Semi-truck Accident Attorney in Oklahoma
LEGAL HELP FOR OKLAHOMA TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS
The Sooner State is home to approximately 3.9 million residents — nearly two-thirds of which reside in the Tulsa or Oklahoma City metropolitan areas. Oklahoma is also home to beautiful, diverse landscapes, crisscrossed by three big interstate highways, including I-35, I-40, and Interstate 44. Scores of state highways and rural roads connect the smaller communities throughout the state — from Guymon in the northwest panhandle to Durant in the southeast.
Despite ranking 28th in total population, Oklahoma came in at number six in total trucking accident deaths in 2014 with 134. Oklahoma is a major producer in the energy and agricultural sectors, both of which employ the trucking industry for transportation. Large amounts of semi-trucks traverse Oklahoma roads and that means that there will always be a risk of trucking accidents. The majority (61 percent) of fatal trucking accident crashes occur in rural areas.
The problem with the amount of trucking accidents that occur in Oklahoma is that they are largely preventable and avoidable. When the unthinkable happens, you need a law firm that is ready to serve your best interest and meet with you in a timely manner. Our experienced injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your trucking accident case. No matter where you live in Oklahoma, we can visit you at your home, workplace, or at the hospital.
Oklahoma trucking accidents can cause severe injuries and even death to you or your loved ones. You have rights as an injured victim, and at Thomas J. Henry, our clients’ well-being — physically and financially — is of the utmost importance. We understand how difficult it can be after sustaining a life-altering injury and being unable to work as the medical bills continue to come in. We can advance court costs, litigation expenses, and advance you money for living and medical expenses interest free. You do not have to spend anything and you pay no attorney’s fees unless we win your trucking injury case.
We do this because we have the confidence in our experienced Oklahoma truck accident attorneys to continue our track record of excellence and achievement of record-breaking verdicts and settlements.
LEGAL RESOURCES TO WIN YOUR OKLAHOMA TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
Thomas J. Henry has the financial resources and experience to ensure your Oklahoma personal injury case is handled with efficiency and effectiveness. Our experienced trucking accident attorneys are vehemently dedicated to our clients’ needs and will take every measure necessary to make clients comfortable, informed, and in the best position to achieve the compensation they deserve.
- At every phase in your case, from the accident scene to the slam of a gavel, Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are there. No matter where you live in Oklahoma, our attorneys are accessible to you via satellite technology, live streaming, or in person via jet services. If you cannot make it to one of our offices, we can make it to you at your home, hospital, or workplace. Your case information is important, so we made sure that your injury attorney is equipped with technology that allows them to access your case files from anywhere in the world at the click of a mouse.
- Advanced technology
- Thomas J. Henry is intent on providing dynamic representation for our clients. That means employing the leading-edge solutions in case management, client interaction, and information security. When our truck accident attorneys have access to your case files, remotely, from anywhere in the nation, they can hold meetings, draft and review documents, and share files with legal professionals with ease. We don’t let accessibility impede on the security of your information. Your case files will remain protected and confidential. Period.
- Trucking expert witnesses
- Trucking experts serve as witnesses in commercial trucking litigation matters, providing experts reports and testimony for judges, attorneys, insurance companies, and government agencies in Federal and State court trials and arbitration. It is vital to find the right expert and the best expert witnesses for your case. Each expert witness we engage has been thoroughly examined and questioned before ever participating in your case. Our firm has spent a tremendous amount of time selecting only the best experts across the nation. We are continuously searching for new and intuitive ways to use experts in personal injury cases.
- Expert witnesses in a trucking accident case may include:
- Accident reconstructionists
- FMCSA compliance consultants
- Doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals
- Forensic engineers
- General equipment technical experts
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN A TRUCKING ACCIDENT?
After a trucking accident, you may be disoriented, confused, in pain, or a combination of other emotions and feelings. We understand how traumatic a trucking accident can be, especially if you were injured in the crash. However, it can be beneficial to your potential case if you follow these tips after being involving in a semi-truck accident:
- Stop immediately after the crash and assess the situation
- Accidents can be disorienting. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Make sure it is safe outside your vehicle before attempting to exit.
- Make the accident visible
- Use your vehicle hazard lights, set out reflectors, or use road flares to signal to other motorists that there is a crash scene approaching.
- Notify the police
- Contact your local police department or call 911 if there is an emergency. Filing a police report is an important step in filing insurance claims. Be sure that paramedics arrive on the scene to care for any injuries sustained in the crash.
- Record the facts and take pictures
- Speak with responding officers and be as accurate as possible, but do not speculate about facts surrounding the accident or any injuries you may have incurred. In addition, take pictures of damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, any injuries you or passengers suffered, or anything else that may help your case in the future.
- Gather and exchange information
- Collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses to the crash. Obtain the insurance information of all drivers involved, too.
- Seek medical attention
- Sometimes injuries or pain from the accident won’t become apparent until days after the crash. If you are uncertain if you suffered an injury, err on the side of caution and get a check-up from your physician.
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Contact your insurance company as soon as you can. As your claim is processed, keep a log of any medical expenses or crash-related expenses as well as any changes in health. Avoid speaking with other insurance companies or trucking company claims adjusters.
- Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer
- Attorneys are responsible for protecting your rights as an accident victims and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. Our attorneys will immediately work to obtain and preserve evidence from the accident, give you legal advice, and ensure you receive ample medical attention. Experienced Oklahoma trucking accident lawyers will make sure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire process and pursue every measure available to obtain the compensation you deserve.
ECM AND GPS DEVICES: WHY THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT
Electronic Control Modules (ECM) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are oftentimes found on commercial trucks or other vehicles regulated by the Department of Transportation. These devices can allow trucking injury attorneys to determine numerous facts related to an accident, including a truck’s movement, speed, and routes taken prior to the crash. Furthermore, ECM and GPS reveals the driving habits of the previous drivers of the particular commercial motor vehicle that was involved in the accident.
The acquisition of these devices is vital in determining fault and liability in Oklahoma 18-wheeler accident cases. Thomas J. Henry will immediately file a lawsuit and restraining order to obtain and secure these devices, and in addition, acquire all of the Federal Motor Carrier required documents for the driver. These documents include information about the driver’s employment with the trucking company.
WHO CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR TRUCKING ACCIDENTS?
Several parties could potentially be found negligent in a trucking accident, making these cases more complex than other accidents. Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are experienced in determining exactly which party is negligent in your case and who can be sued. Knowing who and where to sue is critical. In some cases, trucking injury victims may have grounds to recover actual and punitive damages, which can compensate them for all expenses, past and future, which have occurred since the accident.
At Thomas J. Henry, we have consistently demonstrated through massive use of experts, expansive discovery, and depositions how trucking drivers, trucking companies, and commercial vehicle manufacturers have caused life-altering injuries and deaths that were completely unnecessary and absolutely avoidable.
No matter if your trucking accident injury is caused by the negligence of the truck driver, trucking company, or vehicle manufacturer, our experienced injury attorneys have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past decades and have taken on the largest trucking companies in the world. We understand how companies and drivers are supposed to handle themselves in the owning and operation of commercial motor vehicles. Thousands of lives are lost each year due to trucking companies and drivers failing to abide by regulations and rules designed to keep other drivers safe.
COMMON CAUSES OF OKLAHOMA TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
Semi-truck accidents often cause injuries that are more serious than ordinary car accidents. This is largely because of the size and weight differential between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles. Tractor-trailers in the United States can haul up to 80,000 lbs., or 40 tons — an average passenger vehicle weighs roughly two tons.
When truck drivers ignore traffic laws, the consequences can be swift and deadly. Common causes of Oklahoma trucking accidents include:
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Oklahoma is well known for its inclement, stormy weather patterns. Its location in the United States makes it a ripe spot for tornado touchdowns, hail, and powerful thunderstorms.
- Improper loading/unsecured loads
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Truck drivers are prohibited from working with a blood alcohol level above .04, and they cannot carry alcohol or drugs with them in the cab.
- Improper lane changes
- Improper turns
- Following too closely
- The average stopping distance for a loaded semi-truck traveling at 55 mph is 196 feet, compared to 133 feet for a passenger vehicle. Adverse road conditions only further increases the potential of a trucking accident.
FEDERAL GUIDELINES HELP PREVENT OKLAHOMA TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
There are various federal trucking regulations and guidelines in place to help keep other drivers safe on the roadways. Problems occur when drivers and companies fail to comply with these rules, putting motorists at risk. Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains all of the rules and regulations pertaining to commercial motor vehicles and the people who operate them.
Commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDL holders are held to a higher standard and can lose their CDL certification by committing serious traffic violations. These are a few highlights of the requirements and regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers:
- Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
- To be eligible for a CDL, drivers must have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.
- Prior to obtaining a CDL, drivers must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and hold it for 14 days.
- In order to obtain a commercial learner’s permit, drivers must be cleared by a qualified medical examiner that they are physically able to operate a commercial vehicle.
- For commercial motor vehicle operators, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .04, compared to .08 for regular drivers.
- Truck drivers are banned from using handheld mobile phones while driving. Trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use handheld devices while driving.
- Drivers are prohibited from holding a CDL issued by more than one state or jurisdiction.
OKLAHOMA STATE TRUCKING REGULATIONS
A driver in intrastate commerce must be at least 18 years old, and those transporting hazardous waste materials required to be marked or placarded must be 21 years old.
Drivers are required to take and pass a general knowledge test (with at least an 80 percent or better). There are also specific tests for double and triple trailers, for vehicles with air brakes, tankers, and hazardous materials transport.
HOURS OF SERVICE REGULATIONS
One of the most important regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers is the Hours of Service (HOS) regulation. Property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,
- may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
- may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED OKLAHOMA TRUCKING ACCIDENT AND INJURY ATTORNEY
Every year in the United States, more than 100,000 people are injured in trucking accidents. Thomas J. Henry has assisted trucking accident victims from across the country obtain record-breaking verdicts and settlements and bring the largest trucking companies in the world to justice. When truck drivers and trucking companies fail to comply with safety regulations, the lives of you and your loved ones are put in jeopardy. If you were injured in a trucking accident in Oklahoma, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our Oklahoma truck accident attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your case.
Disclaimer: Any summary, description, or paraphrase of a regulatory requirement on this site is intended to provide general guidance only. Please consult the text of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a full account of the applicable requirements.