Semi Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured by an eighteen-wheeler, Johnson & Vines Law Firm can help you recovery for your injuries. Although the process of recovering damages from the at-fault party may be complicated, the Little Rock Semi Truck Accident Attorneys at Johnson & Vines Law Firm can help you to navigate the legal process and understand these types of claims.
Arkansas Semi Truck Accident Attorney
In most cases, semi truck accident claims are pursued against the trucking company that owns the vehicle as well as the driver himself. These lawsuits require the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in handling claims against larger-scale and sometimes multinational corporations and defendants. If you or someone you love have been injured in an Arkansas truck accident, you may be entitled to hold the other party accountable for your condition. To learn how our Little Rock truck accident attorneys may be able to assist you in seeking compensation for your losses, contact Johnson & Vines, PLLC at (501) 777-7777 or by filling out a contact form on our website.
How Can an Arkansas Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?
Whether you have been injured or you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, there a number of parties, including the driver and his or her employer, who may be held accountable for your losses. However, it is still relatively common for these parties to deny liability or fault for an accident. An attorney can help you to establish liability for the incident, collect evidence that supports and strengthens your claim and works to ensure that compensation is sought from the appropriate parties.
Following a truck accident, the trucking company and its insurance provider may often begin an immediate investigation of the scene of the crash. These companies have detailed, specific procedures pertaining to the handling of truck accident claims, which are designed to limit the recovery of those who have sustained injuries in the crash. They may take photos of the accident scene, record statements from witnesses and examine the damaged vehicles to determine the extent of the damage. Additionally, Arkansas state authorities may launch their own investigation, which may provide beneficial for your claim, as you may be eligible to use this documentation as evidence.
Johnson & Vines, PLLC understands the importance of working side-by-side with specialized experts to assist in complementing the official investigation. These individuals can:
- Interview witnesses
- Review camera footage, if available
- Analyze and review medical records
- Review mandatory accident and police reports
- Consult experts to reconstruct the accident scene and recreate the crash
- Interview medical staff
Additionally, there are a number of parties who could potentially be held accountable for injuries you sustain in a truck accident, including the:
- Truck driver’s employer
- Truck driver
- Company leasing the truck
- Owner of the truck
- Owner of the trailer, if attached
- Company leasing the trailer
- Owner of the leasing company
- Manufacturer of the trailer, truck or components
Attorneys experienced in handling complex truck accident lawsuits will work to understand how to clarify which party may or may not be held responsible for your injuries. To determine this, attorneys may investigate:
- Maintenance records
- The driving history of the vehicle and trailer
- The level of control the company had over its drivers
- Driving records and logs, including weigh-ins
- The party that had primary custody and control of the vehicle at the time of the crash
- Potential manufacturing defects
- Past criminal convictions
- Past violations of Arkansas state and federal trucking laws
- Potential violations of Arkansas state and federal driving regulations
In most cases, the cost of treating your injuries will exceed the amount covered by your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. To recover compensation for the remaining amount of your losses, your attorney may have to negotiate with the insurance company and potentially file a claim or lawsuit for additional damages. Additionally, if you have lost a loved one in a semi truck accident, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney can help to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled based on the injuries and damages sustained.
Arkansas Truck Accident Lawsuits
Truck accidents may result in injuries ranging from mild to severe. Serious injuries may include spinal cord damage, head trauma, burns, disfigurement, lacerations, broken bones, paralysis or death. After you exhaust your PIP benefits and should your injuries exceed the “injury threshold,” you may be eligible to pursue additional compensation by bringing forth a lawsuit against the other party. The most common categories of truck accident claims include:
Most lawsuits that victims file to recover compensation for injuries suffered in truck accidents will be based on the negligence of the driver. Some common types of negligence include:
- Overloading trucks
- Lack of truck driving experience
- Failure to see other vehicles due to the truck’s blind spot
- Operating oversized trucks on narrow roads
- Failing to stop at weigh stations as required by law
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Driving for extended periods of time with no rest breaks
To prevail in a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff will be required to demonstrate that the truck driver had a responsibility or a duty of care to other vehicles on the roadway, the driver subsequently breached this duty through a failure to act or by acting in a certain matter, the plaintiff consequently sustained an injury, and that the breach of duty caused the injury.
In some cases, the manager or owner of the trucking company, the employer of the driver, the owner of the truck and their respective insurance companies may be held responsible after a truck accident.
If a defect in the truck itself or in one of its components contributed to an accident, you may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer of the product. Product liability lawsuits that are based on the negligence of a manufacturer will require the victim to prove that:
- The truck was being operated as the manufacturer intended
- The defective truck or part was “unreasonably dangerous”
- The truck’s performance was not altered since its initial purchase
Product liability claims may also be filed under strict liability where proof of negligence is unnecessary. Still, plaintiffs must be able to prove that the defect originated in the manufacturing process in order to successfully win the case. To do so, the claimant will need to secure expert analysis, testing and testimony.
In many cases, truck accidents are so devastating that the victim, unfortunately, does not survive the crash. The surviving family members may be eligible to file a claim on behalf of their loved one to recover compensation for their losses. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family is required to prove the same facts as the deceased, had he or she survived and filed a claim. An attorney can help family members to recover non-economic, economic and, in certain cases, punitive damages, for the loss of a loved one.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered?
Compensation for damages and injuries resulting from a truck accident is typically divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. In some cases, punitive damages may be available. Economic truck accident damages are intended to compensate the victim or surviving family for their monetary losses, including:
- Loss of earning capacity: If a victim can show that his or her ability to earn wages has been negatively impacted due to his or her injury, compensation may be available. The awarding party will consider past wages and attempt to establish the amount that the victim may have earned had the accident not occurred.
- Lost wages: Some injuries may be so severe that they prevent the victim from returning to his or her job, temporarily or permanently. The law permits recovery of compensation to cover the wages lost between the time the injury was sustained and the settlement of the lawsuit.
- Future medical expenses: In many instance, the injuries sustained are so severe that they will require extended, and sometimes life-long, medical care and attention.
- Current medical expenses: This may include fees for hospital care, emergency room visits, assistive devices, surgeries and appointments with approved healthcare providers.
Non-economic damages attempt are intended to compensate the victim or surviving family for their intangible, non-financial losses, including:
- Loss of consortium: If the lawsuit is successful, the uninjured spouse may be entitled to recover compensation for loss of marital benefits, including sexual relations, comfort, companionship and affection.
- Mental anguish: Victims may be rewarded for emotional pain suffered as a result of the accident. These damages compensate the victim for embarrassment, fright, worry, nervousness, grief and other forms of emotional distress brought on by the accident.
- Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for the physical pain suffered as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident. The extent of the pain, the nature of the injury and the length of time the victim is expected to remain in this state are included in the calculation of the damage award.
Punitive damages may be applicable if the defendant’s actions that caused the injury or accident were intentional, malicious or willful. These damages exist to punish the offender and dissuade similar behavior in the future.
If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident in Arkansas, seek legal counsel as soon as possible. There is a statute of limitations, or a limited time in which you have to file a claim, in order to hold another party accountable for the incident before you relinquish your right to file forever.