Trucking accidents are unfortunately common in Oklahoma. Because they involve such large and heavy vehicles, truck accidents can lead to severe injuries, extensive property damage, and even death. According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), there were 5,638 accidents in 2019 that involved large trucks, 81 of which were fatal.
If you or a loved one is dealing with the consequences of a truck accident, it’s important to know that the liable party’s insurance company may not offer adequate compensation at first. At Carr & Carr, we have the experience to help you pursue monetary damages to cover medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering from a trucking accident. We help clients in and around Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and even northwest Arkansas.
To schedule a free consultation, fill out our online form or call (888) 823-9525.
What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Like most motor vehicle accidents, truck crashes can have a number of underlying causes. OHSO reports that the most common factor in large truck crashes in 2019 was the driver’s “improper act or movement.” This term includes actions such as failure to signal, improper lane use, and failure to secure the truck’s load. Here are other contributing factors:
- Changing lanes unsafely
- Following too closely
- DUI (drugs/alcohol)
Some truck accidents may have multiple causes from one or more drivers. On a crash report form, every driver is assigned a contributing factor to a crash. If a driver was not at fault, their factor is listed as “no improper action by driver.”
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.
Who Could Be Liable in an Oklahoma Truck Accident?
Truck accidents, especially those involving multiple vehicles, can be very complicated in terms of liability. There are many potential at-fault parties.
The truck driver may be held liable if they violate traffic laws such as speeding or running red lights. Drivers may also be liable if they drive under the influence on drugs or alcohol, while distracted, or while sleepy.
In crashes with multiple vehicles, each driver may hold some portion of responsibility. For example, if a truck hits a car but both drivers were speeding, they may both be assigned some percentage of the fault.
Truck/transportation company owner
Sometimes the person or company that owns the truck may be considered the liable party, especially if it’s part of their employment agreement with the truck driver. Sometimes the transportation company and the truck owner are not the same, so fault may be split between them. The cargo loading agent may also be held liable if the truck was overloaded or the cargo wasn’t secured properly.
If a crash was due to a malfunctioning truck, the maintenance provider may be liable for the accident. For example, if the truck’s brakes fail due to inadequate checks and replacements, the person or company who maintains the trucks may be considered at fault.
Sometimes a truck’s malfunction isn’t due to improper maintenance but to a faulty part. In this case, the manufacturer of the truck or of the defective equipment may be considered at fault for the accident.
As you can see, liability in an Oklahoma truck accident can be complicated, and comparative fault laws can affect how compensation is awarded.
Contact Carr & Carr After a Truck Accident in Oklahoma
If you or your family are struggling with injuries, medical bills, and lost income after a truck crash, you may qualify for financial compensation. However, Oklahoma’s comparative fault laws are complicated and they can make it difficult to know whether an insurance company’s initial offer is fair.
At Carr & Carr, we can explain how liability works and help you pursue fair compensation for injuries or wrongful death. Our team can help you understand your legal options after a truck accident in Oklahoma.