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