Truck Accident Attorneys in Oklahoma
Quality Legal Counsel in Oklahoma City, Ponca City, Stillwater & Tulsa
Many semi-truck accidents are caused when truck drivers drift into another lane, run red lights, turn too far into another lane, are not on the lookout for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, and for other reasons. Regardless of the cause, truck accidents are often severe and result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. For that reason, Martin Jean & Jackson commits an entire practice area to meet the needs of clients who have been injured in semi-truck accidents.
At Martin Jean & Jackson, our legal team is committed to helping residents throughout Oklahoma after they have been harmed in preventable wrecks, including truck accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking wreck, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages, including your pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. Recovering this compensation is never automatic nor guaranteed, which is why you need proven advocates on your side when working to highlight the failures of truckers and trucking operators and fighting back against insurance companies that want to pay you as little as they can. Our firm can help you do just that.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or loss in a truck accident, call our truck accident lawyer in Oklahoma right away. As Oklahoma's premier personal injury law firm, we dedicate ourselves to achieving maximum results for our clients. Our legal team does this by providing them with the legal resources they need to defend their rights against large insurance and trucking companies.
Why Choose Martin Jean & Jackson?
- More Than $500 Million in Compensation Recovered
- Over 15,000 Personal Injury Clients Helped
- 100+ Years of Collective Legal Experience
- No Fee Unless We Win
Schedule a free consultation with a renowned Oklahoma truck accident lawyer. Call our office in Oklahoma City at (405) 221-9699, Tulsa at (918) 623-4119, Stillwater at (405) 384-7887, or Ponca City at (580) 290-1006.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can be particularly devastating. Around 3,852 people died in large truck crashes in 2015, and 69% of these deaths were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. Trucks can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds. Because commercial trucks are so dangerous, the trucking industry is heavily regulated to ensure the health and safety of both commercial drivers, passenger vehicle drivers, and pedestrians.
The most common cause of truck accidents is surrounding vehicles. Commercial vehicles are heavy, which means they are slow and are legally obligated to travel at lower speeds. This can often make car drivers frustrated. These impatient drivers’ reactions often are what cause the largest amount of damage.
Here are a few examples of common accident-triggering behaviors by passenger drivers:
- Changing lanes abruptly: 18-wheelers and other large, unwieldy vehicles need more time to react to any shift in environment. They can’t slow their speeds as much as a smaller car can. If a car quickly merges into the lane of a commercial truck, the truck driver may not be able to slow down in time before hitting the back of the smaller vehicle.
- Improper merging: For the same reason as above, if a car takes too long to merge in front of an oncoming truck, it is unlikely the truck driver would be able to slow down in time enough to avoid a collision.
- Unsafe passing: Impatient people might attempt to pass by a semi without gauging how much room they have. If they suddenly have to break while they are trying to pass a large truck, it could cause an accident.
- Driving in a blind spot: Many people who have driven behind a truck might have noticed the sticker on the back that says something like “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you” or “Please avoid blind spots.” Cars are much smaller than trucks and still have blind spots on either side of the vehicle. For 18-wheelers, you can imagine the blind spots are even larger. Cars driving just behind a commercial truck might be completely invisible to the driver. If the driver brakes suddenly, you may not be able to avoid hitting the back of the truck head on.
- Not allowing for wide turns: Commercial trucks require significantly more room to turn than the average passenger vehicle. They are also difficult to maneuver. A poorly executed turn could flip the truck over completely. The average turning radius of a commercial truck with a trailer is 55 feet. For right turns, this could require the 18-wheeler to be in the lane to the left of the right-turn lane. If the driver of a smaller car is unaware that the vehicle intends to turn right, he or she could attempt to make a right turn and be crushed by the oncoming semi. In other situations, some drivers might try to race by a truck, attempting to make a right turn. This can lead to a disastrous collision.
While commercial truck drivers go through extensive training to avoid making poor decisions on the road, they can sometimes ignore their training and commit an error. Alternatively, if they don’t receive adequate training from management to begin with, they might not know the appropriate procedures for driving, securing cargo, and so on.
Here are the most common reasons that truck drivers/ owners can cause accidents:
- Fatigued/ drowsy driving: There are federal regulations on the length of time a truck driver can drive per week. Prior to these regulations, truck drivers would often attempt to work extremely long hours and forgo sleeping in order to keep to a schedule. However, driving when fatigued is almost as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Drowsy driving factors in around 20% of all fatal crashes.
- Poorly maintained truck: The people who own the truck itself are responsible for ensuring it works well and doesn’t have any serious faults. They are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their vehicles. However, when owners fail to maintain a commercial truck, this can lead to malfunctions such as faulty brakes and tire blowouts.
- Equipment failure: Maintenance is also important for avoiding equipment failure. However, even stringent repair and upkeep can’t prevent damage or failure from seasonal elements or poorly constructed roads.
