Arkansas’ highways are filled with large, commercial trucks hauling cargo across the country. Many trucking companies are located in Arkansas. Because of its location, it’s one of the best places in the county for the trucking industry to set up hubs. And while most truck drivers handle their vehicles responsibly, accidents involving these massive big rigs often prove devastating to the innocent victims involved. If you’ve been hurt in a collision with one of these vehicles, you should speak to truck accident lawyer Alan LeVar.
Truck accident litigation is exceptionally complex, and you need a personal injury attorney who has proven himself with these cases. The Law Firm of Alan LeVar has helped clients across the state pursue justice and compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered in these accidents.
You shouldn’t try to determine on your own if you have a claim. If you’ve been hurt in a collision with a truck in Arkansas and you need to speak to our truck accident attorneys about your case, please call The Law Offices of Alan LeVar at (888) 220-7068 today for a free consultation.
Find Out More About Truck Accidents:
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Fatal Truck Accidents
- Who Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident
- What to do After a Truck Accident
- We Investigate Your Truck Accident Case
- Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
While “accident” is the accepted word for the wrecks that result in devastating personal injuries, the reality is that these incidents were not inevitable. Most of them could have been avoided. And our Little Rock truck accident attorneys can make that case on your behalf.
Factors that our truck accident attorneys commonly see include:
- Driver fatigue: This is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Many trucking companies push their drivers to meet unrealistic schedules, and the only way for a driver to keep up is to drive through the night, foregoing sleep. This hurts reaction time and puts everyone on the road in danger.
- Driving under the influence: When it comes to truck accidents, the usual cause of impaired driving is not alcohol but amphetamines or other so-called “uppers”. Many drivers take these drugs, again, in an effort to stay awake and meet tight schedules.
- Over-loaded cargo: A big rig commercial truck is a massive vehicle, and operating it safely is difficult under the best of circumstances. Too often, trucking companies or cargo companies overload the cargo compartments of these trucks, throwing off their balance and center of gravity.
- Distracted Driving: Truck drivers have a lot of responsibilities while in the cabs of their trucks, and these responsibilities can interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle. Texting while driving, checking the GPS, and even filling out paperwork is common and these practices are as dangerous as they are widespread.
- Defective big rigs and semi-trucks
- Overcrowded roads and highways
- Speeding and other reckless driving
- Visual impairment
- Poor weather conditions
Most truck drivers are safe, committed professionals who strive to operate their vehicles safely. And the work they do is vital to the operation of a modern economy. However, drivers are often undermined by their schedules and the demands placed upon them.
Trucking companies often ask their drivers to meet unrealistic schedules and drive immense distances in a short period of time. Drivers have to operate their vehicles through the night and forego sleep in order to meet these demands. Some even take amphetamines and other stimulants in an effort to stay awake during their drives.
There are state and federal regulations regarding the amount of rest a driver must get, but trucking companies will often try to skirt these rules.
The entire point of the massive commercial trucks that criss-cross Arkansas’ highways is that they can carry large amounts of cargo. However, when these trucks are overloaded with cargo, they become especially dangerous.
A poorly loaded or overloaded cargo trailer is one of the common causes of truck accidents. These vehicles are difficult to operate even in the best of circumstances. When the trailer is so loaded with cargo that the center of gravity and weight of the truck is thrown off, even a skilled driver can struggle to control the vehicle, especially in inclement weather situations.
Mr. LeVar will only be able to determine the cause of your accident after a thorough and professional investigation. However, trucking companies have an obligation to make sure their vehicles do not present an unreasonable risk, and over-loading the trailer with cargo violates this obligation.
Finally, cargo companies and the companies that load cargo into trucks can be held liable if they violated state or federal safety standards in loading the truck. This can mean over-loaded the cargo trailer or failing to secure the cargo.
What Types of Vehicles Are Involved in Truck Accidents?
