All accidents can be considered emotionally draining; however, an accident involving a passenger car and a large truck can be devastating. Automobiles hardly stand a chance against an 18-wheel, tractor trailer rig carrying a heavy load and traveling at highway speeds. Add to that mix a tired truck driver who is quite possibly suffering from road rage, talking on a cell phone, and eating at the same time and you have a recipe for disaster.

Should the unthinkable happen to you and your family and your involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, don’t hesitate, hire an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to serve as your advocate. If a serious injury or death occurred, you need to protect your rights against the insurance and trucking companies.

The trucking industry is highly regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Factors such as: Driver negligence and fatigue, poor maintenance, faulty equipment, unsecured loads, aggressive driving, and driving while intoxicated (DWI) or under the influence of a drug (DUI) can all contribute to the cause of an accident. Legal representation will ensure that your rights are protected and help you recover your personal property damages and healthcare needs.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is responsible for providing and maintaining safe, effective and environmentally sound transportation system for the state. As part of this mission, rules and regulations are set forth and permits are often required for commercial vehicles operating within the state. All types of commercial vehicles are covered including, but not limited to: Light duty – mini trucks, pickup trucks, panel trucks, vans, tow trucks; medium trucks – standard trucks, platform trucks, flatbed trucks, fire trucks; heavy trucks and haulers – tractors, dump trucks, garbage trucks, log carriers, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, refrigerator trucks, tractor-trailers, car haulers, tankers or tank trucks, cranes, construction vehicles, and military trucks.

The Arkansas Highway Police are responsible for enforcing laws and regulations. The officers are regularly involved in drug interdiction, motor carrier safety and hazardous materials enforcement, and training.
The Arkansas Trucking Portal is an aggregate site designed to help you find information and services in one place to help make doing business in Arkansas easier for industries involved with transportation.

Arkansas truck laws along with federal regulations can be very involved and confusing, it’s important to have an Arkansas truck accident lawyer on your side. Taylor King & Associates personal injury lawyers are “On your side – by your side.”

Truck accidents where passenger vehicles are involved most often result in serious injuries and death. More often than not the accident is caused because of some sort of negligence by the truck driver to the trucking company, or sometimes, both. Many truck accidents could well have been avoided, with a little more care on the part of the truck driver or trucking company.

Truck Accident Issues

Truck drivers are often called upon to work impossible schedules. They frequently go many hours without sleep and for days on end resulting in a condition known as truck driver fatigue. When they perform beyond human limits, which truck drivers often do, safety is sacrificed, putting other vehicles on the road at risk. There are laws in place limiting truck drivers driving hours and miles for their safety and others on the road as well. But truck driver fatigue is not the only reason; truck accidents have several other contributory factors. Some of the main causes of truck accidents are:

  • Driver fatigue - though the number of driving hours in a given day or week are restricted by state and federal laws.

  • Driver distraction.

  • Driver stress.

  • Use of alcohol or drugs by the driver – Some drivers use illegal drugs to help them stay awake. Truck companies are required by law to screen every new driver for substance abuse before hiring them. They must also conduct regular screenings for substance abuse with all their drivers.

  • Exceeding the maximum permissible load.

  • Driving with an improperly secured load.

  • Improper maintenance of trucks – This is a fault of both the driver and the trucking company. The driver is legally required to rigorously inspect the truck at every stop. Trucks are also required to be properly maintained by the trucking company for which strict guidelines are issued.

  • Speeding, negligent overtaking and failure to comply with the rules of the road. Given their size, the load they carry and the long braking period, trucks are particularly dangerous when driven at high speeds. Over 25% of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents had a prior record of speeding.

All the Way to the End

If you’ve been in a road accident involving a truck, you need to see a truck accident attorney to ensure that you’re properly compensated. At Taylor King Law, we specialize in truck accident cases and will assign you to an experienced truck injury lawyer who will fight on your behalf for a just and fair compensation.

