The moments before impact in a car, truck, or SUV accident can be particularly nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. You may wonder if you will be able to walk away from this accident or if you will see your spouse or children again. Unfortunately, when it comes to truck accidents and commercial vehicle accidents, the injuries are often more severe due to the large mass of the vehicle and high speeds involved.
If you have been in a serious motor vehicle accident in Bentonville or elsewhere in Arkansas, speak to an experienced attorney prior to taking any action. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can handle your and the other driver’s insurance company while negotiating for a settlement that makes you whole. If the matter is not conducive to settlement, we can help you pursue justice in court. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact Bentonville, AR truck accident lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, at (479) 316-0438. You can also contact the firm online.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Bentonville, AR
One of the leading causes of injuries in the United States and Arkansas is motor vehicle accidents. On average, auto accidents result in injuries to over three million people, two million of who suffer permanent harm. The most catastrophic accidents and devastating injuries often involve large commercial trucks.
Truck accidents occur for many of the same reasons car accidents happen. For example, speeding is a common factor in truck accidents on Bentonville highways. However, unlike a smaller car, when a truck is being operated at a dangerously high speed, the amount of roadway necessary to stop is significantly greater than that of a car. Additionally, the ability to safely maneuver a speeding truck is substantially decreased when traveling too fast. Some other common causes of Bentonville truck accidents include the following.
Any conduct that results in a truck driver taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel is considered distracted driving. It is not uncommon for a driver to lose focus when texting or talking on their phone. However, distracted driving is not limited to a cellphone. Looking at a GPS or eating could cause a truck driver to turn away from the task at hand. While distracted driving is a problem for any motorist, the size of many trucks and their large blind spots could make any lack of focus more dangerous.
Any time a truck driver operates their vehicle in violation of traffic laws, it is considered reckless. Reckless driving includes ignoring red lights, speeding, improper lane changes, and failing to yield to other traffic. When a massive truck is being operated recklessly, all other motorists in the area are placed in unreasonable danger.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
It is never safe to operate a car or truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It will impair a truck driver’s mental capabilities and slow their reaction time. While alcohol remains a significant problem in this country, it is not uncommon for a truck driver to turn to amphetamines or other drugs to stay awake, allowing them to drive for longer stretches of time.
Causes of Accidents that are Unique to Bentonville Truck Drivers
While the common causes of accidents listed above could apply to any motorist, certain factors that contribute to accidents across Bentonville are related to the trucking industry. In fact, there are state and federal regulations that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies that address many of these dangers.
Transporting cargo across the country takes time. Many truck drivers will drive throughout the night to make a delivery on time. However, drivers are required to limit their time behind the wheel and to take regular breaks. The total number of hours a truck driver is permitted to operate their vehicle is also limited. When a truck driver fails to adhere to these restrictions, they could be driving while fatigued, impairing their ability to safely operate their truck.
The cargo trucks transport could pose a danger to the truck driver and other motorists on the road. When cargo is improperly loaded, not secured, or if a truck is transporting more weight than it can safely carry, the risk of accidents increases.
Trucking companies could also be held liable for a truck accident. Driving a large commercial vehicle is not easy, and when a truck driver is not properly trained, they present an added danger to others on the road. A trucking company should ensure it is not putting inexperienced drivers on the road without adequate training. Additionally, if a trucking company fails to vet a driver and one is hired with a background full of violations, it could be held responsible for the driver’s conduct.
In addition to ensuring that trained drivers are operating its trucks, a trucking company must maintain, inspect, and repair its fleet of vehicles. While cars required regular maintenance, trucks are much more complicated machines. When a truck is not adequately maintained, faulty brakes, poor tire conditions, or a host of other potential mechanical problems could cause an accident.
Common Injuries Suffered in Bentonville Truck Accidents
Although they can involve similar vehicle types, no two trucking accidents are the same. The unique and particularized circumstances and factors that produce an accident also create unique injuries and combinations of injuries. However, there are certain types of harms that occur more frequently than others. These include:
- Traumatic brain injury– A TBI can be particularly devastating because the brain is the control center of the human body. Damage or abnormalities in the brain can cause trouble with focus, alter your personality, cause increased aggression, make communication difficult, and cause issues with focus and attention.
- Internal Injuries – In some cases, the full extent of your injuries is not immediately noticeable through an exterior examination. Because of the blunt force you might have sustained, your internal organs could have suffered damage.
- Burn injuries– Fuel or other hazardous chemicals may leak from the vehicles after an accident and ignite. Serious burn injuries or chemical burns can occur.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries – Victims of truck accidents experience a large amount of force on their bodies, often twisting or crushing them. The trauma your body suffers could result in a paralyzing back or spinal cord injury.
- Fractured bones– While seatbelts and airbags can often reduce the injuries suffered, they do not eliminate all injuries. Broken or fractured bones are still extremely common in truck accidents
- Whiplash– Whiplash injuries are reported by many who are involved in serious accidents. When vehicles collide, a series of forces is rapidly applied — forces that can cause shearing of muscle and nerve tissue resulting in nausea, headaches and problems with memory.
- Wrongful Death – Trucks are massive machines and when they collide with smaller vehicles, the injuries are often devastating. Because of the seriousness of many of the injuries sustained, a truck accident could be fatal. The families of a person who was wrongfully killed in a truck accident are also entitled to seek monetary compensation from the driver or trucking company.
If you have suffered one of the above injuries in a truck accident in Bentonville, AR or simply do not feel quite right, see a doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. Recovery from your injuries can often be greater if you receive treatment early and often.
