Oklahoma City Semi Truck Accident Lawyer
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Accidents have many causes, and different circumstances and factors all make each accident unique. Truck accidents can be especially different from other types of accidents due to the shape and size of many commercial trucks.
Those who suffer injuries in truck accidents or who have loved ones who are involved in truck accidents should seek assistance from a seasoned attorney if they are considering filing a lawsuit. An experienced Oklahoma City truck accident lawyer could provide the kind of legal assistance that you may need following a truck accident, as they are familiar with truck accidents and can understand the nuances of your case.
Truck Accident Basics and Oklahoma Law
Commercial truck accidents may often occur in different situations than car wrecks. For example, truck accidents commonly happen in the following situations:
- When another vehicle is passing a truck in an adjacent traffic lane, or vice versa
- When a truck is changing lanes
- When a truck is entering or exiting a highway or freeway, such as on an entrance or exit ramp
- When a truck is stopped or disabled on the road
Due to the increased size of commercial trucks, truck drivers may not be able to see other vehicles during lane changes or passing attempts, which may increase the risk of accidents. Additionally, large trucks often increase and decrease the speed at a slower rate than other vehicles, making the entrance and exit ramps potentially dangerous. The size of a commercial truck may also physically block roadways if such a truck is stopped or disabled, resulting in a potential obstacle for other drivers.
Potentially Liable Parties in a Truck Accident
Individuals who are injured in a truck accident may be able to collect compensation from multiple parties depending on their situation, including the truck driver, the owner of the truck, the truck manufacturer, and/or the company or entity owning any cargo being shipped by the truck.
For example, a truck driver involved in an accident may only be responsible for operating the truck, but not owning it. In such a situation, an injured person may also be able to claim damages against the truck owner, especially in instances where the accident may be due to an issue with the truck itself. Another potentially liable party may be the company owning any hauled cargo, especially if that cargo contributed to the accident.
In any of the above scenarios, the injured individual may be able to name several defendants in a lawsuit. Generally, under Oklahoma Statutes §12-832, each individual defendant must contribute a pro-rated share of any damages they caused. An Oklahoma City truck accident attorney could help a person decide which parties may be liable for injuries or damage.
Limitations on Truck Accident Lawsuits
In Oklahoma City, those who suffered injuries in truck accidents have the option to file a civil suit for damages and compensation. However, they must file a claim within a two-year deadline.
Additionally, Oklahoma state law sets a general cap for any non-economic damages in a civil suit, such as general pain and suffering as the result of a truck accident. Non-economic damages are limited to a maximum of $350,000.
Oklahoma Truck Accident Statistics
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety contains an agency called the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO). OHSO releases an annual report on Oklahoma truck accident statistics. According to a 2013 OHSO report, a total of 5,182 large truck crashes were reported that year. Large trucks were defined to include:
- Single unit trucks with two or more axles
- Trucks over 10,000 pounds
A total of 90 accidents (about 1.7 percent) were fatal, resulting in 98 deaths. More than 1,300 nonfatal injuries were also reported, nearly 200 of which were incapacitating. A total of 1,265 crashes – about one quarter — occurred on interstate highways, slightly fewer than the 1,473 crashes (28.4 percent) which took place on city streets. Statistically speaking, August was the most dangerous month for crashes, while accidents were most likely to occur on Tuesdays.
In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, OHSO reported 5,155 large truck crashes, a slight decrease from 2013. However, the number of fatal accidents remained virtually unchanged, actually increasing slightly from 90 to 91 (about 1.8 percent). These 91 fatal accidents caused 118 deaths, an increase of nearly two per month on average from the previous year. Another 239 people sustained incapacitating injuries. An additional 788 minor or moderate injuries were also reported.
On the federal level, vehicular accidents are monitored and studied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which reported that large trucks — vehicles with a gross weight above 10,000 pounds — were involved in about 342,000 crashes in 2013. Collectively, these crashes were responsible for 3,964 deaths and close to 100,000 injuries.
The majority of those who were killed — about 71 percent of the victims — were not truck occupants, but the drivers or passengers of other vehicles. As an Oklahoma City truck accident lawyer can explain, about 17 percent were truck occupants, while about 11 percent were pedestrians, cyclists, or other non-occupants of any vehicle. If you have any questions about Oklahoma bus statistics, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney today.
Oklahoma City Truck Accident Attorney Could Help
Truck accidents have the potential to be more serious than car accidents since trucks are often heavier and longer than comparable cars. If you need legal help after being in a truck accident, you should make sure that your lawyer has experience dealing with truck accidents.
An Oklahoma City truck accident lawyer could look at the facts of your accident and help you decide exactly what to do next. If you are injured in an accident with a commercial truck, call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.