Rogers Truck Accident Attorneys
Know the Facts after an Accident in Arkansas
Insurance companies will often try and settle serious accident claims for the least amount of money possible to protect their bottom line. At Caddell Reynolds Law Firm, we always advocate for your best interests because we firmly believe you deserve the maximum compensation for the damages and injuries you have incurred.
Call our firm at (800) 889-6944 to put our Rogers truck accident lawyers on your side. We offer free consultations and can come to you if you are unable to meet with us in the office.
What Can Cause a Truck Accident?
The Rogers truck accident lawyers at Caddell Reynolds Law Firm understand that the driver may share liability with other parties, including the following:
- Trucking companies – Drivers must follow the rules and regulations set forth by their employers. Companies may require them to drive too long without rest, put inexperienced drivers on long hauls before they are ready to handle them, or even put trucks on the road with an imbalanced load or without proper maintenance.
- Maintenance personnel – Improper inspections or rushed maintenance can cause serious problems, particularly when brakes or tires are involved. Whether the maintenance personnel works for the company or maintenance is performed by an outside shop, a truck accident attorney needs to know the facts to ensure everyone responsible for an accident is named in a suit.
- Local, state and federal government – The true cause of a big vehicle accident may be an encounter with a sinkhole or other major road flaw that is the responsibility of local, state, or even federal governments. The attorneys at Caddell Reynolds Law Firm have the skills and experience to pursue even these difficult cases.
What You Need to Know if You Are in a Truck Accident
Automobile accidents can lead to serious injury, legal expenses, and insurance costs. However, not all collision cases are handled the same way. Crashes involving an 18-wheeler often involve negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company. Drivers of commercial motor vehicles including 18-wheelers are held to strict laws governing their maintenance, repair, and operation.
As such, these cases are treated very differently from those involving non-commercial vehicles. Even if the insurance companies deny you compensation, you may still have a valid claim depending on the condition of the opposing vehicle. An attorney experienced in supporting 18-wheeler accident cases can get to the bottom of your case and secure rightful compensation. Many people involved in 18-wheeler accidents aren’t aware of the unique laws that can win your case. Here’s what you need to know:
There Are Strict Laws Governing Truck Driver Behavior
New federal commercial motor vehicle laws restrict the number of consecutive hours truck drivers can operate an 18-wheeler. There are also strict limitations on food and beverage consumption, cargo, and other operating procedures in order to prevent severe accidents on the highway.
Including cargo, 18-wheelers can easily reach weights of 30 tons or more. The force of such an object colliding with a car one tenth of its mass can produce deadly results. A specialized 18-wheeler accident attorney can verify whether the trucking company was compliant with the various laws and hold them accountable in the event of an accident.
Most Commercial 18-Wheelers Have a Black Box Recording Device
Black boxes and GPS devices automatically activate in response to sudden changes in vehicle movement, such as rapid acceleration or sudden braking. Once activated, these gadgets automatically record crucial information about the truck, including:
- Engine speed
- Vehicle location
- If and when application of the brake occurred
This data can help an accident attorney piece together the accident and prove your claim against a negligent 18-wheeler driver.
Truck Drivers Must Provide Sufficient Vehicle Documentation
Federal motor carrier laws require truck drivers to have their 18-wheelers regularly inspected and retain this documentation. In Arkansas, 18-wheeler accident cases require the truck driver to provide recent inspection reports detailing the vehicle’s condition before and after the trip. Drivers must also retain copies of work and repair orders to verify the truck’s compliance with road safety standards. A qualified accident attorney can subpoena such documents to prove your Personal Injury case.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries or death due to truck driver negligence, you need to take action. Don’t wait to have your case evaluated. Federal regulations require drivers to retain vehicle inspection documentation only for a set period. After the expiration date, the trucking company can discard the documents, and you may no longer have a valid claim against them.
The 5 Legal Arguments Used to Reach 18-Wheeler Accident Settlements
If you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you should be aware of the legal arguments your truck accident attorney can use when seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. There are strict laws in place that govern the maintenance, repair, and operation of an 18-wheeler as well as the professional conduct of the truck driver. If the driver or trucking company is found to be in violation of any of these laws when an auto accident occurs, there are clearly defined legal arguments that could help your attorney in court, or to reach an 18-wheeler accident settlement. The first thing you should do after an 18-wheeler accident is call the authorities. Their documentation will be vital in the legal claims that are made in court.
There are federal regulations that dictate a high level of quality control for commercial trucks, such as the air brake systems. If an investigation reveals that the accident was caused by a defect in one of the truck’s main components, it might mean a case against the supplier or manufacturer of the equipment. This argument falls under a legal theory known as product liability, and it can be a decisive factor in an 18-wheeler accident settlement.
In Arkansas, 18-wheeler accident cases require the truck driver to provide recent inspection reports detailing the vehicle’s condition before and after a trip. Records of compliance with road safety standards must be maintained by the driver who should keep all work and repair orders for verification. A qualified truck accident attorney in Rogers can subpoena such documents to determine whether the driver and trucking company maintained compliance.
The legal concept at play with legal driving offenses is known as negligence per se. In essence, this means that the driver of the truck is negligent based on a violation of the law. This may be as mild as speeding, but can be as serious as drinking while driving. In order to prove negligence per se, your truck accident attorney will explain in court how the law was intended to prevent the accident and/or injuries that occurred and show evidence of how the law was violated.
Bad Driver Hired
All 18-wheeler drivers are required by law to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). In order to obtain a CDL, the driver must past a rigorous exam, have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses such as a DUI, and pass a physical exam. If you discover that the driver of the truck in your accident does not have a CDL, your attorney may make this legal argument. Even if the driver has a CDL, if they have a history of prior convictions related to negligent or drunk driving, they should not have been hired. Your truck accident attorney can find out if a bad driver was hired. The theory of liability, respondeat superior, dictates that the trucking company would be held responsible for the actions of the driver working within the scope of their employment.
Was the 18-wheeler driver tired when the accident occurred? If so, this legal argument may help your attorney’s case to reach a settlement. There are Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules and regulations on how much time truck drivers can spend on the road before taking a break. Thanks to the records that the trucking company is legally required to keep, your truck accident attorney will be able to determine if the truck driver was put in a situation where fatigue could have caused the accident.
Wage and Hour Violations
Related to driver fatigue, wage and hour violations are serious offenses, especially if the truck driver is involved in an auto accident, which could be the basis for an 18-wheeler accident settlement. With strictly enforced limits on how many hours a truck driver can work in a row coupled with the fact that drivers keep their own records, a driver could falsify their records. Uncovering that a truck driver has committed an hour violation can lead to a settlement in your favor.
If you or a loved one were involved in an auto accident with an 18-wheeler, contact our experienced attorneys at Caddell Reynolds Law Firm by calling (800) 889-6944.
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