Most people hate sharing the road with trucks. They are slow-moving, slow to react, hard to see around, and when they drift into another lane or suddenly jerk around in their lane, it can startle other drivers into making their own mistakes.
Litigation arising from truck accidents is complicated and challenging. Our team of lawyers and staff have decades of experience investigating and handling difficult personal injury cases. Because of the severity of injuries associated with truck accidents, you do not want to settle for an insurance offer that does not cover your medical costs or lost income. You need an aggressive advocate in your corner.
Tractor-trailers are made even more unsafe by the fact that they haul extremely heavy freight for long runs, and rely fully on the alertness of a driver who could be on the road for hours each day. If you have been injured in an accident with a truck in the Springdale area, you may now be stuck with medical bills, unable to work, or suffering from your injuries. Those who are less fortunate may have lost loved ones. If you have been in a truck accident or if a loved one was hurt, call our Springdale, AR truck accident attorneys at (479) 316-0438.
Trucking Can Be A Danger To Other Drivers
Trucks are much bigger and heavier than other cars on the road – even large SUVs and pickup trucks. They can take around twenty times the stopping distance of other cars, or significantly longer when the road is wet or icy. When a car is hit by a truck, the effects can be devastating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s preliminary report for 2020 indicates that 4,895 individuals were killed in accidents involving larger commercial trucks.
On top of this, trucking has a lot of incentives to create even more dangerous practices. While the federal government does place limits on how much a truck and a driver can drive in a week, there are incentives to break these rules. The more freight a truck can haul, and the longer a truck and driver can stay on the road, the more money a trucking company can make. Driver’s may be willing to break these rules, too, because of the promise of greater pay.
Even more worrying is the condition of truck drivers during long trips. The minimum required rest period after eleven continuous hours of driving is a ten-hour period. Most people who work an eight-hour job can probably guess at the exhaustion a trucker faces after eleven hours of work. Even following these rules, a truck driver’s tired driving can be nearly as dangerous as drunk driving.
In some cases, in order to stay alert, some truck drivers resort to using drugs – both legal and illegal. Some may even drink on the job, hoping that their “buzz” will either keep them alert or help pass the time. When drivers resort to using drugs or alcohol to give them energy and keep them alert, they are putting themselves and every other driver they encounter at risk.
Types of Truck Accidents in Springdale, AR
Operator error is one of the primary reasons large commercial truck accidents occur. These massive vehicles are difficult to control and are slow to respond. If an operator is distracted or driving recklessly, a catastrophic accident is likely. The severity of an accident victim’s injuries often depends on the type of accident. Furthermore, the difficulty involved in determining fault could be influenced by what happened. Below are some of the common types of truck accidents that occur in Springdale and the surrounding area.
Large tractor-trailers consist of two parts: the trailer and the cab. The two sections of truck are connected by a hitch that lies in the forward area of the trailer. This movable joint pivots every time the truck executes a turn. A devastating accident occurs when the trailer continues to pivot and swings towards the cab. When the truck begins to fold together, it resembles a jackknife. These types of accidents are caused by various factors, including improper braking, overloading, inexperience, weather conditions, and poor maintenance or malfunctioning braking system.
One of the most common accidents that occur between two cars is a rear-end collision. Rear-end collisions also involve commercial vehicles. If a driver is distracted or if the road surface is slippery, a massive truck will not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a car that has suddenly stopped. If a truck driver is tailgating, the large blind spot in front of the cab makes it difficult to see a smaller car or motorcycle. To avoid these crashes, a truck driver should keep a sufficiently safe distance between their rig and any vehicles in front.
Read-end collisions sometimes involve another vehicle striking the larger truck. In some cases, this might be considerably more dangerous for the occupants of the smaller car. Because of how high a trailer rides off the ground, a car that cannot avoid a collision could slide under the truck, crushing the upper portion of the car and potentially becoming lodged under a moving truck.
In many truck accidents, a truck driver will walk away with minor or no injuries, while anyone in a smaller vehicle probably suffered severe or fatal injuries. However, this is not the case in rollover accidents. When a truck driver losses control of their vehicle while turning, perhaps because they were speeding or the trailer was overloaded or unbalanced, the entire rig could rollover. A rollover accident is dangerous for the truck driver and could be deadly for other motorists if their vehicles are crushed under the trailer. Another common cause of rollover accidents is truck tire blowouts.