In truth, when we talk about truck accidents, we’re talking about collisions that might involve any or several of the following types of commercial vehicles:
- School buses
- Tractor Trailers
- Cargo and Freight Vehicles
- Cement Trucks
- Fire Trucks
- Garbage Trucks
- Big Rigs
Here are three overall truck accident trends in the United States as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
- Truck Accident Trend No. 1: In 2013, 4,186 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 3-percent increase from 2012.
- Truck Accident Trend No. 2: The number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased between 2012 and 2013 from 253 to 280, an uptick of 11 percent.
- Truck Accident Trend No. 3: The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes increased by 5 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Fatal Truck Accidents
Because of the massive size of most commercial big rig trucks, the wrecks that our Arkansas truck accident lawyer deals with often result in catastrophic injuries. Tragically, they often cause the deaths of innocent victims as well. When you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident that was caused by another person’s negligence or misconduct, The Law Offices of Alan LeVar can be a calm, compassionate sanctuary.
Three Tips: Stay Safe When Driving Near Trucks
Federal government reporting further underscores that “driver error” is at fault in most truck accidents, which is why drivers of passenger vehicles must be extraordinarily cautious when navigating around semis, big rigs, school buses, and other commercial vehicles. Here are three things that drivers of passenger cars, motorcycles, and other small, private vehicles can do to avoid accidents and stay safe when driving near trucks:
- Driving Near Trucks Tip No. 1: Avoid allowing your own vehicle to travel in a truck’s blind spot. Know that blind spots are larger with larger vehicles.
- Driving Near Trucks Tip No. 2: Danger zones when driving near trucks include the right-rear, mid-left, and right-front.
- Driving Near Trucks Tip No. 3: Avoid passing a truck unless you feel absolutely certain there is enough space and time to do so safely.
Arkansas’ Wrongful Death Statute
Wrongful death litigation is complicated, and it’s important to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer about your case as soon as possible. Mr. LeVar and his team will be able to explain the legal process to you at a free initial consultation.
Some basics of the state’s wrongful death laws include:
- The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of the incident; it is two years for a medical malpractice case.
- There are no limits on the amount of compensation you can be awarded in a wrongful death claim.
- Family members and heirs are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
Connecting the particular circumstances of a fatal truck wreck to the general provisions of the law is difficult, but our Arkansas truck accident lawyer has proven his ability on that front.
Compensation Available in a Truck Accident Claims
Untangling liability in the aftermath of a fatal truck wreck is complicated. There are many different parties who can be held liable in a truck accident. Our truck accident attorneys can usually pursue compensation in a wrongful death case for:
- Past medical expenses
- The loved one’s pain and suffering
- Your loss of companionship
- Funeral costs
- Your emotional distress
No wrongful death lawyer can promise you a specific result. But at The Law Offices of Alan LeVar, we can promise you a passionate and skilled representation.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident
Our Little Rock truck accident lawyer and his skilled personal injury team will exhaustively investigate your accident to determine its cause and prove liability. We have pursued compensation claims against:
- Drivers: Most truck drivers safely and conscientiously operate their vehicles, but reckless and irresponsible driving is still unacceptable. And with the size of these vehicles, such driving tends to cause catastrophic injuries.
- Trucking Companies: Many trucking companies care more about profits than safety. As a result, they will push drivers to meet dangerous and unrealistic schedules, put unsafe trucks on the road and generally behave in negligent ways. Trucking companies can be held liable for their actions if they result in accidents.
- Cargo Companies: A frequent cause of truck accidents is an overloaded or mis-loaded 18-wheeler. Our truck accident attorneys will follow your accident all the way back to its source, and if that source is a cargo company that made a mistake in loading the truck, he can pursue compensation from them.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does provide a good sense of the liability questions involved in a truck accident.
Further, it should make clear how important it is for you to speak to our Little Rock truck accident attorneys immediately about your accident. These cases are often time-sensitive. Trucking companies hold a lot of data that can prove vital to your claim, especially GPS tracking information, and many of them will erase that data after a certain period of time.
