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5 Things to Know About Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Posted on: November 11, 2016 by Edwards & Patterson Law

tractor-trailer accidents

The first thing you need to know about tractor-trailer accidents is that the issue of liability is complicated. Due to the additional risks of injury or death, there are a number of federal laws concerning the manufacture, leasing, operating, and loading of tractor-trailers. So, when it comes to liability, it is much more difficult to determine who exactly is at fault. Oklahoma is an agricultural state, which also means that tractor-trailer accidents are much more frequent than in many other states. If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, it is important to know how to navigate the complicated process of filing a personal injury claim. Here are five things you need to know about tractor-trailer accidents, which will increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

Establishing Liability

Liability may lie with an individual or multiple parties. It is often the case that each party will attempt to lay blame at the doorstep of one or more of the other involved parties. Meanwhile, you are left caught up in a long drawn-out process, where you are struggling to pay your medical costs while you wait for a decision on your personal injury claim. Establishing liability is further complicated as supporting documents are required for any claims made by relevant parties.

Duty of Care

All drivers have a duty of care under federal law; however, truck and tractor-trailer drivers are subject to much stricter adherence under the law. Accidents involving any type of large vehicle are much more likely to result in serious injury or death. Therefore, if negligence on the part of the driver is proven beyond any reasonable doubt, you have a solid case for a personal injury claim.

Driving Regulations

All tractor-trailer drivers must possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In order to hold a CDL, the driver must pass additional tests which demonstrate an acceptable understanding of and ability to operate commercial vehicles. CDL license holders are also required to keep a detailed log of time spent in the driving seat, as well as any incidents experienced within each time period. Some tractor-trailers are fitting with logging software which tracks the vehicle’s movements to ensure that driver records are accurate.

Driver Fatigue

A large percentage of tractor-trailer accidents are attributed to driver fatigue, according to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Although drivers are restricted to 11 hours per shift and no more than 77 hours over seven days, drivers are ignoring the law. Given that large vehicles have much longer stopping times than cars, a driver needs to remain alert at all times. It is for this reason that it is vitally important that you are able to use the driver’s log book in any claim of negligence.

Fatalities

In a high percentage of cases, the driver of the tractor-trailer is to be among any fatalities. Although the loss of any life is tragic, you are still entitled to compensation as an injured party. If there is evidence to suggest that the driver was at fault, it will affect your case. In order to pursue compensation, you will have to prove negligence on the part of another party. However, without extensive knowledge of the law, you will have a fight on your hands.

Despite the hurdles you will face, you can win a personal injury claim if you were involved in a tractor-trailer accident. The personal injury attorneys of Edwards-Patterson have an expert team of researchers who are at your disposal. We can provide you with a free consultation today, when you call us at out Tulsa or McAlester offices.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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