Oklahoma City is a major logistics hub. It sits at the junction of three critical interstates (I-35, I-40, and I-44) and all major trade hubs are within a 1,800-mile distance. In addition, more than four million people are within a 2.5-hour drive of Oklahoma City, and most of the U.S. can be reached within two days by truck.
This strategic location means that Oklahoma City has thousands of long-haul truckers on its roads and highways every year. The surge in online shopping has increased the amount of commercial vehicle traffic even more, increasing the risk of a catastrophic accident happening at any time.
When they occur, truck accidents can cause severe injuries, especially to drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles. To make matters worse, it can be difficult to focus on your recovery when you are dealing with trucking company representatives and insurance providers who try to get you to settle for an unfair amount.
At Carr and Carr, we want you to know that you have other options. For nearly five decades, our law firm has been helping Oklahoma City victims of semi-truck crashes get fair compensation. If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed in an Oklahoma City trucking accident, we are here to discuss your case and your legal options. To speak to an Oklahoma City injury lawyer please call 405-691-1600.
Why Hire Carr and Carr for Your Oklahoma City Truck Accident Claim?
- Carr and Carr has been representing Oklahomans injured in truck collisions in or around Oklahoma City since 1975.
- Tens of millions of dollars have been recovered for our clients, providing the financial stability they need to recover.
- With decades of experience, our attorneys know how to pursue these cases successfully, from finding the right crash reconstructionist to preserving all the necessary evidence.
- We take your case on a contingency fee basis. If we don’t win, you owe us nothing.
Seeking Compensation for Trucking Accidents in Oklahoma City
If you’re injured in a truck accident in Oklahoma City, you may pursue damages from the liable party. A fair settlement should include maximum compensation for economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Property damage
- Long-term disability or paralysis (permanent injuries)
- Loss of income while you recover from debilitating injuries
- Loss of potential earnings if your injury is permanent
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
Many trucking accidents are fatal. If you lose a loved one in a truck crash, a semi-truck accident attorney may be able to help you initiate a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Steps To Take After a Trucking Accident in Oklahoma City
When you’ve been struck by a massive vehicle weighing thousands of pounds, it can be hard to think clearly, let alone know what to do next. As soon as the shock has subsided, take the following steps to preserve your future compensation claim.
- Call for Assistance: Call 911 to report the accident. While you want to provide as much information as possible for the collision report, do not say anything that could be construed as admitting fault.
- Get Medical Attention: If there are obvious injuries, call an ambulance or go to the emergency room immediately. It’s critical for everyone involved in the crash to get checked by a medical professional because some injuries don’t present symptoms right away.
- Gather Evidence: If you don’t need immediate emergency medical attention, take the time to document the accident as thoroughly as possible. Take pictures of any damage as well as anything that may have contributed to the crash, such as road debris. Get the contact information for any witnesses and note the license plates of all involved vehicles.
- Schedule a Consultation With an 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer: The law doesn’t require you to be represented by a lawyer for a truck accident claim. However, injury victims who do have representation often get a better settlement from the trucking company or insurance provider. At Carr and Carr, our Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve from the responsible party.
Trucking Accidents in Oklahoma City
Any motor vehicle accident can be catastrophic, but crashes involving trucks are especially severe. These vehicles are much bigger than cars: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), any vehicle with a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds qualifies as a large truck.
Common examples you might see on OKC highways and interstates include:
- Semi-Trucks: Also known as tractor-trailers or big rigs, these vehicles have a tractor unit that pulls a separate trailer. They transport a wide range of goods, including dry goods, refrigerated items, and hazardous materials.
- Dump Trucks: These trucks are designed to transport loose materials, such as sand, gravel, and demolition debris.
- Tanker Trucks: Tanker trucks transport cargo such as fuel, water, chemicals, and industrial gasses.
- Flatbed Trucks: This type of truck has an open flatbed to accommodate oversized or irregularly shaped cargo. They are commonly used to transport construction materials and equipment.
- Box Trucks: Also known as cube vans and delivery trucks, box trucks have a closed cargo area mounted on a chassis. They are normally used for local deliveries and transporting furniture, appliances, and other household goods.
