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Norman Truck Accident Lawyers

State and federal laws state that people with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must drive with greater care than others on the road. Unfortunately, not every commercial truck driver obeys the law, and serious truck accidents happen often, with 5,700 fatalities in 2021 alone.

If you or someone close to you was injured or killed in a truck accident recently, there may be several legal options to consider. One possibility is to file a lawsuit against the driver, employer, and other parties. Our Norman truck accident lawyers at Nix Patterson know how to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligence. Our lawyers are skilled at constructing robust, fact-based cases that result in significant settlements and verdict awards.

What You Need To Know About Norman Trucking Laws

The US trucking industry is governed by rules and laws set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The laws put forth by the FMCSA are intended to keep American roads safe when commercial drivers move goods across the country.

One of the most essential FMCSA rules for Norman and other parts of the state is the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. All commercial drivers who drive a truck weighing 10,001 pounds or more must follow state and federal HOS rules. They are as follows:

  • Driving limit of 11 hours: Truckers can only drive for up to 11 hours after being off duty for at least 10 hours.
  • Driving limit of 14 hours: Truckers cannot drive more than 14 hours consecutively after being off duty for 10 hours.
  • Required rest breaks: Drivers can only drive if eight hours or less have transpired since their last off-duty period.
  • Drivers cannot drive after being on duty for 60 hours for seven consecutive days or on duty for 70 hours after eight straight days.

If a trucker violates HOS rules and gets in an accident, this will be discovered during the investigation. Truckers and their employers must maintain driving logs that show how long the driver was on duty. Your attorney also can obtain data from the truck’s black box and find out if there was an HOS violation.

How Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents

A tractor-trailer accident may be exponentially worse than a car accident because of the enormous size of the commercial vehicle. If an 80,000-pound, 14-foot-long truck smashes into you at a stop sign, the resulting injuries may be devastating or fatal. The massive size difference between trucks and cars is why 97% of fatalities in truck accidents are in passenger vehicles.

Truck crash cases are also more complex than others. When a truck hits a smaller vehicle, injuries are usually more severe, which leads to more medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Figuring out a fair settlement for a truck crash requires an attorney with great skill and dedication, so hiring an experienced Norman truck accident attorney is vital to your future.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

The FMCSA has conducted intensive studies into the reasons for commercial truck accidents. The following are some of the most common causes of these severe crashes:

Driver Fatigue and Hours of Service Violations

Many truck drivers are compensated by the mile, so they are pressured to drive longer and farther. Some truckers don’t care about hour-of-service laws that say they must take breaks or only drive a certain number of hours. When drivers are behind the wheel longer than they should be, they can fall asleep and cause horrific crashes.

Distracted Driving and Cell Phone Usage

Long hours on Oklahoma’s open roads can lead to tedium and driver distraction for any driver. But if a truck driver is distracted, it’s hazardous. If a trucker takes his eyes from the road to answer a text or change the radio for just a moment, people can be severely injured or killed.

Impaired Driving (Alcohol, Drugs)

The FMCSA states that a truck driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) cannot exceed .04%, which is half of the limit for other motorists. Federal law also bans truckers from drinking alcohol within four hours of driving a commercial truck. They also may not drink when on duty, whether driving or not.

Poorly Maintained Vehicles and Equipment

Tractor trailers, dump trucks, and other commercial vehicles can cause devastating damage to smaller vehicles in an accident. They must be properly maintained to reduce the chances of accidents. State and federal laws state truckers and their employers must carefully maintain their rigs.

Drivers should inspect their trucks before hitting the road, and if there is a problem, it must be fixed before they drive. Sadly, many fatal truck accidents could have been prevented if the trucker and employer had correctly maintained the brakes, tires, and other critical components.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

Truckers are in a hurry to get to their destination, and that can cause them to drive too aggressively and speed. Unsafe driving habits such as speeding, improper lane changes, and following too closely can result in serious accidents that harm other motorists.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

The forces in a truck accident are often much more significant than in other motor vehicle accidents. The massive steel frame of the cab and trailer puts all smaller vehicles at serious risk in a crash. Plus, the braking times of an 80,000-pound truck are much longer than other vehicles. The size and weight of trucks often cause terrible injuries in accidents, including:

  • Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Serious or fatal burns
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Amputation injuries
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Broken bones

Some truck accidents are so severe that the injured are riddled with catastrophic injuries. An injury is catastrophic when it prevents the victim from returning to their earlier state of health. For instance, if a truck slams into you in Norman and damages your spinal cord, you could have permanent injuries. This is a catastrophic injury that could affect you for life, requiring hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of medical care.

