A commercial truck accident can be devastating if it involves other motor vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists. The weight of an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer, semi, or tanker truck running at highway speed can cause serious injury or death in a collision, as well as extensive property damage.

If negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company caused a truck accident, those who have been injured or suffered property damage can seek compensation for their losses. A truck accident lawyer from Burch, George & Germany, P.C., can provide the legal and technical expertise necessary to prevail in a personal injury or wrongful death claim after a truck accident in Oklahoma. Call us today to talk about how we can help you.

How Commercial Truck Accidents Commonly Occur

Finding out how and why a truck accident happened is crucial to a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Burch, George & Germany, P.C. can perform the investigative work necessary to answer questions in your truck accident.

A 2007 federal report called the Large Truck Crash Causation Study remains a primary resource on the topic of accidents involving commercial long-haul trucks and their drivers. It cites 19 common causes of truck accidents.

They include several types of driver negligence or recklessness:

  • Inattention / external distraction
  • Over-the-counter drug use / Illegal drugs / alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Traveling too fast for conditions
  • Tailgating
  • Illegal maneuvers
  • Inadequate surveillance (i.e., not looking or not recognizing a potential hazard)
  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • Unfamiliarity with roadway.

Truck drivers involved in accidents were cited for driving too fast for conditions almost 50 percent more often than drivers of passenger vehicles.

The study found that 35 percent of truck accidents could be attributed to inattention on the part of the truck driver. Federal distracted driving laws adopted since the report was published prohibit commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers from using handheld cellphones or texting while driving.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs have a role in many accidents. Twenty-six percent of the truck drivers reported prescription drug use and 17 percent reported using over-the-counter drugs that could make them drowsy or affect their reaction time. Because of frequent testing, alcohol figures into some but very few truck accidents.

Another driver-related cause of accidents cited by the report is “jackknife” accidents. Jackknife truck accidents typically occur when the rear wheels of an 18-wheeler lock up, usually because of the driver braking abruptly or too hard. Once the wheels lock up, a steep road grade or a cargo shift can send a trailer spinning toward the truck’s cab, like a closing jackknife.

The study also cited non-driver problems:

  • Brake problems
  • Tire problems
  • Cargo shift
  • Roadway problems.

Mechanical problems may be caused by the trucking company’s failure to perform regular maintenance on the vehicle such as adjusting the brakes or replacing worn tires. For example, brake problems were cited in almost 30 percent of the trucks involved in accidents.

If a component of the truck failed, like its brakes or a blown tire, it could also be a faulty product. A faulty product liability claim might seek compensation from the manufacturer of the truck’s brake system or tires.

A third-party claim might target the trucking company for neglecting its duty to ensure its trucks were properly maintained. A cargo shift or spill might also be the responsibility of a third party, such as a negligent loader at a warehouse or the loader’s employer if that person was not properly trained or supervised.

If a problem with road maintenance or design causes a truck accident, an engineering firm, contractor and/or local government responsible for the design, construction or maintenance of the roadway might be held liable in a third-party claim.

A final cause of truck accidents cited by the federal study was “felt under work pressure from carrier.” This is an ongoing problem with truck drivers and trucking firms, and a common reason that carriers are sued in third-party accident claims. If a driver speeds, drives when they are fatigued, or even takes stimulant drugs because of pressure from above to get from Point A to Point B faster, the driver’s employer may be responsible for an accident and should be held liable.

Let Our Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyers Investigate

There may be multiple reasons a commercial truck accident occurred and injured you or your loved one. It is likely to take the work of independent investigators who have specialized knowledge and who are working with your interests in mind to uncover the facts.

The truck accident lawyers of Burch, George & Germany, P.C., have extensive experience with truck accidents in Oklahoma and regularly work with engineering consultants and accident reconstruction experts on complex accident cases. We can determine what happened in your accident and who should be held liable for your losses. And then we will vigorously pursue compensation for you and your family by filing a truck accident lawsuit.

Call us or fill out our contact form today for a free consultation about how Burch, George & Germany will fight for you.