Two deputies were able to get away without injury after a tractor trailer skidded into their vehicles on an icy Interstate 49, South of West Fork. The icy road conditions played a part in the total destruction of one of the SUVs and much damage to the other.  Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed from a truck accident.  Most of the time the truck accident is caused by a passenger vehicle and approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck due to violations of speeding, tailgating, driving under the influence of prescription and illegal drugs, driving while fatigued, and driving too fast. Trucking companies are required by law to perform background checks on their drivers, but sometimes these background checks are flawed or not done at all. Some trucking companies’ have unethical practices that force their drivers to falsify logbooks, drive with defective equipment, and drive long hours.

Arkansas is among the states reported to have a high number of truck accidents as more and more tractor trailers utilize Arkansas highways and interstates. Trucks fall into two classes, those weighing 10,000 pounds or less, and those weighing more than 10,000 pounds which may move them to the Commercial Motor Vehicle category and change some of the laws and damages to be sought after in personal injury situations. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles under riding trucks in crashes. Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.  All of these factors can increase damages to the injured party of a truck accident monumentally.

Who do I contact if I am involved in a truck accident in Fayetteville, Arkansas?

Being injured in a serious accident is always a traumatic experience and dealing with the aftermath can be stressful and frustrating. Accident victims are forced to deal with hospitalization, medical treatments, missed work, lost income and pain and disability from their injuries sustained in the accident. You should contact the police, your insurance company, medical professionals if necessary and a lawyer if you feel you have a claim for damages and personal injury.

Governing state law.

The basis for most civil lawsuits is negligence, and settlements are based on the degree of fault exhibited to cause the injuries sustained.  Negligence laws are established at the state level. Arkansas follows the modified comparative negligence laws, according to A.C.A. § 16-64-122 (2016).  Each state observes comparative negligence in different ways and determines compensation that is paid to a plaintiff based on the outcome of the comparative negligence laws of the state. If you plan to sue someone in court, it is important to understand how Arkansas state laws regard modified comparative negligence. When an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of a reasonable person, and it results in an injury, it is called “negligence.”

If you are in an accident with a tractor trailer in Fayetteville Arkansas, you should:

  1. Check on the condition of the people involved in the accident;
  2. Call the police or emergency responders if needed;
  3. Get a written accident report;
  4. Remain at the accident scene;
  5. Exchange driver and insurance information;
  6. Get witness contact information;
  7. Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
  8. Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
  9. Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
  10. If the truck is a Commercial Vehicle, get State Trooper report.

Analyzing accident reports and insurance information.

Hiring a legal profession to assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data related to the above list is a viable solution to this overwhelming task if you are an accident victim.  Accidents may be caused by one driver, several drivers, road conditions, weather, natural or other causes.  Determining the percentage of fault is a matter for those who have reviewed police reports, witness reports, car damages, roadway marks and other factors present at the time of the accident.  It is necessary that the truck accident attorney fully investigate the causes of the accident so that the injured person and their family can receive full and fair compensation through a settlement. This may require an expert accident reconstructionist and review of the trucking company’s documentation to determine how and why the accident occurred. It is important to obtain this information as quickly as possible before it is lost or destroyed by the trucking company.

Hiring legal counsel.

Call an accident attorney to determine measures of “fault” and actions toward a formal proceeding to address damages and injuries sustained.  Due to the catastrophic personal injury that is often associated with accidents involving trucks, and the complex interstate trucking laws, it is prudent to seek out experienced legal counsel on the subject matter. The performance of the legal counsel you choose for your claim will have much to do with the award and damages you receive from the court.

Sources:

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks

https://statelaws.findlaw.com/accident-and-injury-laws/details-on-state-negligence-laws-chart.html

https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/STSI.htm