Truck Accident

Why Do 18 Wheeler Accident Lawsuits Settle For More Than Regular Auto Accidents?

by Mike Rainwater | May 15th, 2017

The sad truth is that many cases have more value than the amount of available insurance (which is a minimum required amount of only $25,000 in Arkansas). But, commercial trucks are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance. Plus, trucking companies usually have to purchase additional insurance in order to protect the assets of the company from being taken to pay a judgment debt. So, … typically, an 18-wheeler accident will result in a larger settlement than a car accident.

In addition, the injuries in a truck collision are generally greater. This is because the weight of truck multiplied by the speed yields a much greater force than is found in a collision involving vehicles others than large trucks. A passenger vehicle generally weighs 3,000 to 6,000 pounds. A loaded semi-tractor with trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This variance is so wide that the passenger vehicle cannot withstand the force imposed by the large truck and it crumples to the point that the occupants are significantly injured, even at lower collision speeds. Greater injury plus more liability insurance coverage translates to more money being available for settlements of claims involving 18-wheelers.

What are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Many factors can cause a truck accident including those related to the driver, the vehicle, and the load they’re carrying. Here are some of the most common:

  • Shifting Loads
  • Speeding
  • Jackknifing
  • Driver Fatigue
  • Tire Blowouts
  • Brake Malfunctions

While not common, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton has been involved in suing trucking companies with drivers who were found to have been likely driving under the influence of drugs.

Have You Been in a Truck Accident?

The United States Department of Transportation estimates that over 500,000 truck accidents occur every year. If you’ve been harmed in a truck accident, know that you could be owed substantial compensation from a settlement. Truck accident lawsuits are complicated. If we can help you, call Rainwater, Holt & Sexton to talk to a truck accident attorney.

Three Tips to Stay Safe When Driving Near Trucks

by Mike Rainwater | May 12th, 2017

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are nearly 11 fatal truck accidents every day in the United States, resulting in 4,000 deaths annually. In addition, more than 100,000 people are injured every year as a result of truck crashes. With over 10 million trucks traveling American roads, it’s important to understand how to adjust your driving when in the company of commercial vehicles.

1. Stay out of Blind Zones

Large trucks have large blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in their side mirrors, they probably can’t see you either. Assume that blind spots are 30 feet directly behind the truck, 20 feet in front of the truck and on both sides of the vehicle. If you find yourself in a truck’s blind spot, slow down or move ahead to stay visible – do not linger in a “no zone” where they can’t see you.

2. Pass Safely and Don’t Cut In

Before passing a large truck, make sure you can see the driver in the mirror. Alert the driver that you’re passing by using your turn signal, move to the left lane and accelerate to get pass the vehicle promptly. Before pulling back in front of the truck, make sure they are visible in your rearview mirror. Don’t pass on a downgrade and never pass in the right lane. Trucks take 40 percent longer to stop, so don’t cut off a truck – they might not be able to slow quickly enough to avoid a collision.

3. Anticipate Wide Turns

Trucks need extra turning room and swing wide or even start their turn from the middle lane to clear the curb. If a truck has its turn signal on, don’t try to squeeze by it or get between the truck and the curb.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Arkansas, set up a free consultation with a Little Rock truck accident lawyer to talk about your options for recovering compensation.

Top Causes of Truck Accidents

by Mike Rainwater | April 12th, 2017

Commercial vehicle accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence. In 2014, there were a reported 379,000 accidents involving a commercial vehicle that caused property damage.

Between 2001 and 2003, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study to determine the major causes of truck accidents. During the period of the study, they looked at 120,000 large truck crashes, each involving at least one large truck (over 10,000 pounds) and resulting in one fatality or injury.

The driver of the truck caused an overwhelming percentage of the accidents, with 87% of the accidents related to driver non-performance, recognition, decision or performance.

Breakdown of Truck Accident Causes

The Large Truck Causation Study segmented variables for accidents into Critical Events, Critical Reasons and Associated Factors.

Critical Events are described in the study as the action or event that puts the vehicle on a course making the collision unavoidable. The three major critical events for truck accidents are:

  • 32% caused by running out of the travel lane
  • 29% caused by vehicle loss of control
  • 22% caused by colliding with the rear end of another vehicle

Critical Reasons are described as the immediate reason for the critical event. The main causations for critical events in truck accidents are:

  • 87% caused by driver
  • 10% caused by vehicle
  • 3 % caused by environment

Lastly, Associated Factors are the person, vehicle and environmental conditions present at the time of the crash. These are the top ten associated factors in truck accidents:

  • Vehicle: Brake problems
  • Driver: Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
  • Driver: Traveling too fast for conditions
  • Driver: Prescription drug use
  • Driver: Unfamiliarity with roadway
  • Environment: Roadway problems
  • Driver: Required to stop before crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
  • Driver: Over-the-counter drug use
  • Driver: Inadequate surveillance
  • Driver: Fatigue

Have you been involved in an accident caused by a commercial vehicle? Discuss the situation with a Conway truck accident lawyer. Because of the many causes and variables in truck accidents, an experienced truck accident attorney can offer indispensable guidance.

Fatigued Truck Drivers: A Recipe for Disaster

by Mike Rainwater | February 22nd, 2017

Plenty of folks in Arkansas drive big trucks, or are related to someone who does. And, at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton we value Arkansas truck drivers and the contributions they make to our communities. What we don’t appreciate are large trucking companies that put undue pressure on their drivers or push them to the point where they have to drive fatigued. Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. and carry with it enough force to crush a car in less than a second. Put that kind of weight together with a pressured or fatigued driver, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Truck accident victims in Arkansas shouldn’t have to pay for the trucking company’s negligence. The Arkansas truck accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton work to hold these companies accountable for the harm they cause. For the victims, that means going after compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Financial compensation won’t erase the accident from happening, but it can help you move on without a financial burden.

If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident, call us today for a free consultation. We’ll review your case at no cost or obligation, and do our best to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. We’re ready to help. Contact us today.

Who Can Be Held Liable In A Truck Accident Case?

by Mike Rainwater | 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.

Determining Liability for Commercial Vehicle Accidents

by Mike Rainwater | 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.

Sharing the Road with Big Trucks

by Staff Blogger | 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.

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.

Big Truck Accidents Are Different

by Staff Blogger | 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.

Determining Liability in Big Rig Accidents

by Richard Atkinson | 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.

Truck Regulations May Soon Require Electronic Logbooks

by Staff Blogger | 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.

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