What to Do After a Bentonville, AR Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents can occur extremely quickly and could leave victims of the accident with long-term injuries or even life-threatening injuries. That is why it is important to understand the appropriate steps to take if you are involved in a Bentonville truck accident.
Get to Safety and Seek Medical Attention
Your safety should be your primary concern in the moments following an accident. If the vehicle is drivable, you should move it (and yourself) out of the flow of traffic to avoid a secondary or tertiary collision. If the vehicle is disabled due to the accident, you should exit it as soon as it is safe to do so and head to a safe waiting area. If you detect smoke, fire, or a burning odor emanating from the vehicle, you should increase your distance immediately as the accident may result in a vehicle fire or explosion.
Once you are safe, you should check on the safety of any passengers or other motorists that may have been injured in the accident. If you or any other individuals were injured in the accident, you should seek emergency medical attention.
When seeking medical attention, you should ensure that you inform the medical staff of how the accident occurred. This can help you document your injuries if you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the individual that is responsible for the accident.
Additionally, you should be sure to contact law enforcement to assess the scene of the accident. Your insurance company may not compensate you for the accident if you fail to provide them with a police report under certain circumstances. Additionally, if there was extensive property damage or a person was seriously injured in the Bentonville, AR truck accident, Arkansas law will require that the accident is reported to law enforcement.
Exchange Information with the Negligent Drive
After getting yourself to safety, you should speak with the other driver about the accident. You should exchange essential information with the negligent driver; this information should include:
- The name and contact information of the driver
- The make, model, and license plate of the negligent driver’s vehicle
- The negligent driver’s insurance carrier
- The company the driver works for
In many cases, a truck driver’s employer could be held vicariously liable for their negligent actions. For example, if the truck driver was performing a job for their employer when the accident occurred, this could make their employer liable for the accident.
This information will be vital when you report the accident to your insurance company. If there were multiple parties that were involved in the accident, you should speak with them as well. You should also ensure that you ask law enforcement for a copy of the police report after they investigate the accident.
Collect Evidence of the Accident
After addressing all safety concerns and exchanging information with the other driver, you may wish to document the accident scene. Prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit often hinges on the quality of evidence available to prove liability. In nearly every situation, the best evidence available is immediately following an accident. Once the vehicles are removed or witnesses leave without giving a complete statement, it becomes more challenging to piece together what happened.
Today, many cell phones are equipped with high resolutions and multiple microphones. You may want to capture a photo or video of the scene or damage to your vehicle. However, do not subject yourself to any additional danger – either due to the environment or the injuries you may have suffered in the trucking accident.
When taking photos of the scene, you should take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and other vehicles that were involved in the accident. You should also photograph any injuries you sustained, or injuries suffered by passengers in your vehicle. Other valuable evidence that you should document include:
- Any changes in the weather that may have contributed to the accident
- Photos of the intersection or road where the accident occurred
- Other circumstances that may have led to the accident (e.g., non-functioning traffic light)
- Surrounding businesses or building that could have surveillance cameras that captured footage of the accident
If there were any individuals that witnessed the accident, you should speak with them. If any witnesses are willing to provide you with a statement, you should collect their name and contact information. Witnesses can greatly help to prove who truly caused the truck accident.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Next, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. When you report your accident, you should focus on the facts of what occurred and not offer any opinions or long answers. While it might be “your” insurance provider, the ultimate goal of any insurance company is to limit the amount of money it is required to pay after an accident.
After reporting the accident, you will likely be contacted by an insurance claim adjuster from the insurance company that insures the negligent driver. The insurance claim adjuster is undoubtedly looking for any holes in your story that can help them diminish your claim. A simple statement such as “I feel fine” could be used as evidence that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. Additionally, an insurance adjuster is also seeking to minimize or shift liability. You should only offer facts and not any subjective opinions about what caused the accident.
If you feel uncomfortable with speaking with a representative from the insurance company, our firm can help guide you through the process. We understand that insurance companies often do not have the interests of a victim in mind, and we are prepared to ensure that your interests are protected.
To learn more about filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver that struck your vehicle, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Bentonville truck accident injury lawyer today.
When to File a Truck Accident Injury Lawsuit in Bentonville, AR
If you were involved in a Bentonville, AR truck accident that left you with severe injuries, you likely tried to seek compensation from your insurance company and the insurance company for the driver that caused the accident. However, if the negligent driver is underinsured, the compensation from the accident may not be enough to manage your medical bills and various other expenses. Fortunately, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver that injured you.
When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent truck driver in Bentonville, you should be aware that your claim is subject to Arkansas’ statute of limitations. The statute of limitations sets the amount of time that a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit with a court of law. The time permitted to file the lawsuit may vary depending on the type of lawsuit a person wishes to file.
In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident. When a plaintiff fails to file their lawsuit within this three-year deadline, they risk the possibility of the court barring their claim. The defendant that was sued would be able to successfully request that the court dismiss the case against them because the statute of limitations was violated.
If you are unsure about when the statute of limitations began to run for your case, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Waiting too long to pursue your claim could negatively affect your claim. For example, you may have difficulty finding a lawyer willing to take on your potential case if the statute of limitations is dangerously close.
Contact Our Bentonville, AR Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If a truck in Bentonville has hit your car truck or SUV, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. Bentonville, Arkansas truck accident lawyer Ken Kieklak can handle your trucking accident case professionally and strategically. For your free and confidential consultation with our Bentonville personal injury lawyers, call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.