Liability For Truck Accidents in Oklahoma is determined using more then a normal police report. Claims involving truck collisions are vastly more complicated compared to passenger car crashes. Injuries in truck accidents tend to be more severe. Companies with deep pockets don’t make matters easy for their victims. This makes it imperative to consult with an 18-wheeler truck accident attorney that has extensive experience in dealing with these types of cases.
Special Rules For Trucks On Oklahoma Highways
Truck accidents are governed by a different set of law then is a normal vehicle accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs truck accidents in the United States and this of course includes Oklahoma. The Federal Administration sets out guidelines that are intended to make our highways safer from accidents involving big rigs. The Federal administration enforces the regulations through a series of different measures. This includes road side inspections and logs required to be carried by all truck drivers. When a person is involved with a truck accident these records are considered important and help assign liability in many cases.
Truck Drivers Themselves May Be At Fault
If the driver of the semi-truck itself fails to comply with FMCSA regulations he or she will be held liable. Other basis’s for liability include failure to abide by State and Municipal rules of the road. Examples include failure to yield, speeding, failure to stop or reckless driving. Violations of local traffic laws lead to the Trucking company being liable for injures to you and casualty damage to your vehicle. .
Trucking Companies May Also Be Liable
If the maintenance logs required for each truck are not kept this creates liability for the company itself. Additionally, if the Trucking Company forces its drivers on to the road in excess of the maximum hours allowed the company will be held liable for that as well. If the Trucking company itself violates rules set out by FMCSA it will also be held liable in addition to that of the driver.
The trucking company is also required to do background checks on its drivers. If they employ drivers with a safety background that should have given the Trucking Company notice of unsafe practices of its drivers it will also be held liable. An example of this is found if the driver has a criminal record related to known drug use or violations of other laws related to safety.
Truck Manufacturer May Be Liable.
The manufacturer may be held responsible for accidents that take place because of a defective truck or its parts. This type of liability is called a products liability claim. If a manufacture puts in to commerce a product that when used as intended causes injuries because of the defect the manufacturer is held responsible. An example of this is the Ford Pinto accident of many years ago. In this case Ford Motor Company was found to have negligently manufactured the Ford Pintos gas tank. This caused an injury and the company was found at fault.
Loading Companies Can Be At Fault
Truck accidents can occur when the cargo spills out of it. In this case, liability for truck accidents in Oklahoma is on the loader when they are negligent. Its not unusual for a semi truck to have its cargo loaded by an independent or contract loader. If the loader fails to use care in loading threat company is also on the hook for injures. This is even though the driver of the truck itself should take the time to inspect his load. But if he does and fails to find the unsafe loads this doesn’t relieve the loader of potential liability.
Oklahoma Hours-of-Service Regulations
All commercial drivers are required to comply with the hours-of-service regulations if they are operating trucks that are transporting hazardous substances or that weigh 10,001 pounds or more. Some of the regulations are as follows:
· Driving Limit: There is an 11-hour driving limit for truck drivers. And, this is only after they have had 10 successive hours off duty. They may not drive for more than 14 hours as well after coming on duty.
· Rest Breaks: All truck drivers in Oklahoma operating big rigs are required to take mandatory rest breaks. They need to take rest breaks after every 8 hours of driving for at least 30 minutes.
· Hour Limit: Truck drivers are not allowed to drive for more than 60/70 hours in 7/8 successive days. Drivers are allowed to restart their 7/8 successive day period only when they have taken 34 or more successive hours off duty.
Proving Liability in Trucking Accidents
As you can tell from this blog post proving liability on the part of the Trucking company requires access to a multitude of different information. The trick is knowing what information is needed to prove your case and how to get it. Many times this requires a subpoena be issued to the company and if the Truck is in a Tow Yard the Tow yard itself. Below sets out a sample of the information we use in truck accident cases:
· Logs of truck for service hours
· Truck driver’s personnel file
· Truck maintenance and inspection records
· Truck’s black box data
· Truck company’s hiring process
· Fuel receipts
· Toll both receipts
· Dashcam recordings
· Bill of lading
· Cell phone records of truck driver
· Surveillance footage
· Police reports
Tulsa Lawyers Proving Liability For Truck Accidents in Oklahoma
Liability in Oklahoma truck accidents is different then it is in a normal car or motorcycle accident. The key is knowing what to ask for and who to ask. Also, understanding what insurance is available, what the policy limits are and who to get it from is important. If you’ve been in a truck accident we can help. Our Tulsa personal injury lawyers have the experience you want and know how to maximize the award to you. We understand the tricks the insurance company’s use as tools to pay you less. Call Kania Law office for a free case evaluation.918-743-2233 or use our online form. As always you don’t pay a thing unless we get you money.