What Are Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Trucking Or Commercial Vehicle Or Semi-Truck Accidents Across Arkansas?
In this article, you will learn:
- Common causes and results of trucking accidents
- The implications of trucking-related personal injury claims
- How insurance differs in trucking accident claims
One of the leading causes of trucking accidents I encounter is driver fatigue, meaning inattentiveness from the drivers of the commercial vehicles, which I believe occurs from a simple lack of rest. Many of the accidents that I’ve dealt with occur toward the end of the driver’s route, and some of them have been toward the end of a particularly long run. The other problem I see, especially on two-lane roads in the Ozark Mountain area, are truckers who think that they can muscle their way out onto the highway. I was involved in a pretty big trucking accident case a couple of years ago where it was clear that the trucker had grown impatient waiting on traffic and decided he was going to muscle his way out on the highway. This resulted in my client rounding the curve of the highway and going underneath the truck’s trailer.
- Is It Worth Fighting A Large Trucking Company’s Powerful Insurance Company To Pay My Medical Bills For The Serious Injuries Caused By Their Driver?
Failing to yield the right of way is another significant issue. I’ve also handled cases where there was just a mechanical failure. Additionally, driver inexperience can lead to accidents. When truck drivers come down some of these mountains in the Ozarks, they need to know how to properly use all of their truck’s gears and brakes. If they are a little bit inexperienced, they end up losing their brakes when they get in the mountains. I’ve had a case where the trucker lost his brakes and couldn’t stop as the highway he was traveling teed into the southern highway. My client was driving down the southern highway and the truck driver crashed my client into the side of a bluff. My client’s vehicle caught fire, burning him alive. This is just one example, but the results of trucking accidents have the potential to be horrific.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Serious Injuries That You See As A Result Of Semi-Truck Accidents In The Ozarks?
Some of the most common serious injuries I have encountered due to trucking accidents include numerous broken bones, head injuries, and severe burns, but the majority of my trucking cases have been wrongful deaths.
Who Could Potentially Be Liable For My Serious Injuries Or A Wrongful Death In An Arkansas Trucking Accident Case?
A variety of parties could be held liable for serious injuries or wrongful death after a trucking accident in Arkansas. First, of course, the driver is typically employed by the employer. We have a legal doctrine in Arkansas called “Respondeat Superior,” which means the driver’s negligence will be imputed to his employer. We also have Placard Liability in Arkansas. More than one company may have a hand in whatever freight is being transported by the truck. For example, you could have a tractor owned by one company and driven by their employee while the trailer is owned or leased by another company and bears that company’s logo. This is why it is critical to look at each party involved to determine which of them may have some liability in a truck wreck case. It’s not just as simple as the driver and the company who employed them.
What Potential Damages Might I Be Able To Recover For My Severe Trucking Accident Injuries?
Potential damages to recover could include your medical bills for the injuries to your body and your wage loss. I also see a lot of permanent impairments after truck wrecks. Suppose you’re lucky enough to survive a trucking accident, but your injuries left you with permanent impairments, meaning you’re going to have future medical bills as well as permanent restrictions and limitations, for example you now have vision problems or you’ve suffered a bad head injury. I’ve also represented clients that were in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives and who needed feeding tubes. It is possible to recover damages for your pain and suffering as well as your future pain and suffering if you have any permanent impairments.
Additionally, Arkansas courts apply a rule called modified comparative fault—also known as modified comparative negligence—if the accident victim bears some fault in causing the accident. For example, the trucking company may be found 80% at fault, and the injured party may be found 20% at fault. If, hypothetically, the total damages in the case are $100,000.00, the trucking company with 80% of the fault would be responsible for paying $80,000.00, while the $20,000.00 for which you as the injured party bear responsibility would be deducted.
The modified comparative fault rule only applies if the injured party is found to be 49% or less at fault for the accident. If the injured party is found to be 50% at fault or greater, the injured party will be barred from recovering damages from the other party.
Is It True Commercial Vehicles Or Semi-Trucks Tend To Have Significantly Larger Insurance Policy Limits Than Individual Motorists?
Commercial vehicles and semi-trucks tend to have significantly larger insurance policies than individual motorists. There is a federal law that requires a minimum amount of insurance coverage for commercial vehicles and semi-trucks that is substantially more than any law that Arkansas requires. Additionally, as a general good business practice, most trucking companies carry liability coverage that exceeds the federal minimum requirement. If you’re devastatingly injured in an accident, there is a greater chance you’ll get full compensation from a trucking case than you will from a motor vehicle case because of the vast difference in the insurance limits that are required to be carried for each vehicle.
Of course, you also have potential multiple insurance policies depending on the structure of the relationships between the tractor, the trailer, and anybody else who might have a piece of the ownership.
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