>What to do After a Truck Accident
Our truck accident attorneys in and around Little Rock have seen too many people lose out on justice and compensation because of unwise steps taken after their truck accident. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to follow a few simple steps if you and your family are ever involved in an accident with a semi-truck.
Here are three key steps that you should take after a truck accident in the Little Rock, Arkansas-area to ensure the viability of a potential claim, and to protect yourself and your rights.
Step One: Secure Medical Attention
First thing, seek medical attention. Call an ambulance to the accident scene or ask someone to do it for you. After a 9-1-1 emergency call, the police also should arrive. You want law enforcement personnel on hand after an accident but most especially one involving a truck.
When EMTs arrive, allow them to evaluate and treat you.
If there was no ambulance at the scene, see a doctor immediately.
You may not feel hurt. But the tragic reality that our Arkansas truck accident attorneys often face is that personal injuries can linger before symptoms such as crippling pain become obvious.
Let a medical professional treat you. It’s the right thing to do. Your health is the most important thing in the world.
Step Two: Information is Power
Take pictures of the accident vehicles, and note as many details as you can about the scene. Collect contact information for witnesses as well as responding officers and other law enforcement personnel.
As soon as you can after the truck accident, begin to document the wreck. The more material you provide your attorney, the better.
Finally, secure copies of your accident-related medical records, and get the police report.
Step Three: Speak to Arkansas Truck Accident Attorneys
Bring your documents to your free lawsuit consultation. Your lawyer can use them to determine who is most liable for damages related to your truck accident.
In the aftermath of an accident, it also can be stressful to respond to insurance company inquiries, trucking companies, mechanics, rental car agents, and all of the other parties necessary to secure your affairs.
Just remember: Don’t sign anything.
You need skilled Arkansas truck accident attorneys by your side. At the Law Offices of Alan LeVar, our team strives to protect your rights and your well-being.
One last tip: Beware of predators, or “runners.” They might be employees of a local chiropractor or less-scrupulous lawyers who have no qualms about knocking on the front door of recent accident victims to solicit business. Many claim they are associated with the insurance company or offer a free medical examination.
Don’t accept these offers as they can exhaust MedPay, and provide defense attorneys with ammunition against your claim.
Truck Accident Lawsuits and Settlements
According to the Congressional Research Service’s Commercial Truck Safety Overview, in 2015, more than 400,000 large trucks were involved in motor vehicle accidents. Of these accidents, nearly 100,000 involved injuries and approximately 3,600 resulted in fatalities.
Individuals who have sustained injuries and/or damages during a trucking accident in Arkansas may be able to use Arkansas personal injury laws to obtain compensation. While truck accident lawsuits are typically filed in civil court, many truck accident injury cases are settled before litigation even begins. By settling out of court, both parties save time and money.
There Are Two Types of Settlements – Structured and Lump-Sum
When a structured settlement is agreed upon, the injured (plaintiff) will receive payments from the insurance company (defendant) at regular intervals over a predetermined length of time. For example, if the plaintiff receives a $200,000 settlement amount, he or she may agree to accept $20,000 a year from the defendant for a total of 10 years. When a lump-sum trucking accident settlement is agreed upon, the plaintiff is paid in full.
Since a settlement’s classification determines how it will be taxed, the choice of settlement agreed upon can substantially affect the amount of money the plaintiff receives after taxes are paid.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
On many occasions, alternative dispute resolution is used to reach a truck accident settlement outside of the courtroom. ADR methods include negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Experienced truck accident attorneys know how to maneuver each of these methods to ensure the client receives the best settlement amount possible. Whereas mediation and negotiation are non-binding methods, arbitration replaces the civil trial and is considered a binding process. Even while a case is being litigated ADR methods can be explored. An Arkansas truck accident settlement can be reached at any time prior to a judgment from the court.
The Benefits of Reaching a Settlement Following a Truck Accident in Arkansas
Reaching a settlement agreement via alternative dispute resolution methods is desirable because these methods are usually significantly less expensive and can be completed rather quickly. In addition, ADR methods tend to be less adversarial than courtroom litigation: Therefore, the possibility of reaching an amicable settlement increases.
