Truck Accident Lawyer


Tulsa Truck Accident Lawyer

Situated in the heart of Oklahoma, Tulsa stands as a bustling hub of activity and commerce. With a mix of heavy traffic from cars, semi-trucks, and industrial vehicles, accidents are far from uncommon, and the consequences can be severe.

Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, collisions often result in severe injuries or even fatalities. Victims not only face physical hardship but also financial strain from mounting medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. For those affected, pursuing a legal course for compensation serves to safeguard both financial and personal well-being.

Truck accident lawyers in Tulsa play an invaluable role in securing justice for victims. With intricate knowledge of local and federal transportation laws, as well as expertise in negotiating with insurance companies, these attorneys provide essential guidance every step of the way. From gathering evidence to presenting a compelling case in court, expert legal advice empowers victims to make informed decisions and ensures a fair settlement. Expert legal representation becomes not just a choice but a necessity for victims seeking justice and compensation.

What Kinds of Truck Accidents Happen in Tulsa?

Commercial vehicles create significant risks to other vehicles due to their large size. The heavy loads they carry make them difficult to maneuver in highway traffic. In narrow downtown streets with pedestrians as well as bicyclists, one careless move from a truck driver can affect many people in seconds. The result can be catastrophic personal injuries or death.

Many types of accidents involve trucks, such as:

  • Head-on accidents: A truck collides front end first with another vehicle. Oklahoma interstates and highways as well as local city streets in Tulsa are common sites for these accidents.
  • Side impact accidents: Sometimes known as t-bone crashes, one vehicle crashes into the side of another. These most commonly occur in intersections.
  • Rollover accidents: When cargo is loaded improperly or shifts during transit, the truck and trailer can suddenly roll over onto nearby vehicles.
  • Underride accidents: A car crashing into the back of a truck can travel completely underneath the trailer.
  • Jackknife accidents: Unsafe road conditions or extreme weather can cause a truck driver to brake suddenly, forcing the trailer alongside the truck. Unexpected or erratic driving from other vehicles also causes these accidents.
  • No-zone accidents: Large trucks have large blind spots (“no-zones”) behind, beside, and in front of the vehicle. Motorists traveling in these areas risk dangerous rear-end or sideswipe collisions.
Trucks And Blind Spot Accidents

Because a commercial truck is so much larger than nearly any other vehicle on the road, it means they have much larger blind spots. Other vehicles traveling too closely beside, in front of, or behind a truck puts them at high risk of becoming “invisible” to the truck driver. The basic rule of thumb states that “if you cannot see a truck’s side-view mirrors, the driver cannot see you.”
This can become catastrophic when an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer changes lanes and cuts off a passenger car that was following too closely. On the other end of the spectrum, a car that quickly changes lanes immediately in front of a truck risks entering the truck’s large forward blind spot. Either situation can lead to a major semi-truck accident.

You should avoid driving in the three “no-zones” on commercial trucks:

  • Front no-zone: Extending about 20 feet in front of the truck.
  • Side no-zone: Covering the entire right side of a truck and trailer. Whenever possible, always pass trucks on their left side.
  • Rear no-zone: Reaches from the back of the trailer to as far as 200 feet back. Riding in this area puts you out of the view of the truck’s mirrors, meaning the driver cannot see you.
How Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents

Truck accidents present a set of challenges distinct from other vehicular collisions. One notable factor is the colossal size and weight of commercial trucks. These mammoth machines can cause devastating damage upon impact, often leading to severe injuries or even loss of life. In addition, commercial trucks often carry hazardous or heavy cargo, escalating the potential for catastrophic outcomes.

Compounding these challenges are the regulations surrounding commercial trucking. Truck drivers are required to obtain specialized licenses to operate these large, complex vehicles safely. Known as a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), it involves rigorous training and passing stringent tests, both written and practical. Despite these precautions, accidents still happen, and when they do, the legal complexities can be overwhelming for victims.

Insurance considerations add another layer. Due to the additional risks associated with operating commercial trucks, drivers are often required to carry liability insurance with much higher limits compared to regular motorists. Such high limits are designed to cover the extensive damages and injuries that can result from a truck accident. However, higher insurance limits also mean that insurance companies are likely to fight harder against claims, making the role of experienced truck accident lawyers even more indispensable for victims.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Tulsa.