Some truck accidents are the direct result of improperly loaded cargo. If the truck’s load is unsecured or if the trailer is overloaded, the truck could become unbalanced and difficult to control. It is also possible for an unsecured cargo to spill out onto the road while the truck is barreling down the highway. Any motorists in close proximity of the spilled cargo could find themselves at immediate risk of an accident. Depending on the traffic, a cargo spill could result in a multi-car pileup.
Liable Parties for a Springdale Truck Accident
If a drunk driver hits you at an intersection, it is rather clear who you should sue. However, when you are involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, multiple parties could be held accountable.
The Truck Driver
The most obvious party to hold accountable is the truck driver. Most truck accidents are caused by operator error or recklessness. If a truck driver was texting, speeding, eating, or tired, they could be held accountable if their negligent behavior caused an accident. Truck drivers are guilty of the same careless conduct many motorists exhibit. However, because of the size of their vehicles, the consequences are often catastrophic.
The Trucking Company
In many cases, it is possible to hold an employer legally liable for their employee’s conduct through the legal theory of vicarious liability. Some trucking companies attempt to circumvent responsibility by claiming that the drivers are independent contractors. However, there are ways to still hold a company accountable. For example, if a trucking company hired an inexperienced driver or one with a poor driving history, it could be held liable.
Additionally, there are specific business practices that could open a trucking company to legal liability. For instance, failing to inspect or repair its fleet of trucks or falsifying driving logs could be grounds to sue the trucking company. Our Springdale truck accident lawyers will examine the facts of your case to determine if the trucking company could be held liable. In most cases, an injured accident victim wants to include the trucking company because it will have a commercial insurance policy.
The Truck Manufacturer
Some truck accidents are not the driver’s fault. When a system malfunctions or if the truck fails to perform as intended, there might be little a driver could do to avoid an accident. Manufacturing errors or design flaws could render a commercial truck unreasonably safe. For example, if the brakes fail on a truck because a hose had a structural flaw, the company that built the truck could be held liable.
Trucks are large machines that do not respond or maneuver like smaller cars. If a reckless driver cuts off a truck or otherwise causes an operator to make a sudden maneuver to avoid a collision, a chain of events could ensue that result in another accident or accidents. Sometimes an expert accident reconstructionist is required to piece together what actually occurred.
What Kinds of Compensation Are Available?
Auto accidents can cause a large range of injuries. Some crashes may cause minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises, but even mild car crashes have the potential to cause whiplash and other injuries to the neck, head, and back, or broken bones. The worst potential injuries, though, are loss of limb, permanent paralysis, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or even death.
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a tractor trailer, you may now be facing medical bills, immense pain, and maybe out of work. Luckily, any of these financial burdens can be redressed in court.
Compensation for medical bills is the most straight-forward of the types of damages you may be entitled to receive. When someone is injured by the negligence or bad action of another, all medical care stemming from that injury is available as damages. This means that not only surgeries and in-hospital medical care would be compensable, but also things like ambulance rides, X-rays or MRIs, and even continuing medical care in the future.
If your injuries have made you miss work, you should be able to recover those lost wages. Whether you are temporarily out of work while you recover, or have lost your job altogether due to injury, you should be able to recover those lost wages. Even future lost wages, if you are no longer able to work, can be recovered.
Arkansas courts can also compensate people for their pain and suffering. Some trauma from car accidents can have intense pain and other side effects. Some states place limits on how much money you can receive for pain and suffering, but Arkansas actually has a constitutional ban on limiting damages. That means that, no matter how much your pain and suffering is worth, a jury can award you what is fair.
Trust a Springdale Truck Accident Attorney With Your Case
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car crash with a truck, or you have lost a loved one to a truck accident, call our Springdale truck accident attorneys. They are experienced personal injury lawyers serving clients in the Springdale area, and throughout Northwest Arkansas, for almost twenty years. For a free consultation, call (479) 316-0438.