Truck accidents are often catastrophic in nature, resulting in serious injuries to the individuals involved. If you’re facing the financial burdens associated with costly medical bills and lost wages while you recover, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you recover compensation from all negligent parties.
Oklahoma uses the doctrine of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. This means that your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you and if you’re determined to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to recover compensation at all. Therefore, proving that the truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence caused your injuries is extremely important.
There are a variety of ways a truck driver or trucking company can act negligently, resulting in a serious truck accident. The attorneys at Johnson & Biscone will investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident in order to prove negligence. In some instances, multiple parties may be held liable for your injuries.
While the five causes of negligence listed below aren’t exhaustive, they are some of the most common ways a truck driver or trucking company contribute to the cause of an accident.
Due to the widespread use of mobile devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem in recent years. Truck drivers engage in this behavior as often as other drivers, but the consequences are often much more dire due to the excessive size of these vehicles.
Any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road is considered to be a distraction. Some of the most common examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving
- Browsing the Internet on your phone
- Using a GPS device to get directions
- Eating and drinking
- Using a CB radio to communicate with other truck drivers
If a truck driver engages in any of these actions and it contributes to causing an accident, he may be held liable for your injuries. In some instances, there can be clear evidence demonstrating that the truck driver was distracted at the time of the accident. Our lawyers will examine the driver’s cell phone records to see if he was using it immediately before the collision.
Drug and Alcohol Use
Driving while intoxicated is never a good idea, but this is especially dangerous when it occurs while operating an 80,000-pound vehicle. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol use are a common occurrence with truck drivers, resulting in significant impairment in their ability to safely operate such a massive vehicle.
Amphetamines and similar stimulant drugs are some of the most commonly abused substances by truck drivers. These drugs are typically used to ward off truck driver fatigue, but this jolt of energy is offset by the impairment in ability experienced by the driver.
Truck drivers must be held responsible for the substances they consume while working. However, the trucking company may also be negligent if they fail to administer drug tests to their drivers on a regular basis. They can also be found negligent if they continue to employ a driver who has received citations for driving while intoxicated.
Truck Driver Fatigue
If you’ve ever taken a long road trip alone, you know how exhausting it can be. Imagine doing this every day. It can be a truly grueling lifestyle. This is the reality for many truck drivers.
To make matters worse, trucking companies regularly impose unrealistic deadlines for their drivers to meet. This often forces truck drivers to stay on the road long after they’ve become exhausted and aren’t fully alert.
In order to combat the hazards associated with truck driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created hours of service regulations which limit the amount of time a truck driver can spend behind the wheel. While all truck drivers must adhere to these laws, they are commonly violated in order to meet the tight delivery schedules imposed by trucking companies.
After your truck accident, our lawyers will examine the truck driver’s log book and compare it with the following documents to identify any signs that an hours-of-service violation occurred:
- Fuel receipts
- Toll tickets
- Times on bills of loading and other load identification documents
- Point-to-point mileage distance
- Scale tickets
An hours-of-service violation is a clear sign of negligence on the part of the truck driver.
Unsafe or Careless Driving
The likelihood of an accident always increases when drivers act carelessly or ignore the rules of the road. When a truck driver fails to maintain safe driving practices, it constitutes negligence. These actions include:
- Failing to check blind spots when changing lanes
- Failing to make sure there is enough time to safely turn into oncoming traffic
- Driving faster than is safe for adverse road and weather conditions
- Running stop signs or red lights
Negligent Hiring and Vehicle Maintenance
One of the things that make truck accident cases more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents is that there are more parties that can potentially be found negligent. One of these is the trucking company. While the negligent actions of a trucking company don’t directly cause the accident, they can be a contributing factor. By seeking to hold the trucking company liable as well, you have a greater likelihood of maximizing your compensation.
Some of the ways in which a trucking company’s negligence may contribute to the cause of your accident include:
- Inadequate vetting of truck driver candidates during the hiring process
- Failure to provide the proper training and support for new drivers
- Failure to regularly review the performance of drivers or to require periodic drug tests
- Failure to ensure trucks are properly maintained
- Careless loading of truck cargo
Contact our Oklahoma City Truck Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at Johnson & Biscone have over 90 years of combined experience handling truck accident cases in the Oklahoma City area. We will work with a team of investigators in order to identify signs that the driver, trucking company or another third party was negligent. This experience and attention to detail is crucial in helping you maximize the value of your compensation.
Please contact Johnson & Biscone using the form on this page or call 405-232-6490 today to schedule your complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman and the surrounding areas of Oklahoma.