- Distracted driving: This is one of the leading causes of all vehicle accidents on the road. Truck driving involves long hours of straight driving, which could easily lead to boredom. If drivers use mobile devices while behind the wheel, this behavior can prevent them from paying full attention to the road. Texting, in particular, has become a huge problem for drivers in general. Texting while driving increases the risk of accident, particularly when it is combined with fatigue or when the driver is on unfamiliar roads.
- Unsafe driving practices: Generally, truck drivers are required to go a slower speed than passenger cars. This speed limit is designed with the truck’s bulk and lack of maneuverability in mind. Faster vehicles are rarely under full control of the driver. Not only does the truck weigh almost 20 times more than every other vehicle on the road, but it is also bulkier and less maneuverable in a situation which may require quick movement. Truck drivers also face more consequences when they do things like tailgate smaller cars, fail to check blind spots, frequently change lanes, and fail to use turn signals.
- Overloading: Trucks are only allowed to hit a certain weight before they become overloaded. Overloaded trucks can often put too much pressure on the vehicle’s wheels and on the road. An 18-wheeler can also jackknife if it is carrying too much weight. Likewise, if the cargo is improperly secured, it could fall off the truck and lead to the injury or death of other drivers on the road.
We Fight Insurance Companies
Semi-trucks are commercial vehicles that are primarily used to transport goods and other cargo. Due to the sheer weight and size of these large vehicles, which are comprised of a tractor (which holds the driver) and the semi-trailer (which holds the good), collisions involving these trucks often result in serious injuries and, in the worst cases, fatalities.
Because these vehicles can be highly dangerous if involved in accidents, most trucking companies are associated with large insurance corporations who are often equipped with lawyers or a team of lawyers to counter any accident and personal injury claims made against them.
As a result, it is important to hire a lawyer who has ample experience handling such cases. A skilled Oklahoma truck accident lawyer will understand how to gather evidence to prove the injuries were caused due to the negligence of the driver and will not back down from the large insurance companies who seek to minimize your injury claim.
Common Trucking Regulations
Truck drivers and trucking companies are both required to abide by various laws and regulations designed to protect the public. These regulations may be enforced by state agencies or by the federal government, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Common regulations include:
- Hours-of-Service Rules – Hours-of-Service rules are designed to keep tired and fatigued truckers off the road, as they present increased risks for preventable wrecks. HOS rules govern the amount of time truckers are allowed to be on duty and behind the wheel, as well as mandatory breaks and limits to the number of hours truckers can drive in a week. Truckers and trucking companies must also log data regarding time on the clock and time at the wheel.
- Driver Qualifications – Drivers must meet a number of qualifications for operating commercial vehicles, including holding a valid commercial driver’s license, passing drug and alcohol screenings, and receiving medical certifications that show they are fit to drive commercial trucks. When employers fail to exercise due diligence when hiring unfit or unqualified drivers, they can be held accountable for negligent hiring or retention when these drivers cause accidents and injuries.
- Vehicle Maintenance – Trucking operators must abide by laws that require them to regularly maintain their fleet. Preventative maintenance is critical to avoiding equipment malfunction and other dangerous conditions, and trucking companies must address any potential hazards they know about, or should have known about. These include things like unsafe or worn brakes, old tires, broken headlights or signals, and other issues that make trucks more likely to fail or cause accidents on the road.
- Cargo Regulations – Trucks transport all types of cargo, which means that there are numerous regulations regarding proper cargo securement, weight limits, and safe transporting of hazardous materials. Violations of these rules, which often happen when trucking companies place profits over public safety, can greatly increase the risks of accidents, as improperly secured cargo can make trucks unstable or result in fallen debris that creates roadway hazards.
When truckers or their employers fail to abide by these and other critical safety regulations, they put the public at risk of suffering preventable harm. When they do, victims can turn to our experienced legal team to aid them in conducting investigations into the underlying cause of the accident.
These investigations can help determine whether safety violations were made and whether those violations or any other acts of negligence caused or contributed to a crash and our clients’ damages. We then work aggressively to present clear and convincing evidence of fault and liability during either personal injury or wrongful death cases, and to zealously negotiate or litigate full and fair recoveries.
Experienced Oklahoma Truck Accident Attorneys
The truth is that the insurance adjuster is only there to protect the interests of the insurance company. Additionally, if a trucking company is involved, they will be doing whatever it takes to protect their reputation and mitigate their responsibility. To maximize your results, and obtain the justice you deserve, you need to speak with someone who is committed to protecting your best interests and fighting for the recovery you are entitled to.
Martin Jean & Jackson has built its entire practice on providing this service. If you have been injured in an accident with a truck, please call us as soon as possible. Drawing on more than 100 combined years of legal experience held by our firm's attorneys, we are able to vigorously fight for our clients’ interests. Our longstanding history means that we have the seasoned legal judgment clients need to get what they deserve.
Start pursuing your case today. Call our Oklahoma truck accident attorneys and schedule a free consultation today!