as likely to cause accidents as regular motorists, but their huge vehicles pose a far greater threat to pedestrians, motorcyclists, and passenger vehicles.
- Speeding: The physical forces at work in a big rig make driving recklessly or speeding particularly dangerous.
- Brake Failure: As a result of their weight, big rigs and other commercial trucks put a lot of strain on their brakes. An unmaintained vehicle may experience brake failure, resulting in a potentially fatal collision.
- Tire Separation or Failure: As with a truck’s brakes, other parts of a big rig may be more likely to fail than in other vehicles. Among these failures, tire failures or separations are among the most frequent and pose the greatest risk.
- Excessive Freight or Cargo: It is not uncommon for trucks to be loaded with too much cargo. As a result, the vehicle may handle in an unsafe manner. When road conditions are adverse, excess weight can be especially dangerous.
When collisions occur, it’s usually the other party who is injured or killed. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 585 fatal motor vehicle crashes in Arkansas in 2020, killing 638 people. Only 18, or 3%, of these fatalities were occupants of large trucks. The majority of victims- 37%- were in pickups or SUVs.
Talk to a Bentonville Truck Accident Lawyer Today
In Arkansas, you only have up to three years to file a claim if you’ve been injured in a truck accident. Don’t delay- contact the Law Offices of Alan LeVar as soon as you seek treatment for your injuries. We have helped many clients sue negligent trucking companies and manufacturers and receive significant payouts. There is no need to deal with this tragedy alone. We are here to assist you. For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation, please call (479) 202-0027 or use our contact form.