Causes of Truck Accidents in Oklahoma City
Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys Fight for Full Compensation
If a truck accident has resulted in serious injury to you or a loved one, you need to understand how the accident happened and who is at fault in order to seek restitution for your losses. The knowledgeable truck accident attorneys at the Cain Law Office will work diligently to identify and hold negligent parties accountable for the harm they have caused you and your family.
There are several parties involved in the operation of commercial trucks, also known as tractor-trailers, transfer trucks, 18-wheelers, or “big rigs.” After an accident, our investigation may point to the truck driver, the trucking company (or motor carrier), the shipper, the broker, the truck manufacturer or manufacturers of parts and components, or others as negligent and responsible for the crash. However, without an independent investigation, you may never know what caused the crash.
Our Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers have more than 20 years’ experience successfully investigating commercial truck accidents and securing maximum compensation for victims. Attorney Monty Cain is a member of APITLA, an association of accomplished attorneys across the nation committed to victims injured in trucking collisions. He has personally been recognized by the National Association of Top 100 Trial Lawyers and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for recovering millions of dollars for deserving clients.
We Have Investigated Truck Accidents Like the One You Were Injured In
Each truck accident is unique, but the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accidents that occur around Oklahoma City on Interstate 40, I-44, I-35, and elsewhere have common features. By gathering a variety of evidence related to a crash, and through our own experts’ analysis, we can determine why a truck accident occurred and who should be held accountable.
Based on our 20 years of experience with crash investigations ─ and truck accident statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ─ we know several reasons why truck and other CMV accidents occur.
Among the more common causes of commercial truck accidents are:
- Speeding. As is the case with all drivers, speeding is the most common reason a truck driver gets into an accident. Driving above the speed limit or too fast for conditions (e.g., rain, fog, etc.) makes it more difficult to stop or slow down in time to avoid a collision, particularly in congested traffic. Taking a curve, turn, or an incline / decline (such as on a freeway ramp) too fast can cause a trucker to lose control and sideswipe another vehicle, or even jackknife or tip and get into a rollover accident.
- Fatigue or drowsy driving. Fatigued driving is a controversial and ongoing concern in the trucking industry. It’s well known that the long hours truckers work can lead to disruption of normal sleep/rest cycles and sleep deprivation. Federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations adopted by the FMCSA strictly regulate how long truck drivers may legally remain behind the wheel and when and for how long they must rest. However, the IIHS has conducted surveys in which truck drivers readily admit violating regulations and regularly driving longer than permitted despite potential fatigue. Some do so because their employers push them to meet unreasonable delivery deadlines. Others may keep rolling when they should rest for personal reasons, like wanting to stay ahead of impending bad weather, get through city traffic before rush hour, or simply get home.
- Distracted driving. In addition to Oklahoma’s ban on texting while driving, the FMCSA prohibits texting and all use of hand-held cellphones while operating commercial motor vehicles. Still, the problem persists and leads to crashes, just as texting while driving and other forms of distraction cause accidents among negligent passenger vehicle drivers. The FMCSA’s most recent statistics cited “distraction/inattention” as the second most common cause of large truck accidents resulting from at least one driver-related factor.
- Drugged and drunk driving. Because commercial truck drivers are subjected to strict testing, drunk driving accidents are rare in the trucking industry. The bigger problem among long-haul truck drivers is the use of illicit drugs. This includes using stimulants like amphetamines, methamphetamine (“meth”), or cocaine to stay awake, as well as recreational marijuana use. Certain prescribed and over-the-counter drugs can also cause adverse reactions, such as drowsiness, which lead to impaired driving accidents.
- Vehicle failure. The FMCSA’s most recent statistics say vehicle-related factors contributed to 6 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks. A 2010 study cited by the IIHS says post-crash inspections of trucks indicated that almost 55 percent had at least one mechanical problem that violated FMCSA regulations, and almost 30 percent had at least one condition serious enough that the vehicle should have immediately been taken off the road (“out of service”). The truck parts or components most likely to fail are the tires, brake system, powertrain, wheels, coupling system, and lighting. Trucks fail due to lax maintenance or because parts and systems are faulty when manufactured.
- Cargo shifts and spills. Heavy cargo in a commercial truck that is improperly loaded and/or not secured can shift and possibly break free if the truck stops quickly, makes a sharp or fast turn, bumps up onto a curb, or otherwise abruptly changes speed or direction. The sudden movement of cargo can change the truck’s center of gravity, which may lead to the driver losing control of the vehicle and crashing. A sudden cargo shift could cause a truck to tip and roll over, or to jackknife. Spilled cargo may hit other vehicles or cause accidents as drivers swerve to avoid hitting debris. Hazardous materials spills can cause widespread property damage, including fouling waterways, as well as personal injuries and expensive cleanups.
Of course, most truck and other CMV accidents are caused by driver error, as are all motor vehicle accidents. In addition to the factors cited above, many truck accidents are caused by such carelessness and recklessness as:
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Unsafe or illegal maneuvers, such as improper passing or lane changes, running stop signs or red lights, failing to yield right of way, etc.
- Inadequate surveillance, i.e., not looking for and recognizing potential hazards, such as an oncoming vehicle
Motor carriers can be held liable for negligent entrustment of their tractor-trailers to unqualified drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations dictate that a driver must meet several requirements before he or she can operate a commercial motor vehicle. The motor carrier has a duty to make sure the drivers it hires to drive commercial vehicles are qualified and meet the safety requirements.
Motor carriers, which own the commercial trucks and employ the truckers in most accidents, will move fast after a crash to protect their financial interests. They may “lose” evidence or make quick settlement offers to the injured, which ultimately cheat the victims and prevent them from ever obtaining the compensation they need and deserve. Meanwhile, independent truckers, typically protected from serious injury in an accident by their large trucks, may simply disappear.
Don’t let a trucking company’s lawyers and insurers deny you proper payment for your losses. Contact our experienced Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys today.
Contact Cain Law Office About Your Truck Accident Claim
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in the Oklahoma City area, contact the Cain Law Office today for experienced legal assistance. We will respond promptly and begin investigating to determine who should be held liable for your medical expenses and other losses.
Cain Law Office has developed an Immediate/Rapid Response Team to preserve evidence and investigate your claim by:
- Meeting with the investigating officer or trooper
- Gathering statements from witnesses and first responders
- Obtaining accident reports, 911 calls, first-responder reports, photographs and videos of the vehicles and the scene
- Working with our accident reconstruction expert to document evidence at the scene, such as skid marks and gouges in the roadway, as well as inspection of the vehicles involved
- Downloading black box data from the vehicles
- Sending a letter to the driver, motor carrier, and insurance company to preserve all evidence related to the collision, including the driver’s cellphone and Hours of Service logs
We investigate truck accidents and pursue personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us unless we recover compensation for you. Commercial motor vehicle collisions are expensive to pursue, and it can cost tens of thousands to hold the semi driver and motor carrier responsible for your injuries and damages. First, meet with us during a free, no-obligation consultation about your accident, injuries, and legal options.
Our objective is to help you make the decisions that are best for you and your future. That includes assisting you with your immediate needs, such as obtaining proper medical care and vehicle repairs.
Contact the Cain Law Office today. We can meet with you at our law firm offices or at your home, hospital room, or wherever you prefer.