Accident With a Large Truck or 18-wheeler? We Can Help.
Every motor vehicle accident has the potential to take a devastating toll physically, emotionally, and financially. Accidents uproot the lives of not only the victims involved but also their families. You are now faced with the reality of paying for stacks of medical bills, lost wages, and life-changing injuries that change the victims forever.
Trucking accidents are much different than car accidents, can be especially costly in dollars, and result in the loss of independence, ability to work, and in severe cases, loss of life. The severity of a motor vehicle accident can be multiplied when a truck or 18-wheeler is involved due to its size and weight.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it’s important to know that you don’t have to face this difficult time alone. You have rights, and the Oklahoma City trucking accident lawyers are here to help you fight for the financial compensation you need.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle-related accidents claimed the lives of 36,096 people in 2019. Losing a loved one in a truck accident is devastating. While you can’t bring a loved one back, you can take action to hold the negligent party responsible and recover financial compensation to help pay for medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. At Abel Law Firm, our Oklahoma City injury lawyers are here to help you take legal action against truck drivers and trucking companies for their irresponsible actions. Contact us today at (405) 239-7046 and schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Table Of Contents
- You Should Hire An Oklahoma City Trucking Accident Attorney
- What You Should Do If You Sustain Injuries In A Truck Accident
- Abel Law Firm Can Investigate Your Case to Determine the Compensation You Deserve
- Compensation You Could Pursue from the Truck Driver or Trucking Company
- Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Understanding Vehicle Weight and Stopping Distance
- Injuries Often Associated With Accidents Involving Large Trucks
- Abel Law Firm Legal Fees and Costs
- Laws You Should Know About If You’re Pursuing A Truck Accident Case
- Contact Us
You Should Hire An Oklahoma City Trucking Accident Attorney
The aftermath of a trucking accident can be a whirlwind. With seeking medical treatment, dealing with insurance companies, and figuring out how to piece your life back together, you need someone by your side every step to get you the financial compensation you deserve.
Our team of professional OKC trucking accident lawyers have a combined 150 years of experience and offer proven legal advice to handle every step of your case and get you the financial results you deserve. We take the time to get to know our clients and won’t rest until you get the results you need, even if that means taking your case to court. Contact Abel Law Firm today and take control of your future.
What You Should Do If You Sustain Injuries In A Truck Accident
Your actions in the immediate aftermath of a crash and even weeks or months later could significantly impact your case. You should take steps to protect your rights and ensure you can recover from your injuries, as well as things you should never do during the legal process.
Abel Law Firm knows what insurance companies look for while reviewing claims and how defense attorneys will defend their clients after a truck accident. We’re familiar with state laws and the tactics we can use to recover the maximum financial compensation possible. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guideline of the dos and Don’ts after a trucking accident so you don’t make a mistake that causes you to walk away without money.
Do seek medical treatment. Some injuries aren’t immediately apparent. You might think you were able to walk away from the crash with minor cuts and bruises. However, a concussion could cause brain swelling, something you can’t see. Without proper medical intervention, the results could be fatal.
Go to a hospital immediately after leaving the accident scene so a doctor can evaluate your injuries. If they refer you to follow up with another doctor, follow their orders. You should continue attending your doctor’s appointments until you recover or your medical providers determine you have reached maximum medical improvement. That means your condition likely won’t improve further with additional medical care.
Don’t make a habit of skipping doctor’s appointments or deciding about the treatment you need. If you stop treatment before you heal, you will likely receive much less compensation than you need. You might eagerly accept an insurance settlement for your expenses only to find out you require further physical therapy or surgery. Since your claim is already closed out, you won’t be able to pursue more money from the insurance company to pay for your other medical bills.
Do hire a lawyer. Accident victims will choose not to seek legal representation because they assume they can handle their case alone. That could harm your case. Abel Law Firm has seen many people suffer due to the unfair practices of insurance companies. If you don’t know your rights, you might be tempted to accept whatever lowball offer they give you. Or, you could run into a roadblock you don’t know how to overcome. Our Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys can take on the responsibility of your case and handle every single step so you receive the money you’re owed.
Don’t talk to the truck driver’s insurance company. They might call to ask questions about the accident. Despite believing it’s an innocent conversation about the facts of your case, the insurance adjuster is likely looking for reasons to deny your claim. If you say something wrong, such as admitting partial blame for the crash, they could reduce their view of your case’s monetary value. We will handle all communication with them on your behalf to ensure you receive full and fair compensation.