Due to their size and weight, truck accidents can cause many more devastating injuries and damage than wrecks involving only passenger cars. Harm and loss is multiplied many times because a small car is no match for a heavily loaded tractor-trailer. The truck driver can be held at fault, but the trucking company may also face liability for the expenses suffered by those who are injured or experience property damage.

These large trucks also create many additional risks, such as:

  • Experiencing difficulty maneuvering in tight spaces or making turns in parking lots
  • Taking evasive action in congested traffic to avoid collisions if another vehicle is driving erratically
  • Severe problems with handling a commercial truck over bad road conditions or in heavy rain
  • Presenting a danger to an entire community when carrying hazardous or flammable cargo

Truck drivers complete extensive training and are monitored to ensure they obey all traffic laws, but even experienced professional drivers can make mistakes. Driver fatigue from extended shifts to get cargo to its destination can lead to significant errors in judgment. Big rig drivers reacting to unexpected circumstances when their reflexes are diminished can lead to massive pile-ups and fatalities.

According to the National Safety Council, in 2021, the number of large trucks implicated in deadly accidents reached 5,700, marking an 18% surge compared to the previous year and an almost 50% rise over the past decade. The rate of such incidents per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks also increased by 7% since 2020, and by 22% over a ten-year span. Large trucks are classified as medium or heavy trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 10,000 pounds, excluding buses and motor homes. The statistics include both commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

In terms of overall impact:
Large trucks constituted 9% of all vehicles in fatal collisions. They made up 5% of all registered vehicles. These trucks were responsible for 10% of total miles traveled by vehicle.

Who Can Be At Fault in a Tulsa Truck Accident?

Truck drivers are required to comply with many regulations and laws concerning maintenance and inspection. Despite this personal responsibility, it is often the case that liability from an accident will fall onto the trucking company. Even when a driver displays negligence in driving or maintenance, their employer will be considered legally at fault for any and all damages that result from accidents involving their drivers.

Besides a trucking company, however, other parties may be considered liable. Manufacturers of tires or other truck parts could be involved if it can be proven that they failed to address known design flaws or production mistakes. If these led to an accident, responsibility can be directed at those companies.
This includes manufacturers who produce truck tires that cannot handle the heavy loads, highway speeds, or long distances that are required in the trucking industry.

Blowouts of these poorly made tires can make the tire company culpable.
Other motorists may contribute to or cause a truck accident, particularly if they are speeding or breaking traffic laws. This includes passenger cars and motorcyclists, as well as anyone who is operating a non-motorized vehicle on a road not designated for it. Additionally, if a vehicle drops a large object (such as a sofa, mattress, or ladder) onto the roadway, they may continue unscathed but be responsible for a devastating truck accident behind them.

While very rare, it is possible to pursue government agencies for liability. The burden of proof is high, and it must be shown that significant factors under the control of the agency contributed to the truck accident. These factors could include excessively poor road maintenance or construction equipment left unattended in the right-of-way. In these cases, the opposing counsel will often argue against their liability, stating that all drivers should have driven more carefully due to road conditions.

Understanding Industry Regulations

Trucking safety is a significant concern, and that’s where the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) comes into play, particularly with its “Hours of Service” regulations. These rules are designed to limit the time a truck driver can spend on the road and mandate specific rest periods.

What do these Hours of Service regulations entail? They establish limits on various aspects such as the maximum number of driving hours in a single stretch, daily driving limits, and total work hours in a week. For instance, a driver is generally not allowed to operate a truck for more than 11 consecutive hours and must take a minimum 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving. These regulations also dictate adequate off-time between shifts.

The reason these rules exist is to prevent driver fatigue and overworking, both of which are significant factors in road accidents. Operating a large vehicle like a truck while fatigued is a recipe for disaster; it increases the likelihood of errors, which can result in severe or even fatal accidents. Hence, Hours of Service regulations aim to keep drivers as alert and focused as possible, enhancing road safety for everyone involved.

In summary, FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations serve as a safeguard against overworking and fatigued driving, contributing to overall road safety. Understanding these rules is essential, especially if you find yourself involved in a truck accident, as it may shed light on whether the driver was operating within legal limits.