- Fire Trucks
- Log Carrier Trucks
- Refrigerator Trucks
Trucks are likely to cause serious injuries and damage in a crash, especially when they collide with smaller passenger cars, pedestrians, or motorcycles. Such accidents can also have secondary consequences. For example:
- An overturned tanker truck may leak fuel, causing environmental damage and creating fire hazards.
- A tractor-trailer may drop its cargo all over the road, causing a multi-vehicle accident.
What Causes Trucking Accidents in Oklahoma City?
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), there were 4,784 large truck crashes in Oklahoma in 2021, and 73 of them involved a fatality. That year, large truck accidents caused 75 deaths and 1,168 injuries in Oklahoma. The statistics are unsettling, especially if you have been a victim who was injured in one of these crashes.
Why do these tragedies occur? There are several common causes of trucking accidents, many of which involve driver error:
- Inexperienced or Untrained Drivers: Commercial truck drivers require specialized training to operate these vehicles safely. Untrained or inexperienced drivers may not be able to handle a large truck safely, resulting in an accident.
- Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours, leading to fatigue and impairing their judgment and reaction time. Although they may not legally drive more than 11 hours in a 14-hour work period after 10 consecutive hours off duty, employers often push them to exceed this limit in order to meet deadlines.
- Distracted Driving: Truck drivers may become distracted by their smartphones, GPS devices, radios, and other electronic devices. Even a few seconds of inattention can lead to an accident.
- Driving Under the Influence: Under Oklahoma law, it is illegal to operate a commercial motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or more, but many drivers disregard this limit. When they drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can injure and kill others sharing the road with them.
- Speeding: Speeding is a leading cause of accidents involving commercial trucks. Due to their size and weight, they require more time and distance to come to a stop, making it hard for the driver to instantly avoid danger.
- Poor Maintenance: Trucks require regular maintenance to ensure that they are in good working condition. Inadequate maintenance can lead to mechanical failures and accidents.
- Improper Loading: Improper loading of cargo can be a significant factor in causing truck accidents. When cargo is not loaded correctly, it can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unbalanced and difficult to control.
- Overloading: When a truck is overloaded, it can affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. An overloaded truck can take longer to stop, making it more likely to be involved in an accident. It can also cause the tires to overheat, leading to a blowout.
- Poor weather conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and fog, can make driving more difficult, increasing the risk of going off the road or crashing.
While these factors can cause any type of motor vehicle accident, the consequences are amplified when a large truck is involved. Common examples of truck accident injuries include:
- Head Injuries: Head injuries can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that lead to lifelong impairment.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can result in full or partial paralysis and other long-term complications. In extreme cases, the accident victim may never be able to function normally again.
- Broken Bones: Truck accidents can cause broken bones in the arms, legs, ribs, and other parts of the body. These injuries may require surgery and months of rehabilitation.
- Internal Injuries: Truck accidents often result in internal bleeding and damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, or lungs.
- Burns: Burns can occur if a vehicle catches fire in a truck accident. In some cases, they may require extensive medical care, including surgery and skin grafts.
- Emotional Trauma: Truck accidents can be traumatic events that can cause emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. These issues can persist for months and even years after the accident.
Truck Driving Laws to Prevent Accidents
Drivers of large trucks carrying cargo must follow certain regulations which are set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Here are some of the rules for truck drivers:
- Time limits: Drivers can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive off-duty hours. There is also a specific window of time when driving is allowed after every 10-hour off-duty break; drivers can’t drive at any time beyond the 14th consecutive hour after the end of the break.
- Adverse weather: During adverse weather conditions, drivers can drive up to 13 hours after 10 consecutive off-duty hours. The 14-hour window is also extended by 2 hours.
- Breaks: Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after 8 cumulative hours of driving without at least 30 minutes of non-driving.
There are additional laws that govern sleeping in trucks with a sleeper berth. Drivers are also limited in the number of hours they can drive in a period of consecutive days. They can’t drive more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.
How Is Liability Determined for Trucking Accidents?
