Tulsa Truck Accident Lawyer
Personalized Representation for Oklahoma Truck Accident Victims
Those involved in a truck accident can be eligible for compensation and are advised to contact a qualified truck accident attorney at our firm as soon as possible. With an expansive team of legal professionals ready to handle your case, our attorney handles all areas of car accident, motorcycle accident, and truck accident cases in Oklahoma.
How to Handle Your Auto vs. Truck Accident Case
When you’re in a car accident involving a commercial truck, recovery can only be made in by proving that the accident was the fault of the other driver. Establishing proof is essential.
A good attorney who has experience with cases involving trucks, big-rigs or tractor trailers knows the importance of:
Interviewing police officers
Retaining accident reconstruction experts, and more
We review every detail to make sure that your claim is as strong as possible, in order to get you the highest possible compensation.
Who Pays for Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
Both state and federal laws regulate the trucking industry and are called upon to determine liability in the event of an accident. At the federal level, the two agencies with the most influence on laws and regulations pertaining to the truck industry are the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), both of which mandate that truckers and the companies they work for adhere to certain safety regulations. These include:
- Truck drivers must be properly licensed to operate a commercial vehicle
- Truck drivers may not exceed FMCSA driving limitations and rest breaks
- Truck drivers must follow safety guidelines for transporting hazardous materials
- All trucks must be properly regulated to ensure quality control
- Single-axel trucks may not exceed 20,000 pounds of cargo
- Two-axel trucks may not exceed 34,000 pounds of cargo
When one ore more of these regulatory standards is violated and an accident occurs as a result, the victim(s) can take legal action against the responsible party. In some cases, more than one party may be liable, as there are many “players” in this scenario who may be at fault. The manufacturer could be held liable if there was a defective tire/brake system/etc.; the trucking company could be held liable if it neglected to properly vet and/or train its employees; the trucker could be held liable if they engaged in reckless or negligent driving behaviors. In some cases, it’s a combination of several of these factors. In other cases, the trucking company may be held liable simply by the rationale that it is responsible for the actions of its employees. This is referred to as vicarious liability and it could complicate the case when trying to prove negligence.
Ultimately, the best way to determine who should be held liable in a commercial vehicle accident is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Early intervention can help ensure the case is fully evaluated from every angle, including interviews of key witnesses, accurate reconstruction of the accident, and a full investigation of the collision scene before evidence goes missing.
Causes of Truck Accidents
As we mentioned above, a number of parties could be liable for the truck accident that left you injured. Likewise, a number of factors may have caused the accident, the most common of which are:
- Driver fatigue – Truckers are held to strict time regulations for hours spent on the road. In most cases, they cannot exceed 10- to 11-hour driving shifts; however, they are often encouraged to by their managers to skip breaks or power through fatigue in order to make a speedier, timelier delivery. Drowsy driving is dangerous under any conditions, but when operating a large commercial vehicle, the risk of catastrophic consequences can increase dramatically.
- Improperly loaded cargo – Truck carriages haul tens of thousands of pounds of cargo on every trip. When this cargo is not properly stored and secured within the carriage, it can shift or spill, altering the truck’s center of gravity and consequently causing it to overturn while on the road. It’s for this reason that truckers are limited, by law, as to how much cargo they can carry at any given time. Furthermore, they are required to adhere to specific positioning of anchor points and meet the minimum number of tie-downs needed to properly secure the cargo.
- Speeding – Like all drivers on the road, truckers are expected to drive defensively, which can be difficult (if not impossible) to do while speeding. When traveling at high speeds, it is more difficult to quickly come to a stop, take a curve, correct loss of control, and/or react to poor weather conditions. And when a trucker is unable to do any one of these things, they put everyone else on the road at risk.
- Improper maintenance – When proper maintenance protocols are not met, an accident is much more likely to occur due to brake failure or another mechanical issue that could have been caught and corrected ahead of time had a routine inspection occurred.
- Improper training of truck drivers – Operating an 80,000-pound commercial vehicle does not come naturally. Truckers must be properly trained on how to maneuver these vehicles and what to do in the event of an emergency. When their training is insufficient, their driving skills will be as well.
- Alcohol / drug intoxication – Given the difficulty of operating a large commercial vehicle, truckers are held to higher standards of care when it comes to driving while intoxicated. The laws are so strict, in fact, that they cut the legal limit in half to just .04% for truckers. Furthermore, they may not operate the vehicle within 4 hours of consuming a mind-altering drug/alcohol and they will be placed off duty for 24 hours if this has occurred.
Determining Your Truck Accident Compensation
Once liability is established in a truck accident case, the next step is to prove, explain, and quantify the seriousness of the personal injuries. The Law Office of Michael R. Green, PLLC has extensive contacts in the medical community to assist our clients in documenting the seriousness of their truck accident injury. In many cases, it is necessary to use economists, medical experts, and even life care planners to fully document the extent of an trucking accident victim’s injuries.
Oklahoma Truck Accident Statistics
In 2018, the state of Oklahoma saw 5,836 truck-related crashes. Nationwide, these statistics continue to increase every year—in 2017, 4,761 people were killed in a trucking accident, up by 9% from the previous year. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NAFTA), 72% of deceased victims were occupants of a vehicle other than the truck itself, and more truckers involved in fatal crashes were found to have previously recorded crash records.
In Tulsa specifically, certain areas put you more at risk of being in an accident than others. The below data is for all accidents, including truck-related collisions.
- 81st Street – 34 injury accidents in 2014
- Memorial Drive – 27 injury accidents in 2014
- Sheridan Road – 25 injury accidents in 2014
In total, there were 3,699 injuries and 44 fatalities in Tulsa in 2014, with the most occurring Downtown (Broken Arrow Expressway), the Interstate 44 and Broken Arrow Expressway intersection, and the U.S. 169 and Broken Arrow Expressway intersection, and the East 71st Street corridor.
Even if the trucking accident seems simple, you need an experienced law firm like The Law Office of Michael R. Green, PLLC protecting your rights.