McAlester Truck Accident?
“Large truck” is a big category. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines “large trucks” to include everything from 10,000-pound box trucks used for local deliveries to 80,000-pound tractor-trailers hauling consumer goods, livestock, food, and hazardous materials, and other products across the country.
Despite the differences in their sizes, all large trucks have one thing in common: when they collide with a passenger vehicle, the results can be catastrophic. Determining who exactly is at fault for your crash can be difficult when many different companies may be involved – and when you are already struggling to heal after a serious injury.
That’s where we can help. At Edwards & Patterson Law, our knowledgeable McAlester accident attorneys help injured clients throughout Oklahoma and Arkansas. We’re well-versed in the most common causes of truck accidents, and we work with investigators, medical experts, and accident reconstruction teams as needed to determine exactly what happened and establish the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.
- Common Factors in Oklahoma Truck Accidents
The FMCSA and other federal government agencies closely track truck accident reports each year in order to shed light on what causes most truck crashes. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study reveals that the most common factors in truck accidents include:
- Drug use. Use of prescription, over the counter, or illegal drugs occurs in 1 of every 4 large truck crashes, according to the FMCSA’s data. Drugs can easily affect a driver’s perception or reaction time, leading to a crash.
- Speeding. Twenty-three percent of large truck crashes involve a truck that was either going faster than the posted speed limit or going too fast for conditions when it crashed. Simple physics demonstrates the size of the problem: when an 80,000-pound truck accelerates, it gains substantially more momentum than a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle – and can cause substantially more damage on impact. Due to its weight, a heavy truck also requires much more distance to stop when traveling at high speeds.
- Driver fatigue and distraction. Although federal rules limit the number of hours drivers can be behind the wheel, fatigue still plays a role in 13 percent of all truck crashes, according to the FMCSA. Distraction contributes to 8 percent of all crashes.
- Aggressive driving. Truck drivers who give in to “road rage” cause 7 percent of all truck accidents every year, according to the FMCSA.
In addition to these factors, unsafe equipment or loads, improper certification of drivers, or hidden defects in the truck or any of its parts can also cause a serious accident. While it is important to look at the driver’s behavior in the moments before impact, it is also important to examine how the trucking company, mechanics, or shippers might have played a role in the damage caused.
- Why Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents
A truck accident is a serious event, and it has serious consequences. Here’s why:
- Size differences. A fully loaded tractor-trailer may stand over 13 feet high and weigh up to 80,000 pounds – and it may be even bigger if the load has special “oversize” exemptions. Passenger vehicles, on average, weigh about 3,000 pounds and stand five to six feet high. When the two vehicles collide, the passenger car rarely comes out on top – and when a truck crashes with a motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, the results can be catastrophic indeed.
- Regulations. Drivers of passenger cars must have valid drivers’ licenses, vehicle registrations, and insurance. Drivers of large trucks must have all of these, plus a valid commercial drivers’ license with endorsements for the load they carry, a Department of Transportation physical, and special training. The companies they drive for must meet additional requirements regarding driver screening and testing, vehicle maintenance, and more. One of the key steps to pursuing any truck accident case is to check that all regulations were followed.
- Multiple parties. Usually, the driver of a car that collides with another car is a private citizen who owns the vehicle they were driving. Truck drivers, however, are generally “on the job’ when they drive. Their employer, the company that owns the truck, the company that owns the trailer, and the company paying to move the trailer’s cargo may all be separate entities – and they may all share the liability for the crash.
- Higher stakes. Truck accident injuries are typically severe, and damage to passenger vehicles is usually irreparable. As a result, the bills are larger and the injured person’s needs are greater. With so much money on the line, you can count on the insurance companies to fight hard against a claim. Experienced assistance from an attorney may be needed to ensure all your current and future losses are covered by those responsible for the harm you suffered.
- Who May Be Liable for a Truck Accident
Trucking is a business. When a truck crashes into a passenger vehicle, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, there may be multiple parties who are responsible for the crash – and multiple insurance companies whose coverage may apply. Here are some of the most common parties involved in a truck accident:
- Truck drivers. The first question to ask in any truck crash is: “What was the trucker doing just before impact?” Distraction, drug use, fatigue, illness, inexperience, carelessness, and other factors may mean the trucker was at fault.
- Trucking companies. Most truckers drive for a trucking company or are independent owner-operators. The company is responsible for meeting a number of regulations when it comes to screening drivers, scheduling loads, and performing equipment maintenance, among other duties. Asking about the company’s role in the accident is essential to holding all potentially liable parties responsible.
- Equipment contractors. Some truck drivers or trucking companies rent the trailer, the truck, or both. If an equipment failure caused or contributed to the accident, it is crucial to determine who was responsible for maintenance and whether that responsibility was met.
- Manufacturers and designers of truck parts and equipment. A hidden defect in a vehicle part or piece of equipment may not be discovered until it causes harm, even if the truck received outstanding maintenance. When a defect causes harm, it is essential to determine the identity of the manufacturer or designer of the defective item.
- Shippers. Was the load adequately secured? Was it packed in accordance with all safety regulations – especially if it was hazardous in any way? Often, the shipper is responsible for these duties, not the driver. A shipper who fails to meet safety standards may be liable if the cargo contributes to injuries in a crash.
- How Our Lawyers Investigate Truck Crashes and Help Victims
Our first step in investigating any truck accident is to examine the details of the specific crash closely. From there, we can determine which parties might be at fault for the accident and begin to build a strong case that establishes your clear entitlement to compensation for your injuries and any disabilities or limitations they will impose on you in the future. We’ll fight for a fair settlement or we’ll take your claim to court if needed to secure the compensation you deserve.
After a serious crash, don’t wait. Contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at Edwards & Patterson as soon as possible. Although we are based in McAlester and Tulsa, we work tirelessly for clients throughout Oklahoma and Arkansas. Because we work on a contingency basis, you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation for you. Contact us today by phone or online for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Need Help with your Truck Accident Claim? Talk to a Dedicated Truck Accident Lawyer Now.
If you’ve been involved in a serious truck accident resulting in injuries, call a Edwards & Patterson truck accident lawyer. at Edwards & Patterson Law. We offer free case evaluations with no strings attached. Call us today at 877-761-5059 or contact us online. Our team takes will review your truck accident claim. Our firm takes cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay no attorney’s fees unless you recover monetary damages.