Springdale, Fort Smith, and Bentonville Lawyers for Injured Truck Accident Victims
You may have traveled to work and back home every day for years and were never in an accident with a truck. You probably saw several crashes, heard about others, and saw news coverage of some.
It is not unusual to see truck accidents, particularly on I-540, I-40, I-49, and U.S. 65, since they are constantly clogged every morning and evening when thousands of workers head home and truckers head to their various destinations.
Every year drivers travel thousands of miles on Arkansas roads, and that traffic includes heavy trucks. It is common knowledge that US-65 is the most dangerous road in the state. It is part of the Great River Road that follows the Mississippi River south and through ten states.
Running a close second in notoriety for numerous fatal accidents, including truck crashes, is I-40, designated as the central east and west corridor for interstate traffic. It is one of the busiest stretches of road in Arkansas and the nation. It is ranked as one of the most dangerous roads in the United States.
How The Trucking Industry Affects Arkansas Residents
According to the 2022 Arkansas Trucking Report Vol 27 Issue 4, one in ten trucking jobs are filled by residents. As freight shipment demands continue to increase, the demand for more truck drivers multiplies. The report also found that one million trucking positions will need to be filled over the next ten years to keep up with the demand.
Although this can provide job security for residents, it also poses the threat of more trucking accidents. Overnight trucking drivers may be found driving under tight deadlines, become fatigued, and possibly cause or be involved in a severe Arkansas highway accident.
Since Amazon, Dollar General, and Walmart have built facilities across Arkansas, it’s impossible not to come into contact with truckers. The report also noted that as the I-49 Corridor project has gained traction recently, supporters believe it will help alleviate the stop-and-go traffic found on I-40 and I-540.2 Regardless of what happens with the project, there will be more trucks on the roads and the potential for serious truck and car accidents to happen.
What is a Considered as a Commercial Vehicle in Arkansas
More than 3.6 million people work as truck drivers. A truck driver operates a commercial vehicle, any vehicle used for business purposes. These types of cars usually transport passengers or goods.
For 2019,1.5 million drivers were delivery drivers and sales workers, and over 2 million were heavy and tractor-trailer drivers. This accounts for 5.8 percent of the overall U.S. workforce.
Examples of commercial motor vehicles include:
- Cargo Vans;
- City, Coach, or School Buses;
- Delivery Vans;
- Dump Trucks;
- Single Unit Box Trucks;
- Straight Trucks; and
One of the common reasons for fatal truck accidents is driver fatigue, which begs the question, “How long can commercial vehicle drivers spend behind the wheel?” Truckers have limitations on how long they can drive each day and a strict allotment of on and off-duty hours.
The designated hours for driving big rigs are outlined below:
- Daily Hours: Eleven hours driving, a maximum after ten hours off duty. Fourteen hours, maximum, may be spent on duty.
- Break Time: A thirty-minute break, minimum, after eight consecutive hours of driving.
- Hours vs. Days on Duty: Sixty hours driving in seven days or seventy hours in eight days. There must be a break of thirty-four hours before starting a new set of days.
At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we have handled hundreds of Springdale fatal truck accidents. We know you have questions, and we have the answers for you. Since truck accidents are highly complex, we also take the time to outline how they work, how insurance companies and settlements factor into these cases, how the various rules and regulations apply in your case, and what you may expect as an outcome. We are here for you – every step of the way.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim for A Trucking Accident
In many significant rig accidents, the cause of a crash is often due to the driver not following federal safety standards. However, many trucking companies urge drivers to cut corners to meet tight delivery deadlines. When the inevitable happens, people are seriously injured or killed.
If you or someone you know was a big-rig driver or delivery truck driver who unfortunately passed away due to a fatal accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. People who can file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas are:
- Persons to whom the deceased stood in place of a parent;
- Persons standing in place of a parent;
- Personal representative; or
- A surviving spouse, parent, children, or siblings.
In Arkansas, the statute of limitations is three years to file a wrongful death claim. The earlier you hire an experienced fatal truck accident attorney, the sooner you can start investigating and building a strong claim. At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we will help you gather all required documents, submit required forms, and craft a compelling case for your deceased loved one.
Other Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents
Other causes of fatal truck accidents include:
- Distracted Driving – 71 percent of truck accidents are because the trucker was distracted.
- Driving While Fatigued – 13 percent of truckers were fatigued at the time of an accident, as cited in the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the FMCSA.
- DWI/DUI/DWI-D – 17 percent of truckers at the time of a collision were using OTC drugs, e.g., allergy medications, that can cause drowsiness.
- Failure To Get Maintenance – Lack of proper brakes, tires, and other truck maintenance.
- Tailgating – 5 percent of truck wrecks happened while following the vehicle ahead of them too closely.
- Inadequate Surveillance of the Surrounding Area – 14 percent of big rig crashes happened due to failure to see approaching traffic or inadequate supervision of their surroundings.
- Overloaded Vehicles – Where the weight of a truck is too heavy to travel safely.
- Speeding – 23 percent of tractor-trailer accidents were caused by going too fast for existing road conditions.
- Untrained Drivers – Lack of training for operating a commercial vehicle.
- Unfamiliar Roads – 23 percent of semi accidents happened when the trucker was unfamiliar with the roadway.
Common Injuries Sustained in Arkansas, Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can cause a range of serious injuries, including:
- Broken Bones;
- Hearing or Vision Loss;
- Internal Organ Damage;
- Loss of Limb(s);
- Spinal Cord Injuries; and
- Traumatic Brain Injuries.
What You Should Know About Trucking Accident Statistics
The 2021 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report shows large truck fatalities increased from April to July and November to December – figures that indicate crashes involving non-commercial and commercial big rigs were up 13 percent over 2020. The same NHTSA report also cites 5,601 deaths involving at least one large truck in 2021, compared to 4,965 fatalities in 2020.
Big rigs can weigh at least 10,000 pounds and more, up to 80,000 pounds, if fully loaded. The average U.S. passenger vehicle is approximately 4,000 pounds. The extreme size and weight differential clearly explain why truck accidents are often fatal or result in serious, catastrophic, life-changing injuries. It is a devastating statistic that accidents with large trucks mean passengers in a non-commercial vehicle are 6 to 10 times more likely to suffer serious injuries or death.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 18-wheelers are involved in serious collisions approximately every 15 minutes in the nation. That means about 555,000 crashes and roughly 5,000 deaths. It also means trucks kill more Americans than accidents involving ships, buses, planes, and trains.
Contact the Springdale Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield Today
If someone you loved was involved in a Springdale fatal truck accident, call the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield by calling (479) 361-3575. Our dedicated team of Springdale catastrophic truck accident attorneys is here to help. We also serve Bentonville, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Rogers, and other towns.
Call us today for a free initial consultation and to find out what you can expect should you file a personal injury lawsuit. We know you have questions, and we can answer them for you. The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield is just one quick call away: (479) 361-3575.