If you live here in Oklahoma, you know that trucks dominate the interstates as they move goods across the country. The large number of trucks means a higher potential for accidents involving these mammoth vehicles. An accident caused by a truck often results in devastating injuries and even death.
The truck driver might be only one of the parties responsible
Truck drivers make mistakes on the road, but one or more of the following parties might bear some financial responsibility for your accident as well.
- Trucking companies
- The driver's employer
- Insurance companies
- Truck manufacturers
- Hazardous materials shippers
An investigation into the accident should reveal whether any of these parties contributed to the accident or might otherwise provide you with compensation in a successful claim.
What proof does the court require in a truck accident?
A successful claim proves the following elements:
- Each defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care. All drivers owe everyone else on the road this duty, but establishing a duty for other defendants often requires different evidence.
- Each defendant breached (failed to exercise reasonable care) that duty to you.
- The breach of that duty caused your injuries or the death of your loved one.
If the accident resulted from the truck jack-knifing, the circumstances under which it occurred help determine liability. Jack-knifing often results from hard braking by the driver. If it happened due to some unforeseen event -- such as a slippery road, an unexpected move by another motorist or a stalled vehicle in the road not visible until too late -- the fault might not lie with the truck driver.
Due to their size, turning an 18-wheeler requires skill and space. Some truckers begin their turns from the inside lane in order to use two lanes to turn. If your accident resulted from this action, establishing the driver's fault might be easier. Other factors such as fatigue, alcohol or drug use, and distractions also help prove a driver's negligence.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you would more than likely benefit from contacting an attorney who routinely handles these types of cases here in Oklahoma. He or she knows the kind of evidence that courts require. An independent investigation often reveals the factors that contributed to the crash and whether another party bears responsibility.
An insurance company might offer you a settlement soon after the accident. Before you accept it, you may first wish to understand the ramifications of accepting it and whether it serves your best interests. Insurance companies need to make a profit to remain in business, which means that the company may try to settle your claim for less than you deserve. Even if turning down the offer delays compensation in the short-term, seeking legal advice may provide for your future and the future of your family. It never hurts to be sure before taking that step.