What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Truck Accident?

When a truck accident occurs, the lives of victims are thrown into chaos. Dealing with serious injuries and car repairs can take its toll, and on top of this, they must try to seek justice from those at fault. Gathering as much evidence as possible is also important, such as police reports, photos and video, physical evidence, and witness statements.

A skilled truck accident lawyer can assist with these steps while you recover from injuries. They can help gather evidence and build a case in the days and weeks after the accident, when even more medical complications may arise. If you or a loved one have been involved in a Tulsa truck accident, there are some commonly recommended steps to take:

  • Accept medical treatment from first responders immediately after the crash.
  • Speak with police at the scene to give them your statement.
  • Notify your medical and automotive insurance companies of the accident.
  • Contact your family, friends, and job to let them know the situation.
  • Make appointments for any follow-up medical treatment that is needed.
  • Locate and hire an attorney with experience in handling tractor-trailer accidents.

Victims should be able to focus on healing and getting their lives back after a devastating crash. Trying to recover while also speaking with insurance companies, lawyers for trucking companies, and auto repair shops can add to the stress. When the worst happens, and someone dies as a result of the wreck, even more details must be dealt with to seek justice in a truck accident case.
This is when relying on a top-notch legal team can make life easier for those who have suffered trauma and damage because of someone else’s negligence.

Challenges of Taking on Insurers After a Truck Accident

After a truck accident, one greatest challenges victims face is negotiating with insurance companies. While these companies may project an image of support and trustworthiness, they are in business to make money. Matters get even more complicated when dealing with significant damages, as is typically the case with truck accidents.

Equally challenging is the sophistication of the legal teams employed by insurance firms. With a primary goal of minimizing payouts, these teams are highly skilled at exploiting loopholes and using the complexities of the law to their advantage.Seasoned truck accident attorneys bring a wealth of expertise to the table. Familiar with the nuances of state and federal regulations, effective counsel can conduct comprehensive investigations, gather critical evidence, and counteract the tactics employed by insurance companies. In essence, experienced legal representation serves to level the playing field, ensuring you don’t have to navigate the legal
maze alone.

What Evidence Can Be Used in a Tulsa Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Evidence of injury and damage are what a good truck accident lawyer uses to build a strong case. They will work tirelessly to obtain compensation from those responsible for an accident involving tractor-trailers. The higher the quality of evidence, the more convincing it will be in court. There are many types of evidence that can be used, such as:

  • Police reports: Police will respond to the crash and survey the scene, speak to victims and witnesses, then submit an accident report.
  • Black box data: Many heavy trucks are equipped with Event Data Recorders (EDRs), or “black boxes” (like those in airplanes). Data from the truck’s EDR can provide information related to the vehicle’s speed, braking, and other details just before a crash.
  • Camera footage and photos: On-board cameras in cars and trucks, as well as highway cameras, can give different views of a collision. Photos from the accident scene can provide a record of the damage and injuries that occurred.
  • Cell phone records: Cell phone records can show if a driver was using a phone before the crash. The Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Violation Code designates texting while driving as a charge of negligence.
  • Victim and witness statements: Testimony from those involved in the crash and from bystanders are strong evidence for confirming accident specifics.

Putting together the best collection of proof possible is critical to maximizing the chances of receiving the full compensation victims deserve. Trucking companies are usually in a position to hire large teams of lawyers and spend tremendous sums of money to prevent being found at fault. They know that average individuals cannot compete with their financial strength in the courtroom and will do all they can to keep you from winning your case.

What Compensation Can I Seek in a Tulsa Truck Accident?

Trucking industry regulations are meant to govern driver behavior and equipment safety. However, those same regulations can make a truck accident lawsuit very difficult and complicated. State and federal laws are in place to oversee all members of the trucking sector, and they play a large part in how all wrecks are managed. These laws can also be very confusing to truck accident victims when they are seeking compensation.