Truck driver fatigue is the exhausted feeling experienced by a driver when behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. Truck drivers are required to work unbelievably long hours with demanding schedules combined with impossible deadlines. This is part of the requirements and they know this before accepting the job. There are laws now inhibiting long driving hours but yet, accidents still occur.

Fatigue Affects Motor Control and Concentration

As a not surprising consequence, truck driver fatigues sets in, one of the main causes of truck accidents in the United States. Truck driver fatigue seriously compromises the judgment of an individual while operating a commercial motor vehicle. It is a particularly dangerous condition because it impairs a driver’s ability to assess his/her own fatigue level. And also because these vehicles are huge.

How Fatigue Sets In

Sleep deprivation is another condition that truck drivers are prone to, because they often stay awake for longer than the customary 16 to 17 hours. Sleep deprivation not only leads to diminished performance and slow reflexes but adds to driver fatigue. Sleep deprivation tends to accumulate the longer the driver goes without adequate sleep. This upsets the individual’s natural circadian rhythm. Sometimes breaking the normal sleep pattern into two shorter periods, instead of one extended normal sleep period, often tends to exacerbate the position and adds to the sleep deficit.

Time Spent Driving is Not the Only Factor

Data collected by various administrative bodies over a four year period concludes that 8.15 percent of all truck-related accidents were caused by driver fatigue. The vast majority of fatigue-related accidents involved males. During the study period, 82% of drivers in fatigue-related accidents were men. Truck driver fatigue is not merely connected to the time spent driving, but is also a function of several other sleep-related issues.

Helping Yourself

If you know of anyone who is a victim of a truck accident caused possibly because of truck driver fatigue, you should get in touch with a committed and experienced truck accident lawyer. A truck injury lawyer would guide the victim through the minefield of negotiating with insurance companies to attain the compensation the victim deserves. In fact it is better to consult with an accident attorney before meeting with the insurance adjustor for a myriad of reasons.

Contact the lawyers at Taylor King Law for a free consultation.

A victim of a truck accident could be mired in a mess of confusion. Fortunately, federal and state regulations require that any accident involving a truck or trailer be inspected by a certified truck inspector before the vehicles are removed from the scene of the crash. This report, which is independent of the local police report, may be obtained from the concerned government agency by a truck accident victim. The report attests to the condition of the truck and trailer, and its critical mechanical parts.

Preservation of Data

The truck industry uses devices similar to the “black box” of an aircraft. It records a substantial amount of data which is helpful in an investigation. The data would include the speed of the truck, the pattern of speed when the brakes were applied and even how long the driver had been driving on the day in question, and the periods of rest. If you are involved in a trucking accident you should try and ensure that this data is preserved because it could well be erased as a regular routine procedure of the company.

Who is responsible?

Most truck accidents are caused by driver error. Other causes are mechanical failure, road design, traffic signal failures, weather conditions, and mechanical failures. A truck accident is always a nightmare for a victim because it is difficult to pinpoint responsibility since more than one party is involved. Apart from the driver, you have the owner, the company that leases the vehicle, the loaders, and the vehicle manufacturer. While all these disparate parties could have contributed to the accident, the inspection report and “black box” can do much to narrow down the responsibility.

This is Routine to Them

A truck accident lawyer would be best placed to obtain a grasp of the situation and raise a credible claim for compensation.

Trucking accidents are more complex than normal traffic accidents. Invariably there is more than one party involved – the owner and the driver - which makes fixing responsibility more difficult. Getting data on what went wrong is also rather involved and often requires the services of an industry insider like a truck accident lawyer. Recovering compensation, if you are the victim in a truck accident, requires a thorough understanding of how truck accidents happen and the involvement of the various concerned parties and their connections with the truck and trailer. A truck accident attorney will cut through the maze of confusion and tell you whether you have a valid claim, and if so how best to present your case.

