January 31st, 2017
Determining liability in a truck accident case is not as straightforward as it might first seem. Unlike a simple traffic accident, more players are involved including the driver, the owner of the truck, the entity that leased the truck from the owner and possibly others.
Who Regulates Trucking Accidents?
State and federal laws regulate truck accidents. In addition to each individual state’s department of transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determine and enforce trucking laws and regulations.
Several federal regulations exist to aide in determining liability. Any company that owns a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its name displayed on the vehicle. Prior to this regulation, trucking companies would attempt to avoid liability by pinning it on the driver or other parties.
Additional federal and state laws mandate proper rest for the driver, maximum weight permissions, quality control of trucks and safely transporting hazardous waste. If these laws are broken, it can prove negligence, therefore determining liability.
Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
To win a truck accident case, you need to prove that the driver, truck company or others were at fault and are responsible for your injuries. To prove fault, you’ll need to prove one of the entities involved broke the law, causing the accident and showing negligence – for example, that the truck driver ran a red light, or that the truck company hired an unqualified driver.
Because commercial vehicle accidents can be quite complicated, you should consult an experienced Arkansas truck accident attorney to determine what legal route should be taken and what parties are at fault.
January 16th, 2017
Commercial vehicles accounted for more than 379,000 property damage causing accidents in 2014. Determining liability in a commercial vehicle accident is not always a straightforward affair.
Multiple players are involved in truck, bus and big rig accidents, which creates some complications when determining who is at fault. The driver, the truck or bus company, the manufacturer of the vehicle’s parts and others can be found liable – and multiple parties can be found at fault at once.
To add to the confusion, truck and bus companies often do not own the vehicles they use and hire drivers as independent contractors. Before laws and regulations were put into place, this was one way that trucking companies would try to avoid liability in accidents, causing all parties involved to point fingers at one another
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Multiple parties can be found at fault when a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident. Entities that can be liable include:
- The driver of the commercial vehicle
- The owner of the commercial vehicle
- The person or company that leased the commercial vehicle from the owner
- The manufacturer of the commercial vehicle or parts of the vehicle that were responsible for the accident
- The shipper or loader of the commercial vehicle’s cargo if improper loading was the cause of the accident
Laws and Regulations Determine Liability
The Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have enacted several regulations that help determine liability. Now, any company that owns a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its name displayed on the vehicle.
Additional federal and state laws help determine who is actually liable in commercial vehicle accidents, including regulations for proper rest for the driver, maximum weight permissions, quality control of trucks and safely transporting hazardous waste.
Because commercial vehicle accidents can be quite complicated, it is recommended to consult with an experienced Arkansas truck accident lawyer to understand who is at fault in your individual situation.
December 12th, 2016
If you’re like millions of Americans, you made an online purchase on Cyber Monday. In all, retailers sold more than $3 billion in merchandise this year on Cyber Monday, and they’re just getting started. With the convenience of shopping online, more and more people are turning to the Internet for their holiday shopping. That means more packages on the road for delivery and more trucks carrying those packages.
With the increased congestion, it’s more important than ever that Arkansas drivers stay vigilant and aware out on the road. Here are a couple safety tips to remember as you share the highways with big trucks this holiday season.
- Mind the Blind Spots. Big tractor-trailers and smaller delivery trucks have one thing in common: blind spots. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you. Give them plenty of space so you never find yourself in one of these “no zones.”
- Be patient. Truck drivers are on a deadline. Their main objective is to get their load or package to the recipient in the least amount of time. However, just because they are in a hurry doesn’t mean you have to be. Look twice at intersections and never pull out in front of a truck unless you have plenty of room.
Sometimes even the safest drivers can’t avoid a big truck accident. If you or someone you love has been injured, call our Arkansas truck accident attorneys today for a free consultation. Our investigative team will determine the true cause of your accident, and our team of truck accident attorneys will fight to get you maximum compensation for your injuries. Get help today.