Do maintain thorough records. You should keep a copy of every document related to the case. Medical bills, prescriptions, out-of-pocket expenses, and medical records are crucial evidence. You’ll need it to prove the injuries you sustained in the accident. Abel Law Firm can also request adequate evidence during our investigation to determine the value of your case and show another party was responsible for the crash.
Don’t post any details of your case online. Insurance companies and the attorneys defending the truck driver can view your public social media accounts to find compelling evidence that proves you lied about the severity of the injury or didn’t get hurt at all. If you post a picture on Facebook showing that you participated in a recreational sporting event, it will be apparent that you didn’t break your leg.
Abel Law Firm Can Investigate Your Case to Determine the Compensation You Deserve
Our Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys have the resources to thoroughly investigate this type of case and find a way to prove another person’s negligence led to your injuries. We can visit the accident scene to look for evidence left behind. If a police officer investigated immediately after the crash, we could review their report to determine who they believe was at fault.
We will also need to obtain specific evidence to build a strong case. Some of the evidence we might need includes:
- Video surveillance footage
- Eyewitness statements
- The truck driver’s driving history, qualifications, and licensing
- Copy of the police report
- Copies of your medical records and medical bills
- Accident scene photos
- Repair estimates of the damage to all vehicles involved
- The trucking company’s maintenance and inspection logs, repair records, and hiring practices
- Copies of all available insurance policies to determine the amount of coverage we could pursue
We’ll perform our investigation while you’re treating your injuries. Ensure you update us on your treatment progress and send us a list of all your doctors, facilities, and treatment dates. We can request updated copies of your medical records throughout your case to ensure we submit documents showing your full recovery progress.
Compensation You Could Pursue from the Truck Driver or Trucking Company
The amount of money you’re entitled to after a truck accident will depend on various factors. Every client’s case is unique. Some people only suffer minor injuries, resulting in a low settlement amount. Others sustain life-threatening injuries, requiring significant financial compensation for all necessary medical treatment. We can review the facts of your case to determine the monetary value so you can cover your total past and future losses.
These losses could include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (for the losses suffered by a spouse)
We know you need compensation to pay your medical bills and other associated costs to avoid economic hardships while recovering from your injuries. Many of our clients can’t afford upfront payment for their treatment or live off a reduced income when they cannot work.
We will review the circumstances of your case to determine the full and fair compensation you need and deserve to cover your losses. Some contributing factors might include:
- The severity of your injury
- Disability, impairment, or disfigurement resulting from the injury
- Amount of coverage from the available insurance policies
- Time spent away from your job for doctor’s appointments and other reasons related to your case
- Duration of your recovery
- Total expenses you incurred from the accident
- Cost to repair your vehicle
- Effect of the accident on your daily life, routine, and family
- The estimated cost of medical treatment required in the future for chronic pain, permanent injury, or other issues related to the crash
Some accident victims end up with debilitating injuries, leaving them unable to work or care for their children. When that happens, you should receive a monetary award that fully compensates for the suffering you’ll likely endure and the bills you’ll receive from ongoing medical care.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
It is the truck driver and trucking company’s responsibility to operate the vehicles safely, provide proper training, and provide routine maintenance to their trucks to keep innocent people from harm. When drivers behave recklessly or are drowsy behind the wheel, the results can be catastrophic physically, emotionally, and financially.
When you are injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler or another commercial vehicle, you not only have to deal with medical bills and potential rehabilitation costs but also insurance companies, representatives from the trucking company, and even their lawyers. Dealing with all of this while recovering from your injuries should not be your responsibility. This is where the Oklahoma City trucking accident lawyers shine. Our mission is to fight for those who feel helpless and alone following a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to handle the following types of cases:
While non-commercial drivers cannot exceed a .08% blood alcohol concentration while operating a motor vehicle, truck drivers face much stricter laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes that a truck driver operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of at least .04% is driving under the influence.Learn More About Learn More
Manual, visual, and cognitive distractions prevent an adequate response time to an emergency, noticing road hazards, or operating a vehicle safely. If a truck driver becomes distracted by their cell phone, they likely won’t be able to avoid a crash if another driver cuts them off or stops suddenly in front of them.Learn More About Learn More
Trucking companies must perform background checks on prospective employees. The background check should include their driving history, employment history, prior accidents, alcohol and drug use, and criminal offenses. Failing to confirm someone’s experience and qualifications could place a dangerous driver on the road.Learn More About Learn More
