Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Clients in Rogers, Arkansas, and Nationwide
The Arkansas truck accident lawyers at Oliver Law Firm know that very few accidents are as catastrophic as those involving big trucks. 18-wheelers, big rigs, tractor-trailers, and more are huge and intimidating on the highway, and the damage they cause is often devastating.
Yet, most large commercial vehicle wrecks are preventable, occurring because of negligence on the part of the trucking company, the driver, or both. At Oliver Law Firm, we tenaciously pursue justice for our clients because there is no excuse for the losses caused by the failure to follow safety standards and trucking regulations.
Truck accident cases can be complex as well as physically and emotionally overwhelming and painful. We understand the impact this type of accident can have on a victim and their family. For this reason, Oliver Law Firm strives to provide the highest caliber of client service.
Our team of lawyers and legal professionals is well-versed in the complex litigation resulting from truck accident injuries. We know what to look for in determining fault and are passionate about fighting the big trucking companies.
If you’ve been injured or a loved one has died in an 18-wheeler accident, call the experienced Arkansas truck accident lawyers of Oliver Law Firm at (479) 202-5200 to schedule a FREE case review. We will assess the merits of your claim and offer guidance on how to best pursue legal recourse for your losses.
There is never any cost until we obtain a favorable outcome for you. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients throughout Arkansas and the United States from our office in Rogers.
We Accept Attorney Referrals for Semi Truck Accident Cases Across the United States
Oliver Law Firm proudly accepts referrals from and enters co-counsel agreements with attorneys and law firms throughout Arkansas and the nation.
If you need to refer a truck accident case, whether because it falls outside the scope of your practice or you simply aren’t able to handle additional cases under your current workload, contact our firm to discuss a co-counsel agreement.
Common Types of Arkansas Truck Accidents
The sheer size of an 18-wheeler truck is intimidating, and big rig accidents can be catastrophic, with multiple vehicles involved and injuries suffered. In addition to the standard types of car crashes we see daily (head-on, rear-end, t-bone, or side-impact collisions, etc.), the composition and magnitude of large trucks create some unique types of truck accidents.
Some common types of large truck accidents in Arkansas are:
- Rollovers: Large trucks typically weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles, giving them a less stable center of gravity and making them more prone to rollovers.
- Jackknife collisions: These occur when a driver slams on the brakes, and the trailer and cab of the semi-truck begin to move out of sync. The truck’s trailer will swing to the side instead of moving in line with the cab.
- Wide turn accidents: Due to the wide turns necessary to maneuver a large truck, there can be confusion and collisions with other vehicles on the road.
- Underride crashes: These occur when a smaller car collides with a large truck and slides underneath the trailer.
- Spilled cargo accidents: When cargo is not properly secured, it can spill onto roadways, putting other drivers at serious risk.
Large truck accident claims can also involve unique challenges. The knowledgeable lawyers at the Oliver Law have a great deal of experience handling these types of claims. We will fight aggressively on behalf of our clients to seek the compensation you deserve.
What Causes Truck Accidents in Arkansas?
The unfortunate truth is that many truck accidents could have been avoided had proper safety precautions been taken. However, many trucking companies feel that truck regulations stand in the way of their profits. They will cut corners to improve their bottom line even when the cost of their decisions means lives will be lost.
Many different elements can contribute to a truck accident. It is important to obtain a lawyer who can investigate and identify the cause of the crash and the negligent party.
Some common causes of big rig accidents in Arkansas are:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency responsible for regulating interstate trucking operations. They require that truck drivers follow hours-of-service regulations to ward off fatigue. Fatigued driving is just as dangerous as drug or alcohol-impaired driving.
The FMSCA has imposed hours of service and the electronic logging device rule to help save lives. Yet, truck drivers and trucking companies still find ways around these regulations.
Drug or Alcohol-Impaired Driving
In Arkansas in 2020, 638 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 206 of those deaths resulted from drunk drivers. Every death caused by an impaired driver is a tragedy that could have been avoided.
The FMSCA requires drug and alcohol testing of commercial motor vehicle drivers. In 10 CFR § 26.31(c), the regulation states that drivers should be tested before employment, for cause, after any accident, to follow-up on any plan of abstinence, and also on random, unannounced occasions.
The FMSCA also regulates weight limits and cargo securement for large trucks. The shifting of improperly loaded or secured cargo can put trucks in danger of jackknife or rollover accidents. Unsecured cargo can spill from the truck, hitting other cars. Overweight loads may also impede a driver’s ability to steer, slowing their maneuver time.
