Being involved in a car, truck, SUV or any other type of vehicular accident can be a nerve-wracking experience. When your accident is a truck accident, the injuries sustained can be much more severe due to the greater vehicle sizes, and thus greater forces involved. Following your accident but before you take any action or sign any statements, meet with an experienced truck accident attorney serving Fayetteville, Arkansas. We can handle your and the other driver’s insurance company while negotiating for a favorable outcome. If settlement is not in your best interest, we are always prepared to take your case to trial.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash, contact our Fayetteville, AR truck accident lawyer immediately. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, provides professional legal representation to accident victims and their families. Our attorneys and staff are dedicated to fighting for the compensation you deserve. Call (479) 316-0438 to set up a free appointment to review your case.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident in Fayetteville, AR?
In the moments after an accident your first concern should be your safety. If you are able to exit the vehicle be sure to stand in a safe location away from the flow of traffic. If you see smoke or detect a burning odor, be sure to increase your distance from the vehicle because a vehicle fire or explosion may occur following an accident. Once you have reached a safe location, call 911 for emergency assistance. If you were driving a commercial vehicle while hauling cargo, be sure to advise emergency responders if the cargo is or could become hazardous. While the following steps are suggested, if you have suffered an injury or are unable to move, do not further endanger yourself –wait for medical and emergency responders to arrive.
Most cellphones have a camera. If possible, you should take many photographs of the accident scene. Do not worry about taking too many. Be sure to include every vehicle involved in the crash. Take pictures of their relative positions to one another and close-ups of all the damage. The road surface could also present valuable clues, such as debris and skid marks. An accident investigator could use these photos to help determine how a crash occurred.
Give a Factual Statement to the Police
When law enforcement arrives on the scene, they will likely question those involved in the accident and any witnesses. When you speak with the authorities, or anyone else, stick to the facts. You should not offer any opinions as to what happened. You certainly should not say anything that alludes to taking the blame for the accident. Do not forget to ask the police how to obtain a copy of their accident report. This document will include information concerning all parties involved in the accident. It will also list any traffic violations, which could be helpful in a personal injury claim.
Gather the Other Driver’s Information
If you were in an accident with a truck, get the driver’s name and insurance information. You should also gather the contact information of the trucking company that employed the driver.
Collect Witness Information
Witness accounts are a critical part of a Fayetteville truck accident case. Gather the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. While this information might appear in the police report, it is not uncommon for some witnesses to leave the accident scene before the police arrive. Others simply choose not to speak with law enforcement.
Seek Medical Treatment
You should not refuse medical treatment, even if you feel fine. Often, the adrenaline rush immediately following a traumatic event masks pain and injuries. Whether you intend to work with an insurance company or to file a personal injury lawsuit, medical documentation is critical evidence. By leaving the scene in an ambulance, you ensure that you will receive a thorough medical examination. If you leave the crash site on your own, you should still see your doctor within 24 or 48 hours. Some injuries will not show symptoms for days. Any hesitation in seeking treatment could decrease your odds of a reasonable settlement or a successful personal injury claim. In addition to the initial examination, you also must comply with any treatments your doctor prescribes.
Call an Experienced Fayetteville Truck Accident Lawyer
You want to protect your rights. Because of the many potential parties involved, truck accident cases can become very complicated. Additionally, trucking companies have lawyers working to reduce or negate their liability. Any hesitation to talk with a Fayetteville truck accident attorney could result in precious evidence and time being lost.
Types of Injuries Commonly Suffered in Fayetteville Truck Accidents
Every accident’s unique circumstances produces different types and severity of damages and injuries. However, some injuries common to trucking accidents include:
Traumatic brain injury is a particularly troubling injury because processes in the brain makes up who we are and how we act. Injury to the brain and its structures can alter your personality, make communication difficult, cause problems with focus and attention, and can result in many other cognitive deficits.
Whiplash injuries are perhaps the most common injury suffered by those in auto accidents. Whiplash is an injury caused by rapid acceleration or deceleration. The rapidly applied forces can cause shearing of muscle and nerve tissue leading to headaches, problems with focus, memory issues, nausea, and other problems.
Broken or Fractured Bones
Many times the impacts involved can result in a single or multiple broken or fractured bones. Bone injuries typically take many months to heal and often require extensive and painful physical therapy to recover functionality.
After an accident the fuel tank or fuel line may become ruptured or other mechanical damage may occur that increases the likelihood of fire or explosion.
If you have suffered one of the above injuries or something else, be sure that you seek medical attention. All too often people conceal their injuries due to pride or because they think it “isn’t that bad”. However sometimes even seemingly mild symptoms can indicate a serious condition. Other times adrenaline may conceal the full extent of the pain and only hours later will you realize that medical treatment was necessary.