Disadvantages of a Settlement Agreement Following an Arkansas Truck Accident
Although reaching a settlement is usually preferred over truck accident lawsuit litigation in Arkansas, the potential disadvantages must also be considered:
- Most agreements require that the plaintiff forego any rights to pursue further legal action (including his or her right to a trial) in connection with the Arkansas trucking accident.
- When settling out of court, the plaintiff relinquishes his or her chance to openly hold the defendants accountable for their actions.
The settlement amount may total less than what would have been awarded in a successful court case following a truck wreck in Arkansas.
We Investigate Your Truck Accident Case
One of the most common things we hear at The Law Offices of Alan LeVar is, “I didn’t even know I had a case.” Many of our clients are reluctant to file a claim, blame themselves for the accident or just don’t know a crucial piece of information.
That’s why it’s so important to speak to our truck accident attorneys about your case at a free consultation. You can’t be expected to remember every possible detail in the aftermath of your accident, especially when you’re recovering from the kind of serious injuries that often result from accidents with these massive trucks.
It’s important to realize that a truck accident is not the same as a car accident with a normal passenger vehicle. We’ll use our experience and skill as truck accident lawyers to investigate your case. We can determine cause by:
- Examining the scene of the accident
- Speaking with witnesses
- Analyzing physical evidence such as tire marks
- Retrieving GPS and black box recordings from the truck that was involved
All of these tasks are easier when they’re completed soon after an accident. You should speak to our truck accident attorneys as quickly as possible after your collision.
Arkansas Trucking Safety Regulations
Commercial trucks travel throughout Arkansas and past state lines to deliver goods to businesses, stores, and customers. While traveling on roads, it is essential that all truckers abide by safety regulations to ensure that they are not involved in fatal and nonfatal accidents. The Arkansas Department of Transportation, with support from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has provided a commercial driver’s license manual for truck drivers so they understand safety regulations, violations, and requirements to obtain and maintain their CDL license.
Basic trucking safety regulations involve drivers obeying all posted speed limits and not operating a vehicle while intoxicated. For the state of Arkansas, it is illegal for a truck driver to have 0.4 percent or more of a blood alcohol concentration. If you are pulled over, you are obligated to undergo blood alcohol testing. Truckers can lose their license if they refuse a blood alcohol test, if they leave the scene of an accident, or if they are driving while having an out-of-service order.
All truck drivers must have a safety belt restraint in their vehicles and wear the belt at all times. For a driver who will be transporting hazardous materials, they must have a hazardous materials endorsement. To obtain the endorsement, they must submit their fingerprints and undergo a background check. The truck must also display the appropriate placards to warn other motorists that it is transporting hazardous materials as the placards should be diamond-shaped and square on point.
Other regulations involve railroad/highway grade crossings. Certain truck drivers are required to stop for railroad-highway grade crossings. If traffic is stopped on the other side of the railroad-highway grade crossing, the truck driver must ensure there is enough adequate space to fully cross without having any portion of their truck still on the railroad tracks.
Arkansas Truck Accident Statistics
As the population grows bigger, their need for products from businesses has increased the number of commercial trucks that are out on the road. Unfortunately, with more large trucks out on the road, people are experiencing an increase in accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains yearly reports regarding the number of traffic accidents there are across the country and within each state.
The National Highway Traffic Highway Safety Administration classifies large trucks as any heavy or medium truck that has a gross weight which is greater than 10,000 pounds. Their statistics exclude buses as well as motor homes. Reviewing 2015 statistical reports, the state of Arkansas had 733 total fatal vehicle crashes. Of these crashes, about 65 large trucks were involved in the accidents. This was a slight increase from the following year, as only 61 large trucks were involved in 668 crashes in 2014 in the state of Arkansas.