Hiring a truck accident attorney after a crash can be essential in uncovering avenues for reimbursement that may not be obvious. Some common reasons to engage a lawyer after a truck accident may be if you:

  • Suffered serious or life-threatening injuries
  • Experienced injuries that worsened an existing medical condition
  • Are afraid of negotiating with insurance companies to win fair compensation
  • Are unsure of how to fight large trucking companies
  • Lack knowledge about how the litigation process works
  • Do not know how to work out a settlement for yourself
  • Do not have time to thoroughly investigate the matter and gather evidence
  • Are unsure of the kinds or amounts of damages you can pursue

Tulsa truck accident survivors may choose to seek compensation for various kinds of expenses, including:

  • Medical expenses and care, both current and future
  • Coverage for lost wages and loss of income potential due to disablement
  • Costs to repair or replace your car
  • Compensation for disfigurement, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and mental anguish as a result of your injuries
Careful Negotiations Can Bring Thousands of Dollars in Settlements or Jury Awards

Working with a lawyer who knows the process and pitfalls of negotiating with trucking insurance companies is critical. A skilled truck accident attorney can help you understand the pros and cons of any settlement offers to determine if they are fair. When an unfair or lowball offer is made, your legal team can guide you in moving forward with a personal injury, wrongful death, or other type of lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Victims of truck accidents in Tulsa can pursue economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those expenses such as medical bills, car repair or replacement, lost wages, and other objectively calculated financial losses due to an accident. Non-economic damages comprise compensation for things such as mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.

In addition to economic and non-economic costs, accident victims may choose to pursue punitive damages in a truck accident case. Punitive damages can be requested or they may be issued by the judge during the trial. They are meant to set an example and to inflict sufficient financial hardship to the at-fault party so as to deter anyone from engaging in similar actions in the future. These damages are usually only awarded from a jury trial in which the liable party caused significant harm to the victims.
Deciding how much to seek in damages after a truck accident can be daunting and complicated. This is where it is essential to hire a lawyer with many ye]ars of experience in litigating these kinds of cases. From negotiating settlements with insurance companies to completing a lawsuit successfully in your favor, your Tulsa truck accident attorney should make it less confusing and stressful for you to receive compensation.

One of the first options presented to victims often comes in the form of quick settlements from insurance companies. While these offers may seem attractive at first glance, they come with both advantages and drawbacks.Quick settlements usually mean faster access to funds, which can be crucial for immediate medical expenses and bills. The appeal lies in the immediate relief provided, without the necessity of a lengthy legal process. However, the downside is substantial. Quick settlements often fall short of covering long-term needs, including future medical costs, loss of earning capacity, and psychological trauma.

In contrast, opting for a more extended legal process opens the door to comprehensive settlements that take into account the full spectrum of damages, both immediate and future. While this approach generally results in a more adequate compensation package, it does involve a longer timeline, sometimes extending into years. Patience and financial preparedness become key assets when going down this path.

How Can A Tulsa Truck Accident Lawyer Help?

A skilled Tulsa truck accident lawyer will use their experience and their legal team to research your claim.

The law firm can assist you in determining who is liable for personal injuries and property damage caused by the crash. Hiring an attorney allows you to focus on recovery and rehabilitation instead of trying to fight a legal battle on your own. A competent car accident lawyer works to get you the full compensation you deserve when the negligence of others has left you with trauma.
Your legal representative will investigate the accident as well as any history of violations or crashes for the driver and trucking company involved. A truck accident lawyer can negotiate with insurance and other companies to reach a fair settlement on your behalf, ensuring you have the financial means to fully recover from your injuries.

The companies and corporations that own fleets of tractor-trailers are responsible for maintaining their equipment and training drivers according to industry regulations. Drivers are expected to follow safety laws and inspections to prevent accidents.

However, the reality is that not every company or driver follows these rules and may cut corners to save money or time. These actions lead to avoidable mistakes that can affect the lives of others in dramatic ways.

Skilled truck accident attorneys are fluent in the many laws and regulations governing the trucking sector. They will also use past lawsuits or claims against the companies to strengthen your case. Thousands of truck accidents occur in Oklahoma every year, causing life-changing injuries and even death. These large vehicles are essential to interstate commerce but can pose significant dangers to other motorists when profit is put over safety.

Call Today for a Free Consultation with a Tulsa Truck Accident Lawyer

Depend on the experience of our Tulsa truck accident lawyers at the law offices of Graves McLain to bring your case to court and successfully seek justice for you. Contact us today for a free consultation using our online form or by phone at 918-359-6600.

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