Vehicle Defects & Improper Maintenance
Brake failures, blown tires, fractured axles, and more can lead to frightful accidents when an 18-wheeler truck is hurtling down the road. Substandard maintenance of these hulking vehicles can also contribute to a truck accident. Proper maintenance can ensure that the vehicle is functioning properly and may help to spot a vehicle defect before it becomes a hazard.
A combination of federal and state regulations dictate the requirements to qualify to drive a commercial motor vehicle. These requirements were created to ensure that truck drivers are capable of driving their vehicles safely.
Due to shortages in qualified drivers, some trucking companies have decided to cut corners. That means sending large commercial vehicles out on the road with undertrained and unprepared drivers. When a driver doesn’t understand the nuances of their vehicle, they are a danger to everyone around them.
Every driver on the road is supposed to follow certain rules to keep others safe. If these rules are violated, accidents and injuries are inevitable. Breaking the laws of the road could be deadly in a car; in a semi-truck, the consequences could be catastrophic.
According to Table 2 of 49 CFR § 383.51, any commercial driver with “a second conviction of any combination of offenses” like speeding 15 mph over the speed limit, tailgating, erratic lane changes, reckless driving, and so on will be disqualified from driving their vehicle for 60 days.
Arkansas truck accidents are most often due to errors or wrongdoing by the truck driver, the trucking company, or both. Multiple parties can be responsible for an accident, and it can be challenging to determine the cause of a wreck and who is liable for the resulting losses.
The lawyers of Oliver Law Firm are dedicated to standing up for our clients. These big trucking companies need to be shown what for when they allow or encourage reckless behavior that results in terrible consequences.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in Arkansas?
When deciphering liability in a truck accident claim, having a skilled truck accident lawyer in your corner is critical. Liability can be complicated, especially when the negligence of multiple parties contributed to the injuries or deaths suffered in an accident.
Parties that may be liable in your truck accident claim include:
- The driver of the truck
- The owner of the truck
- The trucking company
- The shipping or freight company responsible for loading the truck
- The manufacturers of any defective parts that may have caused the accident
- Third-party companies who performed maintenance and/or repairs on the truck
In these types of cases, a victim’s losses are typically paid through the defendant’s insurance company. When multiple parties are liable for an accident, you will need to deal with multiple insurance companies to pursue compensation. Insurers have a habit of lowballing settlement offers. They’re more worried about their bottom line than your physical and financial losses.
Attaining the services of a seasoned truck accident lawyer means you’ve got the upper hand. At Oliver Law Firm, we have the ability to investigate, ascertaining fault in the crash and the parties liable. We will stand up to the insurance company in pursuit of the maximum compensation you deserve for your losses.
Common Injuries in Arkansas Truck Accidents
A collision with a large commercial vehicle could be disastrous, indelibly affecting a victim’s life or ending it and devastating their loved ones. Occupants of other motor vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists often suffer catastrophic injuries when in an accident with a large truck.
Some injuries that are commonly seen in victims of truck accidents in Arkansas include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back & spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash & other neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Joint and soft tissue damage
- Internal injuries
- Burn injuries
- Loss of a limb
In the most tragic cases, victims of truck accidents do not survive their injuries. If your loved one was killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler, our attorneys could pursue compensation for your family’s terrible losses through a wrongful death claim.
Damages in Your Truck Accident Claim
The losses can be unimaginable when a car, bike, or pedestrian collides with a semi-truck. The victims and their families may be entitled to compensation if another party was negligent in that accident.
The truck accident lawyers of Oliver Law Firm are prepared to pursue recompense for the damages you’ve sustained due to injury or losing a loved one. Compensatory damages in your claim may include but are not limited to:
- Past & future medical expenses
- The cost of travel for medical treatment
- Expenses for home or vehicle modifications
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain & suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disability or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral & burial expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of companionship & guidance
- Loss of household services
- Property damage
Though extremely rare, you may be able to recover punitive damages in your truck accident claim. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate a plaintiff for their losses. Instead, they aim to punish the defendant for their actions and deter others from acting similarly.
Arkansas Code § 16-55-206 states that a plaintiff may seek punitive damages if they are able to prove compensatory damages and that “the defendant knew or ought to have known…that [their] conduct would naturally and probably result in injury or damage and that [they] continued the conduct with malice or in reckless disregard of the consequences.”