By the Numbers

Industry watchers contend that the number of truck accidents have increased by a staggering 20% in the last two decades. Currently 15.5 million trucks ply on U.S. roads, with 2 million being tractor trailers. The U.S. Department of Transport estimates that there are roughly 500,000 truck accidents each year. In 75% of these accidents which involved passenger vehicles, the driver of the passenger vehicle was responsible for the accident. It is estimated that in only 16% of truck accidents was the truck driver at fault. Nonetheless, truck accidents typically cause more damage than other vehicle accidents because of their enormous size and weight of the commercial truck.

The State they are Licensed Too

The trucking industry is governed by federal laws which often determine responsibility in a truck accident case. Additionally, trucks are also accountable to the trucking laws of the respective state Department of Transportation in which they apply.

Several Parties

In a trucking accident the responsibility might vest with a plethora of players. These would include the driver, the owner, the person leasing the truck or trailer, the vehicle manufacturer if it can be proved that the accident was caused by mechanical failure, and the shipper or loader of the cargo where improper loading could be the cause of accident. The question often arises as to which insurance company is at the paying end. An experienced truck accident attorney could save you much time and heartburn by telling you exactly who is responsible and against whom to raise your claim for compensation.

Pursuing the Truth

This truck accident lawyer can determine this because they know investigators who can sniff out information. They utilize their expertise, experience, and legal authority because your attorney and their investigators know how to subpoena information and work together to uncover what really happened on that road or highway. 

On a wet June night in February of 2005 a speeding pick-up truck lost control on I-85 near Bessemer City, NC, flew off the road, and hurtled down an embankment. In the process it hit a tree and a young man in the passenger seat was ejected through the windshield and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital. The passenger was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Need more Traction

The accident raises many issues with regard to liability. In this case the surviving heirs of the passenger brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the truck for rash and negligent driving. It was a single-car accident and the truck was reported to be traveling at 85 mph. Visibility was extremely poor because of a heavy downpour at the time. The fault, according to the police, was that of the driver for driving the vehicle in rainy conditions and poor visibility, at an unsafe speed. The complaint included negligent maintenance since the tire tread on the truck was less than the recommended depth and hence unsafe.

No Seatbelt

The surviving heirs could also have brought a case against the State of North Carolina for negligent maintenance of the road in the absence of a guardrail, but such a claim would have been unlikely to be upheld because of the circumstances. No one made this man not wear a seat belt, speed, and take this type of risk.

Strong Argument

Failure to wear a seat belt was cited by the driver’s insurance company in its defense. Had the passenger worn a seat belt, the company argued, the man might not have been ejected and might still be alive.

Someone Who Knows the Law

In an accident case there is often more than one party that can be or is held liable. If you are a victim of an accident, and have sustained injury, speak to a skilled and committed accident attorney about your entitlement to compensation.

In 2005, an individual entered a workshop in Los Angeles County, which repaired commercial vehicles, and stole a tow truck. The keys were left in the ignition so all the thief had to do was start the truck and drive it out of the gate, which incidentally, was open at the time. Soon after, he lost control of the vehicle and drove it onto a sidewalk, striking several passersby.

Some of the injured filed suit against the repair shop, accusing it of negligence because it had left the keys in the ignition which allowed access to anyone, especially significant in an area of Los Angeles notorious for high vehicle theft.

The repair shop in its defense brought a motion for dismissal of the case in entirety on the plea that it owed no responsibility to the injured individuals, and if it did, it was not guilty of negligence which caused the injuries but the criminal who stole the truck was. The court concurred with the motion and the case was dismissed.

The injured party went on appeal. The appellate court noted the special circumstances and reversed the decision of the trial court. In its judgment it held that since the truck was parked with the keys in the ignition in an area notorious for vehicle theft, it was an invitation to thieves. Furthermore, because the facility was unlocked and open, the truck could be driven out with impunity and quite simply. Taken in total, the circumstances were such that the defendant owed a duty to third persons by not subjecting them to a risk of this nature.

If you have been a victim of injury for reasons which you believe to be of negligence, then consult an injury and accident law firm with experience in car accidents which are negligence related. You may be entitled to compensation and damages.