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Truck Accidents

Truck Accident Attorneys in Oklahoma

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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.

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.
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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.

Truck Accident FAQ

  • What are the most common factors in collisions between commercial trucks and automobiles?
    Truck accidents happen for many reasons. But some of the most common contributing factors are speeding and exhaustion. Truck drivers who need to make routes on time will sometimes break the speed limit, which dramatically increases their vehicles’ braking distances. More still will drive while exhausted. Fatigued driving is nearly a job requirement because most commercial truck drivers can be scheduled to drive for 14 hours in a single shift.
  • If I am partially at fault for the truck accident, can I still win the lawsuit?
    Oklahoma uses a 50% modified comparative fault rule for determining accident liability. Under this rule, you can’t be more than 50% at fault for a truck accident and still retain the right to demand compensation from the truck driver. This is why it is so important to look for convincing evidence that shows you did nothing wrong.
  • Are truck drivers always at fault?
    Although many truck accidents are caused by negligent truck drivers, not all of them are. Insurance companies will begin each investigation by assuming that the party they do not insure is at fault, which means the truck driver’s insurer will try to blame you for what happened.
  • What is the most frequent type of vehicle accident in the trucking industry?
    Rollovers are among the most common type of truck accidents, as are rear-end accidents. When a truck is overloaded, both of these accidents become more likely. Rollovers are caused when a truck is top-heavy and takes a turn too sharply or is hit by a strong gust of wind. Rear-end accidents are caused when an overloaded truck takes longer to brake than expected, so it slams into stopped traffic in front of the truck.
  • Where do most truck accidents occur?
    Most truck accidents happen where most trucks can be found at any given time: highways and freeways. Commercial trucks are primarily used to ship products, objects, and equipment that other vehicles cannot. They use highways until they need to take an off-ramp. Therefore, it is not surprising that most truck accidents happen on highways or very near them.

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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.

Who is Liable for a Trucking Accident?

Liability in a trucking accident case can be a bit unexpected. Although it can be easy and completely justified to put the blame on the truck driver, the truth is that other parties could share some of the liability due to factors that often require an experienced truck accident lawyer to uncover.

After an investigation, we might be able to find the following parties liable for your truck accident:

  • Truck driver: Truck drivers can rarely completely avoid liability after a trucking accident because they are ultimately the only person who has control of their vehicle. If something goes wrong, then they need to do what they can to prevent it, assuming their own mistake didn’t cause the incident in the first place.
  • Trucking company: A trucking company can become partially liable for a truck accident if the truck driver was hired as an employee, not an independent contractor. Employers can be responsible for the negligence of their employees through a legal rule called respondeat superior.
  • Loading company: Third-party companies usually load cargo onto a truck or into a trailer. Truck drivers are often instructed to not participate at all in the loading process. If cargo falls off a truck or causes the trailer to become top-heavy, which then contributes to a crash, then the loading company – be it a retailer, grocer, industrial company, etc. – could become partially liable.
  • Truck manufacturer: When a truck accident is caused by a truck part failure, like a defective airbrake system, the truck’s manufacturer could be liable. Truckers need to regularly maintain their vehicle, but some defects cannot be caught until after disaster strikes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents

  • How is fault determined after a truck accident?
    Determining fault in a truck accident can be a complicated affair due to all of the parties that can become involved in the case. Attorneys often require ample evidence to understand what happened, why it happened, and who could be liable for it. It is common for an expert crash reconstruction professional to be called to assist with the investigation. They can accurately recreate the scene of the crash as it occurred by using evidence in the form of photographs, videos, eyewitness testimonies, police reports, medical records, and more. Furthermore, the fault for a truck accident is oftentimes split between at least two parties, but this can change depending on if the truck was company-owned or leased by the driver.
  • Who is liable in a truck accident: the driver or the trucking company?
    The truck driver in a truck accident will usually be liable for what happened to some extent because they were the only one who was in physical control of the truck when it crashed. The trucking company might find itself liable for the accident as well in some circumstances, though. For example, a trucking company that hires a truck driver without a commercial driver’s license could become liable due to its professional negligence. Or, in a more common situation, a trucking company can become liable through the legal rule of respondeat superior, which makes employers liable – within reason – for the accidents caused by their employees. This situation requires the truck driver to be an actual employee, not an independent contractor.
  • Can a truck driver be fired for an accident?
    Due to at-will employment laws, truck drivers can be fired for causing a truck accident. If people are seriously injured because of the truck driver’s actions, then their termination will be all the more likely. You should not hesitate to file a truck accident lawsuit because you’re worried the trucker will lose their job and income. That concern is between the trucker driver and their employer. Your financial recovery should be your focus. Furthermore, your decision to file a truck accident claim can help prevent future crashes by encouraging the trucking company to take corrective and disciplinary actions, which might include firing the trucker who hit you.
  • Do you have to stay out of a truck’s blind spots when driving on the highway?
    The rule of a truck’s blind spots is that if you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see your car. But there is no definitive rule that requires you to stay out of a truck’s blind spots at the risk of some sort of legal repercussion. Although just because you won’t be ticketed for staying in a truck’s blind spots doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Try to limit the time you spend in blind spots by navigating your vehicle away from them when possible. If you have to pass a big rig, then you should pass on the left, where the blind spot is much smaller than the one on the right.
  • Is it true that some truck drivers take drugs to stay awake?
    Truck drivers are frequently at the risk of becoming exhausted behind the wheel because they often work shifts in excess of 12 hours. While most truck drivers stay awake by staying hydrated, eating healthy meals, and taking scheduled breaks, there will always be a slim percentage of truckers who resort to unsavory or illegal methods to remain alert. Some might be tempted to take narcotics, prescriptions, or over-the-counter medications that keep them awake, like daytime cold medicine. The issue is that when such medications wear off, the exhaustion they had been staving off will rush back with even more intensity.
  • Toxic Torts $8,200,000
  • Insurance Bad Faith $7,000,000
  • Motorcycle Accident/Wrongful Death $6,000,000
  • Professional Negligence $6,000,000
  • Wrongful Death $6,000,000
  • Professional Negligence $5,000,000
  • Professional Negligence $5,000,000
  • Professional Negligence $3,000,000
  • Professional Negligence $3,000,000
  • Product Liability $3,000,000

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.

“Martin Jean & Jackson Law Firm has the highest integrity when dealing with clients.”

- John A.

What Makes Us Different

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  • Over 15,000 Injured Clients Represented
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