Most motor vehicle accidents are complicated, and those involving semi-trucks or other large vehicles are incredibly complex regarding liability. Because Oklahoma follows a modified comparative negligence standard, anyone involved may be assigned a percentage of liability. Damages cannot be collected by any party who is more than 50% liable for their injuries.
There are several individuals and entities who could potentially be liable for a trucking accident, including:
- Truck Driver: The driver may be liable for an accident if they were driving negligently or recklessly. Examples include speeding, driving while fatigued or distracted, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Trucking Company: If the trucking company fails to properly train its drivers, maintain its vehicles, or otherwise comply with federal or state laws, it may be held responsible for any accidents or injuries arising from its negligent actions.
- Truck Owner: The truck’s owner may be liable for an accident if they failed to maintain the vehicle properly or if they knew or should have known that the vehicle was unsafe.
- Manufacturer: If a defective truck part or component caused the accident, the victim may be able to sue the manufacturer.
- Negligent Drivers: If other motorists were engaging in negligent or reckless driving behaviors, they may also be held responsible for a resulting truck accident.
- Government Entities: Government entities may be liable for a truck accident if a poorly designed or maintained road, inadequate signage, or a similar hazard contributed to the accident.
When seeking financial compensation, you will have to deal with the representatives of the liable parties and/or their insurance providers. Unfortunately, it’s common for insurers and trucking companies to try to avoid liability or pay less-than-fair damages. At Carr and Carr, our Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers have the extensive experience, legal acumen, and resources needed to counter these tactics and demand the compensation you deserve.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
In Oklahoma and Arkansas, there are comparative negligence laws, which means that liability in truck accidents is shared between all involved parties. Depending on the details of the crash, each party that is at fault is given a certain percentage of liability.
This percentage affects the amount of compensation that a person can obtain in a truck accident claim. An individual who is more at fault would receive less compensation than one with a lower liability percentage. You are not eligible to seek compensation if you are over 50 percent liable for an accident.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident or injury. This means that if you have been injured in a truck accident, you generally have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit.
It is important to note that there may be some exceptions to this two-year time limit. For example, if the injury was not immediately apparent or you were a minor during the accident, the statute of limitations may be tolled, or paused, until certain conditions are met. Therefore, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
How Can an Oklahoma City Truck Accident Lawyer Help My Case?
Few (if any) defendants in a truck accident claim will offer to pay you full and fair value for your damages. Insurance companies stay in business by limiting payouts as much as possible, so if you try to negotiate your own compensation, you’ll invariably receive a lowball offer that probably won’t even come close to addressing your current and future medical and financial needs. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Oklahoma City can be instrumental in helping you pursue a truck accident claim and maximize the financial compensation you receive.
Here are some ways a personal injury lawyer can help with your claim:
- Investigating the Accident: An experienced trucking accident lawyer can review police reports, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to determine the cause of the accident. Using this information, they can more easily determine who is potentially liable for your injuries.
- Calculating Damages: A semi-truck accident attorney can calculate the damages you may be entitled to, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This includes financial losses you have already incurred and those you are reasonably expected to incur in the future.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance adjuster to help ensure that you receive fair compensation. Hiring a lawyer sends the message that you’re serious about collecting the money you are entitled to.
- Litigating the Case: If the insurer fails or refuses to make a fair settlement offer, a personal injury lawyer can take your case to court and litigate on your behalf. The Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers at Carr and Carr are seasoned litigators who know how to present a strong case.
Get a Free Consultation From a Truck Accident Lawyer
Pursuing compensation after a trucking accident in OKC can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to recover from injuries or are dealing with the death of a loved one. At Carr and Carr, our personal injury attorneys want to help you get a fair settlement. Whether your Oklahoma City accident involved a box truck, tractor-trailer, or flatbed, we have the expertise to pursue the outcome you deserve.
If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, contact our law firm in Oklahoma City. We’ve helped many Oklahoma City truck accident victims and their families get financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and even wrongful death. To schedule your free consultation, call the Carr and Carr team at (405)-691-1600 or use the online contact form. With offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and northwest Arkansas, our attorneys are ready to meet you at your home, hospital room, or other location convenient to you.