Arkansas was the scene of a tractor trailer crash that took the life of  a Little Rock man when the tractor trailer he was driving left the highway while negotiating a curve and overturned.  Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed from a truck accident.  Much of the time the truck accident is caused by a passenger vehicle but approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck. 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 often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in jackknife and rollover situations and increase the chances of severe injury and death.

Investigate negligence.

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).  After a truck accident, a thorough investigation will be undertaken to determine if there was any negligence involved in the care of the truck, or if the driver was under undue stress to make a delivery.  Families of the victim may have to approach insurance for funeral expenses or death benefits, depending on the type of coverages the driver had.

A truck accident attorney should fully investigate the cause of the accident so that the surviving family members can receive fair compensation through an insurance or legal 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. If an investigation reveals negligence of another party caused the accident, damages can be sought after in legal action against that party.

Wrongful death.

A wrongful death action shall be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the deceased person. If there is no personal representative, then the action shall be brought by the heirs at law of the deceased person.  If a nonsuit is suffered, the action shall be brought within one year from the date of the nonsuit without regard to the date of the death of the person alleged to have been wrongfully killed.

Damages.

There are two types of damages that victims can sue for including 1) compensatory damages which are those damages causing economic (loss of wages, medical bills, and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering); and 2) punitive damages meant to punish the persons being sued (Defendants).

Time limitations to file a lawsuit.

For most injuries, such as car accident injuries or medical malpractice injuries, the victim has up to 3 years to file their lawsuit. If the accident ends in death, the deceased’s survivors have the same 3-year limit to file their case.

Hire an attorney.

Due to the catastrophic personal injury and death that is often associated with truck accidents, 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