More often than not, compensation will be recovered through a settlement with the insurance company. However, insurance companies have a reputation for underestimating the damages you’ve suffered.
That’s when an experienced Arkansas truck accident attorney comes in handy. We are practiced in negotiations and will pursue the compensation you deserve all the way to court if we have to.
What Is Arkansas’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule?
Simply stated, the modified comparative negligence standard determines whether and what portion of damages you are entitled to. If you are determined to have partial liability in a matter, that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue compensation.
As long as your percentage of fault is less than 50%, you will be able to seek damages. However, the amount of your damages will be lessened in proportion to your liability. For example, if your losses totaled $1000 and you were 10% at fault in the accident, the damages you would be able to recover would be $900.
What Is the Truck Accident Statute of Limitations in Arkansas?
If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been lost in an Arkansas truck accident, it is crucial to file an accident or wrongful death claim as soon as you are able. Statutes of limitations creep up faster than you’d think. That is another reason that having a truck accident attorney in your corner is an obvious boon.
According to Arkansas Codes § 16-56-105 and § 16-62-102, the statute of limitations on truck accident injury claims and wrongful death claims, respectively, is 3 years. However, considering the variables that might affect those limitations and the time it can take to assemble a complex case, it is in your best interest to consult with a lawyer as soon as you are able.
After the physical and emotional devastation of a truck accident, you do not want to be in financial straits as well. It is essential to have legal representation. You do not want to miss your chance to pursue the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help?
Oliver Law Firm is devoted to providing the highest level of client service. When you are hurting from an injury or the loss of someone you loved, we are here to help. Let us handle the legal minutiae so you can heal.
If you’ve considered handling your truck accident claim alone, you risk missing out on the compensation you deserve for your losses. We deal with insurance companies daily. We know how they think and how to negotiate our way to an optimal settlement.
When bringing a claim to Oliver Law Firm, you are at no risk at all. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your claim. There is no cost until we obtain a favorable outcome for you. Take your time to recover while we pursue recovery of your losses.
As your attorneys, Oliver Law Firm will:
- Explore your legal options
- Investigate and collect evidence
- Consult your doctors on the extent and ramifications of your injuries
- Assemble a claim
- Calculate damages
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Prepare for trial
The vast majority of personal injury cases will settle before reaching a courtroom. However, we will prepare for whatever is necessary to pursue just compensation in your case. We may not be able to heal your broken bones or hearts, but we can ensure that everything has been done to help you recover your financial losses.
In 2019, 5,005 people perished in truck accidents, according to NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts. Further, the large-truck drivers in those collisions “had a higher percentage (22.9%) of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of other vehicle types….”
That frequency and recurrence is concerning, considering the destruction an 18-wheeler accident can cause. 5,005 people in one year lost in often avoidable accidents is too much. One life lost in that manner is too much.
If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been lost in an Arkansas truck accident, we know you are hurting physically, emotionally, and financially. You need to heal and mourn, and we can help by doing the leg and legal work you shouldn’t have to worry about at this time.
At Oliver Law Firm, our attorneys have substantial experience investigating, negotiating, and pursuing just compensation in truck accident claims. We are committed to providing each client with compassionate and capable representation. We are dedicated to fighting for your rights, holding negligent parties accountable, and helping you and your family find a bit of peace of mind.
Contact Oliver Law Firm today online or at (479) 202-5200 for a FREE case evaluation. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in and around Rogers, Arkansas and across the United States.
How Common Are Trucking Accidents?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2020, there were 4,965 fatalities in accidents involving large trucks, which marked a 1-percent decrease compared to the 5,032 fatalities in 2019.
Among these tragic incidents:
- 71 percent of the fatalities in 2020 were occupants of other vehicles, not the large trucks themselves.
- Approximately 76 percent of the fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays, specifically between 6 a.m. on Monday and 5:59 p.m. on Friday.
How To Know When a Truck Accident Needs to Be Reported
The reporting requirements for truck accidents in Arkansas are typically determined by the severity of the accident and the extent of the damages. The following are the general guidelines for reporting a truck accident in Arkansas:
- Property Damage: If a truck accident results in property damage exceeding $1,000, the accident must be reported to the local law enforcement agency or the Arkansas State Police. The report should be filed as soon as possible after the accident.
- Injuries or Fatalities: If a truck accident causes injuries, no matter how minor, or if it results in a fatality, the accident must be reported to the local law enforcement or Arkansas State Police immediately.
