The majority of the time a tractor trailer is involved in a multi-vehicle accident, it is the fault of the other driver, but there are times when a driver of a big truck can be responsible too. The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration announced that latest highway fatality numbers involving trucks have decreased but still claimed over 34,247 lives, and combination trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 5.8 percent. Traffic data for Oklahoma in 2017 revealed 655 fatal highway accidents where 131 involved trucks.
If you are involved in an accident with a tractor trailer in Tulsa Oklahoma, you should:
- Check on the condition of the people involved in the accident;
- Call the police or emergency responders if needed;
- Get a written accident report;
- Remain at the accident scene;
- Exchange driver and insurance information;
- Get witness contact information;
- Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
- Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
- Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
- If the truck is a Commercial Vehicle, get State Trooper report;
- Do not make any statements regarding the fault or liability at the scene or when making a complaint;
- Call an accident attorney to determine “fault” and actions toward a proceeding to address damages and injuries sustained.
State and Federal law.
Oklahoma and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have specific insurance requirements for semis. If you have your own authority, some coverages are mandatory, like primary liability. If you are leased to a motor carrier, you may be looking for physical damage truck insurance, bobtail coverage, and non-trucking liability.
Oklahoma is an at-fault state, meaning drivers face financial liability after an accident if it is determined they are to blame. According to the Oklahoma Insurance Commission, all drivers are state mandated to carry a certain amount of vehicle insurance in the event of an accident. If you are involved in an accident where the at fault driver is uninsured or does not have enough insurance to cover the cost of your injuries, your own insurance may be able to help. The pros in an “at-fault” insurance state is: 1) reckless drivers are held accountable for their actions, and 2) prevention of insurance premiums increasing when drivers are involved in accidents where they are not to blame. The cons of an “at-fault” insurance state is: 1) the amount of time spent determining liability after an accident may delay settlement and funding necessary for certain treatments in personal injury and car replacement, and 2) compensation for damages and injuries may be limited if the other driver is under-insured or not insured at all.
The truck driver, truck manufacturer or the trucking company can be sued for damages, especially if the accident was impacted by:
- Improper Maintenance
- Driver Fatigue
- Distracted Driving
- Commercial Company Negligence
- Unsecured Loads
- Driving in Extreme Weather
- Malfunction in truck components
If the insurance claim does not cover all losses, two types of damages that victims can sue for include: 1) compensatory damages which are those damages causing economic (loss of wages, medical bills, and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering); and 2) punitive damages meant to punish the persons being sued (Defendants).
Hire an Attorney.
Hiring a legal profession to assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data that will determine fault is very important. Determining the percentage of fault is a matter for those who have reviewed police reports, witness reports, car damages, roadway marks and other factors present at the time of the accident. Seeking effective legal counsel who have experience in truck accident cases is in your best interests to get the proper attention to your case, and damages to your individual situation.