Commercial trucks play a crucial role in Oklahoma’s economy. However, they come with elevated risks due to their inherent hazards, often transporting dangerous materials. Also, their considerable size and weight magnify the severity of accidents, leading to increased costs and injuries. At Ylla | Gosney, our experienced Tulsa personal injury lawyers understand the gravity of such accidents. We have a proven track record in handling various types of truck accident claims and can provide the necessary support for your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.
What Makes Tulsa Truck Accidents So Challenging?While truck accidents are the same as any other vehicle accident in the eyes of Oklahoma law, the reality is that they are some of the most challenging incidents you can face. There are a variety of reasons for this, but typically revolve around the severity of accidents in terms of the impact they can have on you and your family. Then, there’s the nature of liability.
LiabilityThe first challenging aspect of truck accidents is determining liability. While the basic principle of liability remains the same–the party at-fault for causing the accident is responsible for the damages–truck accidents can involve multiple potentially liable parties:
- Truck driver – If the truck driver’s actions, such as speeding, driving under the influence, or reckless driving, contributed to the accident, they may be held liable.
- Employer – In many cases, the company that employs the truck driver can also be held liable. This is often based on the legal concept of “vicarious liability,” where the employer is responsible for the actions of their employees while on the job.
- Truck manufacturer – If a defect in the truck’s design or manufacturing played a role in the accident, the manufacturer of the truck might be held responsible.
- Cargo loading staff or company – If improper cargo loading or securement contributed to the accident, the company responsible for loading the cargo could be liable.
- Maintenance staff or company – If inadequate maintenance or repair work on the truck led to the accident, the maintenance company could bear some liability.
- Parts manufacturers – In the event of equipment failure, the manufacturer of the specific truck part responsible for the failure may be considered liable.
DamagesThe second challenging aspect of truck accidents, typically, are the resulting damages. Every accident is different, but these accidents frequently result in serious injuries and damage–particularly for you or other drivers in normal passenger vehicles. Not only do you have to deal with extensive medical care and treatment, it’s common to have your vehicle extremely damaged or outright totaled. On top of that, there’s the emotional and psychological impact of the accident. Thankfully, all of these are taken into account when trying to determine the extent of your damages. In a typical truck accident claim, these can include:
- Medical costs stemming from the accident.
- Income lost due to the accident.
- Loss of future income in cases of permanent injury.
- Expenses associated with vehicle or property damage.
- Physical and emotional distress.
- Psychological trauma resulting from the accident.
- Decreased quality of life and companionship.
- Injury-related scarring or disfigurement.
- Wrongful death expenses, in the event the accident is fatal
What is the Legal Process For a Tulsa Truck Accident?Your primary concern following a truck accident is your well-being and recuperation. Once you’re on the path to recovery with medical care and treatment, the next step is starting the claims process. The good news, at least in terms of your options, is that even with the severe nature of truck accidents, the claims process is the same as any other vehicle accident. Depending on the circumstances around your accident, the legal process will likely include the following steps (with the help of our team):
- Investigation – The first step involves our team investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and working to determine liability. This may include obtaining the truck’s black box data, reviewing records, and interviewing witnesses.
- Filing an insurance claim – Our team will negotiate with the responsible parties, such as the trucking company or their insurer, to seek a fair settlement for your injuries and damages.
- Filing a lawsuit – If a fair settlement can’t be reached through negotiation, we can proceed with filing a lawsuit on your behalf. This starts the formal legal process.
- Discovery – During the lawsuit, both sides gather evidence, exchange information, and depose witnesses.
- Mediation or settlement negotiations – Often, parties will engage in mediation or settlement discussions to resolve the case before it goes to trial.
- Trial – If the case doesn’t settle at mediation, it will likely go to trial. It’s here that our team presents your case, and a judge or jury decides the outcome.
Evidence in a Typical Tulsa Truck Accident ClaimEstablishing the extent of these losses is extremely important to how the claim process will play out. And in order to do that, you’ll need evidence. In a typical Tulsa truck accident claim, the following types of evidence are often crucial:
- Visual evidence – Photos and videos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and injuries can be powerful.
- Black box data – Many commercial trucks are equipped with electronic data recorders (EDRs), also known as “black boxes,” which can provide valuable information about the truck’s speed, braking, and other factors leading up to the accident.
- Medical records – Medical documentation, including records of injuries, treatments, and related expenses, is essential for demonstrating the extent of your injuries and the need for medical care.
- Eyewitness testimony – Statements from people who witnessed the accident can support your claim.
- Expert witness testimony – Testimony from experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals, can help explain complex aspects of the case.
- Driver logs – For commercial truck accidents, the driver’s logbooks can be important to determine if the driver exceeded hours of service regulations.
- Maintenance records – Records of the truck’s maintenance and repair history can reveal whether negligence in vehicle maintenance played a role in the accident.
- Phone records – In cases involving distracted driving, the truck driver’s cell phone records can be examined to determine if they were using their phone at the time of the accident.
- Employment records – The trucking company’s records can shed light on the driver’s employment history, training, and any past violations while driving for them.
- Weather and road conditions – Information about the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident can be relevant in demonstrating contributing factors.
- Prior violations – Any history of safety or traffic violations by the truck driver or the trucking company can be important in establishing a pattern of negligence.
- Reducing stress – We take the lead in handling the legal process for you, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being.
- Personalized guidance – We provide tailored legal advice and support, considering the unique circumstances of your case.
- Protecting your rights – We will safeguard your legal rights throughout the process, ensuring that you’re treated fairly.
- Experience – Our lawyers have experience with truck accident cases, making them well-equipped to navigate the specific challenges associated with these incidents.
- Compassion – We understand the emotional and physical toll of truck accidents and approach your case with empathy and care.