Common Reasons Why Truck Accidents Occur in Fayetteville, AR
Each and every accident is the product of a unique combination of factors. However, certain factors tend to be more common than others. Certain factors that are common to many trucking accidents include:
A commercial driver may become distracted for the same reasons any driver can. The driver may be looking for a place to rest, operating a mobile phone, feeling ill, or be involved with a multitude of other distractions.
While FMCSA regulations require drivers to take breaks after driving for certain durations, some may be tempted to forego these mandated rest periods. A drowsy or exhausted driver can fall asleep at the wheel and cause a catastrophic accident.
Improper Securement of Cargo
Cargo that is improperly secured or not secured can shift during transit. This shifting of cargo can cause the truck to jackknife or overturn. Cargo should be secured as per FMCSA regulations using a combination of securing devices and tie-downs.
A tire blow-out can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. Trucks may swerve or veer after a tire blow-out.
Poor Weather Conditions
Like for any motorist, poor visibility and slippery road conditions can greatly increase the likelihood of an accident. Snow and ice present the biggest risk during the winter, while violent summer storms with torrential rainfalls or hail are the chief concern in the summer months.
Who Is Liable in a Fayetteville Truck Accident Lawsuit?
One of the jobs of our Fayetteville truck accident attorney is determining what party or parties could be held responsible for your injuries. Through a thorough investigation of the facts and evidence presented, our office will begin to build a case against the liable party. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, it could include more parties than you might have anticipated.
The Truck Driver
The truck driver is an obvious defendant to be named in a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, it was the reckless or negligent conduct of the operator of a commercial rig that caused the accident. If you sue a truck driver, you are ultimately suing their insurance company to recover your damages.
The Truck Driver’s Employer
While some truck drivers are independent entities, many work for trucking companies. A trucking company could be held liable for your injuries for a variety of reasons. For example, if a truck driver had a history of drunk driving and other violations but was still hired, the company could be held accountable if the driver was repeating their negligent conduct. If a truck company fails to maintain their trucks and allows them to fall into disrepair, an accident victim could have a viable claim against the company. Our Fayetteville truck accident attorney will examine the trucking company’s business practices to determine if they contributed to your accident.
The Truck Owner
Sometimes, the owner of the truck is a different company or individual. This is especially the case if the truck involved is a large 18-wheeler. Often, the cab and trailer are owned by separate entities. Depending on the facts of your case, both of these companies could be held accountable for any damages sustained in an accident.
Truck or Truck Part’s Manufacturer
Not every truck accident is caused by driver error. For instance, a defectively manufactured or designed braking system could cause a catastrophic Fayetteville truck accident. Under these circumstances, the truck or part manufacturer could be held liable for any injuries that occurred.
While truck drivers are responsible for inspecting any cargo they haul, shipping companies that fail to secure or improperly store cargo could also be held accountable if shifting freight contributed to an accident.
Sometimes an accident involving a large commercial truck is caused by the reckless or negligent conduct of another driver. Trucks are large and difficult to control vehicles. When another smaller vehicle cuts in front of a commercial truck, it could set off a chain reaction of events resulting in a multi-vehicle accident. Part of the investigation at the scene of an accident is to determine what parties contributed to the crash.
Who Regulates Commercial Trucking in Fayetteville, AR?
In 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was formed. The FMCSA oversees most activities by commercial vehicles and other covered industries and organizations. The FMCSA can craft and enforce rules regarding driver safety, cargo securement, cargo loading, and in many other areas of concern. While commercial transportation of cargo is certainly under the purview of the FMCSA, the agency also regulates bus companies and other organizations who are transporting 15 or more individuals.
Arkansas also has its own state regulations involving certain types of cargo and loads. For example, Arkansas law 8-6-407 Commercial refuse hauling by uncovered vehicles prohibits any commercial garbage-hauling company from transporting their cargo without covering it with a tarp or ensuring the design of the truck is such that the cargo will not leak, drop, or fall from the truck. Such regulations can reduce the likelihood that cargo becomes roadway debris and causes and accident. Additionally, Arkansas has laws and regulations regarding the transport of hazardous materials on its roadways.
Our Fayetteville, Arkansas Truck Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help
Trucks are a common sight on Fayetteville roads. These massive commercial vehicles are a vital link in commerce throughout the United States. Unfortunately, when a truck is involved in an accident, the injuries are often devastating. Victims could be facing difficult medical procedures and lengthy recoveries. In addition to the physical pain, the increasing medical expenses and lost income create financial stress. Our Fayetteville, AR truck accident injury lawyer is committed to fighting for the rights of victims. Put our trucking accident experience to work for you by calling Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today. All consultations are free and confidential.