Hit By A Large Truck? You Need An Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyer

by | Mar 17, 2015 | Truck Accident

Hit by a truck driver? Our Oklahoma truck accident lawyers can help.

Traffic accidents involving large trucks such as semis and tractor trailers have the potential to cause more serious and fatal injuries than other types of collisions. That’s because of the sheer size and weight difference between 18 wheelers and other smaller vehicles on the road.

Unfortunately, many safety conscious motorists are seriously injured or killed in collisions caused by 18 wheelers on Oklahoma highways, leaving their families suddenly without a loved one.

In early March, a tractor trailer heading south on Interstate 35 in Love County experienced a mechanical issue that caused the driver of another vehicle to run off the road and suffer critical injuries. According to a KXII news report, an axle came loose from the trailer of the large truck and struck the front fender of a nearby pickup truck. That caused the driver of the pickup truck to swerve off the road and roll over, ejecting the driver from the vehicle. The driver of the pickup truck was taken by helicopter to the hospital in critical condition.

Many truck accidents have common contributing factors. They may include speeding, driving too fast for road or weather conditions, mechanical issues, lack of adequate maintenance, and fatigue.

Such a mechanical issue may have been caused by an equipment failure or by a lack of adequate maintenance of the truck. An experienced truck accident attorney will move quickly to preserve all maintenance records and worksheets from the trucking company and try to identify the cause of the axle coming loose. Securing important records before they are discarded or destroyed is one good reason to enlist the help of a truck accident lawyer quickly after an accident involving a large truck.

It’s important to review a truck driver’s logbooks and phone records to determine whether the trucker may have been fatigued from driving too many hours or distracted and was slow to respond to changing road conditions or traffic congestion.

Recently, an 81-year-old Pauls Valley man was killed March 7th in Garvin County when the Ford pickup truck he was driving was rear ended by a tractor trailer on Interstate 35. Both vehicles were travelling north on the interstate at about 1 p.m. The semi was unable to slow down in traffic congestion and struck the pickup from behind, trapping the pickup driver.  The cause of the rear-end collision remained under investigation at last report.

In Oklahoma, 112 people were killed in collisions involving large trucks in 2013, the most recent year of complete data, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most of the accident victims were occupants of other vehicles involved in the crashes.

Large trucks such as semis and tractor trailers are more likely to be involved in multi vehicle accidents. Across the United States, of more than 100,000 people injured in accidents involving large trucks in a recent year. Three fourths of those injured were occupants of other vehicles. On rural Oklahoma interstates and highways, large trucks travel at high speeds, increasing the disparity in weight and size with smaller vehicles in collisions.

Large semi-trucks, tractor trailers, and 18 wheelers have a well-recognized structural incompatibility with smaller passenger cars. This incompatibility exposes the passengers of the smaller vehicles to serious risk of injury in an accident. Large trucks often crush the passenger compartment of a car in head-on collisions, depriving car occupants of the needed space to survive a serious truck accident. Because of the height difference, a car may slide under the front or rear bumper of a large truck, sheering off the passenger compartment.

Accidents involving large trucks and other vehicles differ significantly from collisions involving only passenger cars.

Trucking companies are required to carry much higher amounts of liability insurance because of the potential large trucks have to cause substantial damage and injuries in a collision. That means the stakes are higher and trucking companies will have lawyers looking out for their interests.

A truck accident often involves numerous insurance companies. The truck driver, trucking company, cargo shipper, and trucking equipment manufacturer may all have separate insurance companies and their own lawyers.

Crashes involving 18 wheelers often require detailed investigation by an experienced truck accident lawyer to allow an injured motorist to present a convincing accident claim against a trucking company, truck driver, or freight shipper. As regulated commercial carriers, trucking companies are required to keep for a specified period of time inspection reports, maintenance records, log books, and other records that can offer import evidence of negligence after a serious truck accident.

Contact an experienced Oklahoma truck accident lawyer for an explanation of your legal rights.