November 7th, 2016
Car accidents happen every single day in Arkansas. Many of these are minor accidents with minor injuries. Big truck accidents are different. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, chances are the damage to your vehicle and the injuries sustained are significant.
When asked if someone needs an attorney after a car accident, we usually say, “it depends.” When someone asks if they need an attorney after a big truck accident, we usually say, “most likely.” Why? Because getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries in a truck accident can be harder than getting the same compensation in an auto case. In a truck case, you’re not only going up against an individual’s insurance company but the trucking company itself. They have teams of lawyers on their side fighting to pay you as little as possible for your claim. That’s why going it alone is one of the worst decisions you can make in our opinion.
If you’ve been injured by a tractor-trailer, you only get one chance to get your claim right. Contact our experienced Arkansas truck accident attorneys today for a free consultation.
October 17th, 2016
There are many factors involved in determining liability in semi truck, tractor-trailer or big rig accidents, of which there were over 400,000 in 2014. It can be difficult to determine liability because multiple players are involved – the driver, the truck company, the manufacturer of the truck’s parts and more – and multiple parties can be found at fault at once.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Big Rig Accident?
When something goes wrong, and a big rig is involved in an accident, there are multiple people who can be at fault.
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck
- The person or company that leased the truck from the owner
- The manufacturer of the truck or parts of the truck that were responsible for the accident
- The company responsible for maintenance of the truck
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo if improper loading was the cause of the accident
Laws and Regulations Determine Liability
To make things even more complicated, trucking companies often do not own the trucks they use and hire drivers as independent contractors. In the past, this was one way that trucking companies would try to avoid liability in accidents, causing all parties involved to point fingers at one another.
Now, laws and regulations set forth by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declare that any company that owns a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its name displayed on the vehicle.
Additional federal and state laws help determine who is actually liable in big rig accidents, including regulations for proper rest for the driver, maximum weight permissions, quality control of trucks and safely transporting hazardous waste.
Because big rig accidents can be quite complicated, it is recommended to consult with an experienced Arkansas truck accident attorney, like the attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, to understand who is at fault in your individual situation.
November 30th, 2015
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in charge of creating and enforcing truck regulations that are designed to keep tractor-trailers and their drivers operating in a safe manner. Some of the most important of these rules include the Hours of Service limits.
Hours of Service regulations outline the number of hours a truck driver can work, as well as the number of hours a driver must rest, on any given work week. Current laws allow the hours a trucker is working to be logged manually. However, new laws will soon take effect that require trucking companies to equip their vehicles with an electronic device that records the number of hours a truck driver is on the road.
According to an article from Arkansas Online, federal lawmakers officially signed off on the changes earlier this month. Advocates of the reforms say the new standards of recording Hours of Service will work to improve highway safety by helping to eliminate the threat of drowsy driving amongst truck drivers.
The exact details of the new rules and when they will be implemented won’t be available until lawmakers issue a final ruling in the matter.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we are advocates for safety in the trucking industry, which is why the Arkansas truck accident lawyers are anxious to see how the new rules will affect the number of tractor-trailer accidents that occur in the United States each year.
October 16th, 2015
Drowsy drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers, when sleep deprivation causes impairment equal to drugs or alcohol. Two Australian studies demonstrate that being awake for 18 hours produces impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% and 0.10% after 24 hours. A BAC of 0.08% is considered legally drunk.
DWF Compared to DWI: Australian researcher Dr. Ann Williamson of the University of New South Wales found that being awake 17-19 hours roughly equates to a BAC of 0.05%. Australian researcher Dr. Drew Dawson conducted a study and found that a person who had been sleep deprived for 22 hours had a level of impairment comparable to a person who has a BAC of 0.08% and a person who had been sleep deprived for 24 hours was comparable to a person with a BAC of 0.10%. Source: www.cicadian.com/expert.
