In a single moment, an Oklahoma City tractor-trailer accident can change your life. Every year, millions of Americans are injured in automobile accidents. Regardless of how safely you drive, a negligent truck driver can cause you serious injury. Following are tips on what to do if you are involved in an Oklahoma City semi truck accident:
Tips for tractor trailer accidents in Oklahoma
Stay calm and call 911: If you are in a tractor trailer accident in Oklahoma City it is important that you do not panic. If you have a cell phone, immediately call 911. Emergency services can quickly assist you, your passengers, and the other driver.
Seek medical attention: Regardless of how minor you may perceive your injuries to be, you must seek medical attention immediately. A doctor can assess your wounds and prevent smaller injuries from becoming worse. Additionally, if you plan on filing a lawsuit, your medical record will prove to be invaluable to your case. Your tractor trailer accident attorney in Oklahoma City will explain more.
Call an attorney: Second to seeing a doctor, calling a tractor trialer accident attorney in Oklahoma City is the most important decision you can make after being in a tractor-trailer accident in Oklahoma. First, an experienced attorney can negotiate with insurers. Many insurance companies will offer you a significantly low settlement in order to resolve the issue as cost-effectively as possible. A skilled tractor-trailer accident lawyer in Oklahoma City can preserve your best interests and help you receive just compensation. Additionally, your attorney can also hire investigators to collect evidence and reconstruct the accident. By using other expert witnesses, a knowledgeable lawyer can greatly increase the strength of your case.
Keep a journal: After the accident, you should start keeping a journal detailing your injuries on a daily basis. Make sure you note any changes in your condition. You should also write down any special events or work days you have missed as a result of your tractor trailer accident in Oklahoma City.
Commercial trucks are significantly larger than passenger vehicles and have a limited field of vision. As a result, accidents involving a truck and a passenger vehicle often result in catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths. For more information about trucking accidents in Oklahoma City, please see our frequently asked questions page.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Oklahoma City
Many factors can contribute to causing an Oklahoma City truck accident. Some of the most common causes include but are not limited to:
- A wheel coming off and hitting another vehicle or causing the truck to swerve into another vehicle
- Driver fatigue or sleeping at the wheel
- Unlicensed, improperly licensed, or inexperienced driver
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- An oversized, overweight, or improperly loaded cargo
- Driving too fast for road conditions or speeding
- Poorly maintained equipment, such as brakes, lights, reflectors, or other safety mechanisms
- Federal Regulation regarding Trucking Accidents
- Any vehicle engaged in interstate commerce must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
These requirements include but are not limited to:
- A driver may only drive 11 hours over any 14-hour period, followed by ten straight rest hours
- Drivers and trucking companies must maintain log books, fuel receipts, and other trip documentation for at least six months, and vehicle maintenance records for at least one year
- Employers must do a background check on each driver, including verifying the past three years of driving experience
- Maintain minimum insurance coverage, which varies between $750,000 and $5,000,000 depending on the type of cargo and size of the truck
Time is of the Essence when dealing with Oklahoma City truck accidents
Unfortunately, sometimes truck drivers and employers fail to comply with federal regulations, and many of these regulations are easy for drivers and their employers to adjust after an accident. For example, a trucking company might perform maintenance immediately following an accident to make it appear as though the vehicle had been maintained all along. Log books can also be altered or forged, especially if the accident happened because the driver was driving at a time he or she should have been resting. A knowledgeable Oklahoma City trucking accident attorney can investigate the circumstances of your accident to discover the true cause.
A growing trend is to place an electronic control module (ECM) or “black box” device inside trucks that records important information about the truck that could help prove your case. However, many of these devices only record information for a certain period, meaning that the data that would help your case may become lost. The trucking company could also potentially destroy the data.