- Hit and Run: If a truck is involved in a hit and run accident, the driver must stop and remain at the scene, and report the accident to the local law enforcement or the nearest police station as soon as possible.
- Hazardous Materials: If a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in an accident, the driver must report the accident to the appropriate authorities, which may include state and federal agencies responsible for handling hazardous materials incidents.
How To Identify Evidence Needed in a Truck Accident Case
In a truck accident case, various types of evidence are essential to determine liability, assess damages, and build a strong legal claim. The evidence used can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, but some common types of evidence include:
- Accident Scene Evidence
- Vehicle Damage
- Witness Statements
- Police Reports
- Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and Black Box Data
- Driver’s Logs and Records
- Maintenance and Inspection Records
- Medical Records
- Expert Testimony
- Surveillance or Dashcam Footage
Collecting and preserving evidence is crucial in a truck accident case, as it helps establish liability and ensures a fair assessment of damages. If you are involved in a truck accident, seeking legal representation from an experienced attorney can be instrumental in gathering and presenting the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Are Truck Drivers Tested for Alcohol and Drugs After a Crash?
Yes, truck drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing after a crash. According to FMCSA regulations, commercial drivers involved in accidents must undergo drug and alcohol testing if the accident meets any of the following criteria:
- Fatality: If the accident results in a fatality and a commercial driver is involved, the driver must be tested for drugs and alcohol.
- Citation and Injury: If the accident involves a citation issued to the commercial driver, and there are injuries requiring immediate medical treatment away from the scene, the driver must undergo drug and alcohol testing.
- Disabling Damage and Citation: If the accident results in disabling damage to any vehicle(s) involved, and a citation is issued to the commercial driver, they must be tested for drugs and alcohol.
Post-accident testing helps determine if drugs or alcohol played a role in the accident and aids in enforcing safety standards within the trucking industry. This testing is an important part of ensuring the safety of all road users and preventing accidents caused by impaired truck drivers.
How To Determine Negligence in a Truck Accident Case
To establish negligence in a truck accident case, the following elements must be proven:
- Duty of Care: The first step in determining negligence is establishing that the defendant (typically the truck driver and/or the trucking company) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party or parties). In the context of a truck accident, this duty of care usually refers to the obligation to operate the commercial vehicle safely and adhere to all applicable traffic laws and safety regulations.
- Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care. This means showing that the truck driver or the trucking company failed to meet the standard of care expected in their actions or inactions. For example, breaching the duty of care could include driving recklessly, violating Hours of Service regulations, driving under the influence, or failing to properly maintain the truck.
- Causation: It must be proven that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident and the resulting injuries or damages. This involves demonstrating a clear link between the negligent actions of the defendant and the harm suffered by the plaintiff.
- Damages: The plaintiff must have suffered actual damages or injuries as a result of the accident. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other relevant losses.
Can I Sue Someone Personally After a Truck Accident?
Yes, you may be able to sue someone personally after a truck accident, depending on the circumstances and who was at fault for the accident. If the truck accident was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of an individual, such as the truck driver or another driver involved in the accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against that person.
There are several parties who may share liability in a truck accident case. An experienced truck accident attorney can help determine who is responsible for your injuries and help you pursue the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled under the law.
How To Protect Your Rights at the Scene of a Truck Accident
If you are involved in a truck accident, it is essential to take certain steps to ensure your safety and protect your rights. Here’s what you should do at the scene of a truck accident:
- Check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately by dialing 911.
- If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location away from traffic to avoid further accidents or injuries.
- Activate your vehicle’s hazard lights to make it more visible to other motorists.
- Report the accident to the police, even if it seems minor.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the truck driver and any other parties involved in the accident.
- If it is safe to do so, take photographs of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, any visible damages, skid marks, road conditions, and any relevant road signs or traffic signals.
- If there are witnesses to the accident, try to get their names and contact information.
- Avoid discussing the details of the accident with the truck driver or others involved, and do not admit fault.
- Make notes about the accident while the details are fresh in your mind. Include information about the time, date, location, weather conditions, and any other relevant factors.
- Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, it’s essential to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
- Notify your insurance company about the accident, providing them with accurate and truthful information.
- Consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
When Oliver Law Firm goes to work for you, we apply every resource and every team member to your case. We form relationships with our clients and often become extended members of the family. Our passion is helping people, to be a voice for the voiceless, a champion for justice, and a protector of your rights. We are not afraid to get our hands and our feet dirty in order to win a desirable outcome.