Maggie’s Law: Research demonstrating the comparability of fatigue impairment and alcohol impairment is the basis of new laws such as Maggie’s Law in New Jersey, N.J.S.2C:11-5, whereby drivers involved in fatal accidents after being awake for 24 hours or more are subject to the same punishment as legally drunk drivers. www.sleepfoundation.org/activities/daaamain.cfm.
The Incidence of DWF: The National Sleep Foundation estimates that about one-half of America’s adult drivers – 51 percent or approximately 100 million people – are on the roads feeling sleepy while they are driving. Nearly two in 10 drivers – 17 percent or approximately 14 million people – say they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. www.sleepfoundation.org/activities/daaamain.cfm. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that 100,000 police-reported vehicle crashes per year are the direct result of driver fatigue. These crashes result in 1,550 fatalities, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary damages. Source: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/drowsy_driving1/.
September 14th, 2015
While we depend on the trucking industry to move the goods we use on a daily basis, commercial tractor-trailers remain a serious threat to the safety of everyone using Arkansas’ highways. The Arkansas truck accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain that while commercial trucks only accounted for roughly four percent of registered vehicles on our state’s roads last year, they were responsible for causing approximately 11.5 percent of our state’s highway fatalities.
There are many organizations working to reduce accidents involving tractor-trailers in our state, and one of them is the Arkansas Trucking Association. According to Trucking Info, the group has hired David O’Neal as the new director of safety services.
The position is funded through a $368,000 grant from the Arkansas Highway Commission and will charge O’Neal with the responsibility of being a safety resource for trucking companies and a liaison between these companies and government agencies. He will also be in charge of implementing programs such as “Share The Road” and “Arkansas Road Team.”
O’Neal gained the experience he needs to “raise the bar” on trucking safety in Arkansas as the Managing Director of Safety at FedEx Ground for 19 years.
The legal staff at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton are aware of the need for safety advancements in the Arkansas trucking industry, and our Little Rock personal injury lawyers are hopeful Mr. O’Neal finds success in his new position.
August 3rd, 2015
Commercial tractor-trailers can be as long as 53 feet and as tall as many overpasses on the road. The Arkansas truck accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain that the sheer size of these vehicles can make it difficult for other motorists to see traffic ahead, which can often lead to collisions.
Luckily, advancements in technology are addressing this risk. According to PC magazine, Samsung is in the process of designing a display that will give drivers behind tractor-trailers a view of what’s ahead.
Samsung’s “Safety Truck” system works by mounting a camera to a truck’s front grill. The images are then displayed on the back of the truck’s trailer, giving motorists behind the vehicle the same perspective as the truck’s driver.
Samsung officials say they are currently working to ensure the system complies “with the existing national protocols” in order to receive necessary permits and approvals.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we recognize the impact this and other technologies may have on safety in the trucking industry. Our legal staff is hopeful current trucking regulations will be adjusted to make room for new, lifesaving technologies such as this.
July 6th, 2015
Motor vehicle collisions are one of the leading causes of accidental death amongst young Americans today. Furthermore, transportation accidents are one of the leading causes of on-the-job fatalities in the United States. The Arkansas truck accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain that despite these statistics, lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow teenagers to get behind the wheel of commercial tractor-trailers.
Federal law mandates that any truck driver traveling across state borders must be at least 21 years old. But according to an article from joc.com, the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would allow anyone over age 18 to drive a tractor-trailer for interstate commerce.
The bill would allow young drivers to enter the trucking industry as apprentices prior to becoming fully licensed. Those in favor of the bill say it can help to ward off a shortage of truck drivers that is coming due to aging of the current population of drivers. They hope the move will prompt high school graduates to consider a career in the truck driving industry.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we understand the risks that come with jobs in the trucking industry, as well as the risks others on the road face while traveling among young, inexperienced motorists. That’s why our Arkansas personal injury lawyers are anxious to see if the new rules are passed during the upcoming legislative session.