The Legal Process in Truck Accident Cases

The legal process in truck accident cases is often slow. The accident investigation, settlement negotiations, and potential lawsuit can take months or years. The reason the process may be drawn out is there are several stages in the process in Oklahoma:

  • Investigating the truck accident: This involves extensive fact-finding and collecting evidence of damages and liability. Your attorney will likely rely on accident investigators and other experts to investigate how the accident happened and prove who is liable.
  • Filing the legal complaint: Your Norman truck accident lawyer will prepare and file the allegations against the defendant and demand compensation for your losses. Potential defendants could be the truck driver, the employer, the truck manufacturer, the company that maintained the vehicle, and others.
  • Serving the defendant: The liable parties must be served and receive a copy of the lawsuit.
  • Answer: The defendant has a certain amount of time to file an answer to the lawsuit and state their defenses.
  • Discovery: This is where the plaintiff and defendant exchange critical documents and information related to the truck crash.
  • Mediation: The court could order mediation if a settlement isn’t reached. This is where a neutral third party attempts to mediate a resolution that works for both sides. The court could order mediation before going to trial.
  • Trial: Most truck accident cases are resolved during settlement negotiations or mediation. If not, the case will go to trial for a jury to decide.

Your truck accident attorney will inform you of the status and progress of your case. It’s understandable to become impatient, but the case may take months or years. Your attorney will advise you every step of the way and recommend whether to take a settlement offer or demand more.

Proving Liability and Negligence in Truck Accident Cases

After a truck accident in Norman near Reaves Park or Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, accident investigators, police, insurance adjusters, and lawyers will determine who is liable. Several elements must be demonstrated to show that another party was negligent in the truck accident:

  • Duty of care: Truckers and their employers must obey the rules of the road and avoid dangerous actions that could harm other motorists and pedestrians. Also, trucking companies can only hire qualified, well-trained drivers and ensure the vehicles are safely maintained.
  • Breach: Truckers may violate the duty of care by texting and driving, speeding, driving recklessly, or driving when tired or intoxicated. The trucking company could also breach its duty of care by not properly screening and training its drivers.
  • Injuries: You also must prove that the accident caused your injuries. This can be proven by your doctor’s medical report and treatment plan.
  • Losses: Last, you must prove that you have losses related to the injuries, such as lost earnings, medical bills, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.

Truck Accident Statute of Limitations in Norman, OK

Truck accidents are frequently severe and require plenty of compensation for the injured victim. However, you could be barred from compensation if you wait too long to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Oklahoma, you have only two years from the date of the injury to file your lawsuit. Contacting a Nix Patterson truck crash attorney immediately in Norman is imperative to ensure total compensation for your injuries.

Types of Compensation Available for Your Norman Truck Accident

Your attorney proving that another party was negligent for the trucking accident could lead to the following types of compensation for your losses:

  • Economic damages: These are quantifiable losses that you incurred for your injuries. They include past, current, and future medical bills, rehabilitation, and past and future lost earnings.
  • Non-economic damages: This is subjective compensation for your pain and suffering and can vary widely. How much you get for pain and suffering depends on the severity of injuries, your attorney’s skills, and other factors.
  • Punitive damages: If a truck driver is especially reckless, you could receive punitive damages to punish them. For instance, if the trucker was highly drunk and injured you, punitive damages could be awarded.

Contact An Experienced Norman Truck Accident Lawyer Now

It’s sobering to think that the driver behind the wheel of a huge tractor-trailer could drive so carelessly to injure and kill others. However, truck accidents happen every day across Oklahoma, and thousands of people suffer traumatic injuries that scar them for life.

If a negligent truck driver injured you in our community, you should hold the at-fault parties accountable for their actions. Our Norman truck accident lawyers at Nix Paterson are ready to fight for your rights and the most compensation. Please contact us for a free truck accident case consultation, and remember that you don’t pay us unless we win.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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