And how to choose the right Arkansas Truck Accident attorney for your case
Commercial trucking is a big business nationwide, and Arkansas is no exception. Annually, the total value of goods shipped to and from sites in Arkansas is $214 billion, and most of that shipping happens by truck, according to research from TRIP of Washington, DC. Because of the sheer size of commercial trucks – a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh over 80,000 pounds – collisions involving these vehicles can cause devastating injuries.
Insurance claims arising from truck accidents can quickly grow complicated. There are often multiple insurance carriers involved, and because the policy limits are high and the injuries sustained are often severe, these are high-stakes, high-value cases for the insurance companies. That means choosing a highly qualified attorney can make a meaningful difference for people injured in truck accidents.
Legal complexities associated with truck accident cases
While every case is unique, accidents involving tractor-trailers are generally much more complex than those involving two passenger cars.
• Multiple insurance companies may be involved. Tractor-trailers typically carry separate insurance policies for the cab and the trailer. The cargo itself may have separate insurance coverage as well. And if a victim accepts a settlement from one insurance company, the others’ liability may be affected as well.
• Specific laws and regulations apply to truck drivers. For example, truckers need to follow federal hours of service (HOS) regulations that limit the number of hours they can work. They are also considered legally impaired with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0. 04, which is half the legal limit for other adult motorists.
• The trucking company has immediate access to critical evidence. Evidence such as the truck’s “black box” navigational data and the hours of service log is legally the trucking company’s property in most jurisdictions. Such evidence can play a vital role in determining the outcome of a claim.
• Policy limits are higher, as are damages. Trucking companies generally carry large liability policies to protect their substantial assets, much larger than the liability limits carried by private motorists. Because of the sheer size of commercial trucks, serious and fatal injuries are common, which means claims often approach or even exceed those high policy limits.
• Cases often cross state lines. Trucking is a national business, and it is quite common for a truck registered and insured in another state, owned by a company in another state, to be involved in a serious accident in Arkansas. In some cases, truck accidents even cross international lines as the trucking company may be located in another country.
Because of these additional complexities, truck accident cases in general require a higher degree of legal acumen and experience than car accident cases. People injured in truck accidents should carefully consider their choice of attorney to make sure they are positioned to pursue fair and just compensation.