Another statistic involves the number of fatalities that were involved in a truck accident based on the type of crash. Truck drivers were more involved in single-vehicle fatality accidents, where there was only one other motorist in the crash, versus being in fatal accidents that had multiple vehicles. The total number of trucker fatalities in 2015 was 18.
The 2015 report showed that Arkansas had 13 fatal accidents for truck drivers involving single-vehicle truck crashes and 5 truck driver fatalities when there were multiple vehicles. For other motorists who were involved in fatalities with large trucks, the report indicated that 49 other motorists were in fatal accidents where a large truck was involved.
When comparing fatality statistics with the previous year, there were more fatalities for truck drivers in accidents that occurred in 2015, while other motorists (65) experienced more fatalities with large trucks in 2014.
- $275,000 for husband and wife who suffered back, neck, and knee injuries after they were rear-ended by an 18-wheeler.
- $750,000 for a client who suffered a broken leg and hip in a truck accident
- $350,000 for knee injuries and scarring
- $107,500 for shoulder injury requiring surgery
- $200,000 for a head-on collision resulting in multiple broken bones and surgery
Who is liable in a truck accident?
One or more of the drivers, the trucking company, or the cargo company may be liable for any damage or injuries you suffer in an accident. It all depends on the circumstances. The driver may not have been in a good state to be behind the wheel. The trucking company may not have provided proper maintenance. The cargo company may have overload or unevenly loaded the truck. Many different factors can contribute to negligence.
What should I do if I’m involved in a truck accident?
The first thing you should do after any type of accident involving a truck is call 911, or have someone do it for you if you are unable to. You want to make sure that both an ambulance and the police show up at the scene. If your injuries are not serious enough for the first aid crew to take you to the hospital, you should see a doctor and get a full exam and medical report as soon as you can.
If you are able, you should also try to take as many pictures of the accident scene as you can (from a safe place or distance). Take pictures of the vehicles, any injuries to yourself or passengers, specific damage to your vehicle or other property, marks on the roadway. Pretty much everything you can think of. Just be careful not to get in the way of any first aid or police workers, and don’t get too close to any vehicles that may be unstable or leaking chemicals.
After that, you should contact our truck accident attorneys for a consultation about what your next legal steps might be.
What makes truck accidents so much more dangerous than car accidents?
The main danger when there’s a large truck involved in a collision is just their size and weight. The average passenger vehicle weighs about 5,000 pounds. A loaded truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, and they’re anywhere from two to four times the length of a regular car. It’s just simple physics. When two vehicles who are unevenly matched collide, the smaller vehicle is going to get the worst of it.
What should I look for in truck accident attorneys?
The main thing you should consider is a prospective lawyer’s track record of success and experience specifically with accidents involving trucks. Commercial vehicles and drivers must adhere to special, much stricter, laws than the average driver. You need truck accident attorneys that understand how these laws work and how to protect your right in such cases.
What kind of compensation can I receive after a truck accident?
The compensation you might receive will depend on the circumstances of your accident and your personal injury claim. To give you an idea though, you can include some or all of the following factors in your claim:
- Permanent full or partial disability
- Loss of the use of one or more limbs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Damage to your vehicle
- Medical expenses
- Prescription drug costs
- Physical therapy expenses
There may also be other items you can include in your claim. Our team will be able to tell you exactly what you could include in your truck accident claim after a consultation.
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Little Rock, Arkansas Today
We have seen how negligent drivers, profit-seeking trucking companies, reckless cargo loaders, and defective vehicles can devastate an innocent victim’s life. Because of the sheer size of the big rigs involved, the injuries suffered tend to be severe.
Our truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Alan Levar understand the various causes of truck accidents and have handled enough accident cases to understand how to properly investigate and litigate them.
If you live in Arkansas and you need an experienced truck accident lawyer, please contact The Law Offices of Alan LeVar today for a free consultation. You can fill out the contact form on this page or call us at (888) 220-7068. We are proud to help members of the Arkadelphia, Texarkana, Little Rock, and Conway communities along with the surrounding Arkansas communities.