Commercial trucks have many parts and systems that must function properly. Common defective parts that can lead to an accident are brakes, engine, transmission, tires, and steering system.Learn More About Learn More
Federal laws require trucking companies to meet specific safety and operational standards. Violating a regulation, such as failing to repair damage to a truck, could result in a malfunction, causing the driver to lose control and crash.Learn More About Learn More
Operating a large truck takes great skill and experience. They’re much larger and heavier than a passenger car and contain cargo on the back. An error or negligent action could put the driver on a collision course with another vehicle.Learn More About Learn More
Just like small cars and trucks, commercial trucks have blind spots. However, they’re significantly larger. Truck drivers must thoroughly check for other vehicles before changing lanes, merging, or turning to avoid an accident.Learn More About Learn More
A high center of gravity makes it easier for trucks to roll over in a collision. Crashing into a pothole, car, or stationary object could lift the tires off the ground, tilting the whole vehicle onto its side.Learn More About Learn More
A truck jackknifes when the front cab and back trailer fold towards each other at a 90-degree angle. A small car could become pinned between the truck’s sections or end up underneath as the trailer swings towards the cab.Learn More About Learn More
Improperly loaded cargo could shift during transport, throwing the entire vehicle off-balance. The trucker won’t be able to maneuver safely and could lose control of the truck.Learn More About Learn More
Cars end up underneath a truck during an underride accident, typically leading to life-threatening injuries and fatalities.Learn More About Learn More
Any of the above scenarios can cause serious, life-altering injuries or, in extreme cases, even death. The sheer mass of commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers makes even low-speed accidents costly in terms of damage to your car and injuries to everyone involved. While the average vehicle weighs 2.5 tons, a large truck can weigh close to 40 tons. You need an experienced and tough attorney to take action and stand up for you against the trucking company and its attorneys. At Abel Law Firm, we treat every case like it’s our only case and won’t rest until you get the compensation you need to avoid financial ruin.
Understanding Vehicle Weight and Stopping Distance
A common cause of truck accidents is the driver failing to understand the vehicle’s weight and how it affects stopping distance. The average 18-wheeler or semi-truck weighs an estimated 16 times more than an average motor vehicle. Because of this weight, it takes much longer for an 18-wheeler to slow down and come to a stop. Knowing this and staying an appropriate distance behind other motor vehicles can make all the difference, no matter how fast you travel.
Injuries Often Associated With Accidents Involving Large Trucks
Large trucks carrying cargo can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. The occupants of a smaller car typically suffer more severe injuries than the truck driver during a collision. Truck accidents, especially those occurring at high rates of speed, can have devastating results.
You probably have a long road to recovery ahead of you. Although some people are lucky enough to walk away with minor scrapes and bruises, others suffer debilitating injuries requiring months of physical therapy. Truck accidents can cause chronic pain, psychological damage, and permanent disability.
The most common injuries sustained in truck accidents are:
- Soft tissue damage, such as a pulled muscle or torn ligament
- Broken or fractured bones
- Loss of limb
- Traumatic brain injury
- Crush injuries
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Mental and emotional trauma
Life-threatening injuries can require surgery followed by extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy. Medical care is expensive, putting many accident victims into significant debt. You should not be responsible for these expenses when someone else was at fault for the crash. At Abel Law Firm, we fight hard to get our clients the maximum money they need to compensate for the losses they suffered.
Abel Law Firm Legal Fees and Costs
Our Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers don’t want you to face additional financial hardships while pursuing a legal case. We take all cases on a contingency fee basis. That means there won’t be any upfront fees or costs to receive dependable legal representation. We don’t expect payment of our legal fees unless we recover compensation for our clients. If we lose, you will never owe us any money for our services.
Laws You Should Know About If You’re Pursuing A Truck Accident Case
Trucking companies have a legal requirement to purchase liability insurance for their drivers. Coverage limits should adequately compensate for an accident victim’s injuries and resulting costs. These limits depend on the weight of the truck and the cargo being transported. They are:
- $300,000 for non-hazardous materials carried on a vehicle weighing under 10,001 pounds
- $750,000 for a truck over 10,000 pounds and transporting non-hazardous cargo
- $1 million for commercial vehicles containing oil or hazardous materials
- $5 million for trucks carrying other hazardous freight
You could file a claim with the liability insurance company for a settlement covering your losses. Trucking company minimum insurance requirements are significantly higher than the auto insurance required for the drivers of passenger cars. That’s because commercial trucks tend to cause more severe injuries and property damage when they collide with small vehicles than two small cars in an accident.
You could file a lawsuit against the truck driver or their employer after an accident. You must comply with a strict deadline known as a statute of limitations. This is the timeframe for suing someone for compensation in a personal injury case. Oklahoma law requires following a two-year statute of limitations. You would only have two years from the accident date to file suit; otherwise, you’ll lose your right to seek legal action.