Tips for Sharing the Roadways with Large Commercial Trucks

With the holidays in full swing America’s roadways are busy with folks trying to get grandma’s house. Of course, holiday travelers are not the only ones attempting to get from point A to point B on a tight schedule. Commercial semi-tractor trailers are on the roadways as well. It is important for motorists to be aware of these large commercial vehicles as accidents involving a truck and a car are particularly dangerous. Nearly 80% of fatal car-truck crashes result in the occupants of the car being killed. Close to 7 of out every 10 fatal multi-vehicle accidents involving a car and a tractor-trailer, are estimated to have been caused by the driver of the car. Motorists can reduce their likelihood of being involved in a serious accident by educating themselves on how to share the roadways with large trucks. To ensure that you are safely sharing the roadways, keep in mind these facts about large commercial trucks:

  • Trucks require more space: Large trucks, like 18 wheelers, have a greater turning radius than a normal sized vehicle. To be able to successfully navigate a turn, a truck will swing wide in the direction opposite of the turn before actually making the turn. Therefore, it is important that a motorist allow a truck extra space to maneuver. When a truck signals that it is about to make a turn a motorist should never try to position itself between a truck and the curb as the vehicle is likely to be pushed into the curb or hit. Large trucks also require more space when they are merging onto or exiting from the highway.
  • Trucks require a greater breaking distance: Did you know that it takes a fully loaded semi-truck traveling at 55 mph around 300 feet to come to a complete stop, even under dry weather conditions? That is the equivalent distance of a football field minus the two end zones. This is why it is imperative to allow extra space when passing a large truck. Too often motorists make the mistake of cutting back in front of a truck too soon after passing and then slowing down. When a motorist passes a truck in this manner, it can interfere with the truck driver’s ability to see the car in time and not being able to slow down in time—which can result in the truck rear ending the car.
  • Trucks have more and larger blind spots: Although large commercial trucks have mirrors, much like passenger vehicles, a truck still has large blind spots. A truck’s largest blind spot, and therefore, the most dangerous place for a motorist to be, is along the truck’s right side. Motorists should try to pass a truck on the left side whenever possible.
  • A truck may be carrying hazardous materials: Commercials trucks alert other motorists if the truck is carrying hazardous contents by posting a sign on the rear of the truck. The trucks may be carrying flammable liquids such as gasoline, explosives such as dynamite or fireworks, or some other toxic substance. Although drivers who haul hazardous materials have received special training, it is a good idea to allow these driver’s even more space than you would a normal load-carrying truck.
  • More susceptible to rollovers: Due to its higher center of gravity, a truck is more likely to rollover. A rollover of a large truck can be made even more dangerous if the truck is carrying hazardous materials.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident involving a truck, please contact The Handley Law Center at 405-295-1924.  Our seasoned personal injury attorneys offer a free and completely confidential consultation.  We also take the time you need to answer all of your questions and advise you of your legal options. You can trust the seasoned attorneys at the Handley Law Center to provide you with exceptional legal services.

What You Should Know About Oklahoma Underride Collisions

There are many types of trucking accidents however, what unites them all is the fact that they can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. In other words, when automobiles collide with large tractor trailers, the results can be devastating at any speed.  One of the most deadly trucking accidents in Oklahoma is what is known as an “underride collision”.   These reportedly account for 25% of trucking accident fatalities in the United States.  For those who survive these types of accidents, their lives unfortunately are never the same.  Specifically, they often face lifelong and painful disabilities, including paralysis, amputations and other catastrophic injuries.

What is an underride collision?

An underride collision occurs when a car collides with truck and gets trapped underneath it, which can sheer off the roof of a car and crush it.  There are two types of underride collisions.  The first one is known as a rear underride collision, which refers to a situation in which a vehicle slides under the rear of a large truck.  The second type of underride collision is called a side underride collision, which is where a vehicle gets trapped underneath the side of a truck.

What are the consequences of an underride collision?

If a car slides completely under a truck, what often happens is that the roof is sheared off during impact, often resulting in the tragic death of the driver and his or her passengers.  In the event that a truck has underride collision barriers, this may reduce the severity of injuries and the accident as a whole.

What causes underride collisions?

There are many causes of underride collisions.  As for rear underride collisions, they typically occur at night and when a truck’s taillights are blocked, dirty or not working properly.  These also tend to occur when trucks are moving slowly and not using emergency flashers to alert other drivers.  With regard to side underride collisions, these frequently occur when side lighting is inadequate or not functioning properly.  Meaning, when a truck lacks proper side lighting, a car can easily veer into a truck’s lane and get caught underneath it.

How is Fault Determined in Oklahoma Underride Collisions?

Following an underride collision in Oklahoma, accident investigators are typically called to the scene to gather evidence, determine what happened, and render a conclusion regarding fault.  Trucking companies often have their own investigators that they use to try and minimize their liability in these types of accidents.  

What should I do if I was injured in an underride collision?

The obvious answer is that you should seek medical attention immediately.  Once you have been medically stabilized, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney Oklahoma trucking accident experienced at handling these types of cases.  Underride collisions are serious and require the expertise of a skilled Oklahoma underride accident attorney who will effectively fight for your rights.  Moreover, experienced trucking accident attorneys can also work with a team of investigators to help you recount the events leading up to the accident and establish causation and fault in your case.

Call the Handley Law Center Now to Obtain the Aggressive Representation You Deserve!

At the Handley Law Center, our Oklahoma accident attorneys have the experience, skills and knowledge necessary to handle any trucking accident case, including complex ones involving underride collisions.  When we meet, we will take the time to answer all of your questions, examine the facts of your case, and advise you of your legal options.  For more information on our legal services, contact The Handley Law Center for a free confidential consultation. Or, you can also feel free to call us during normal business hours at 405-295-1924 to schedule an appointment.

Jackknife Accidents Involving Trucks in Oklahoma

There are many types of trucking accidents that occur across the State of Oklahoma.  Specifically, trucks of all shapes and sizes are involved in accidents involving side swipes, rear end collisions, rollovers, fires, battery explosions, and brake failures.  However, the most deadly of all trucking accidents involves what is known as a jackknife accident.  Jackknife accidents, especially with larger and heavier trucks, can cause serious and sometimes life threatening injuries to victims.  Moreover, they can also cause thousands of dollars in property damage.

If you have been involved in a jackknife accident and want to learn more about your rights, it is important to consult with an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.  Only a skilled Oklahoma trucking accident attorney has the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you get the compensation you deserve.  For over 20 years, I have been successfully representing victims of jackknife accidents located throughout the State of Oklahoma.

What exactly is a jackknife accident?  While these can take various forms, they commonly refer to a situation where a tractor spins into its trailer, typically after a trucker abruptly applies the brakes.  The result of this type of accident can cause a truck to skid out of control and create a large wall of moving force that strikes everything in its path before stopping. Typically, driver error is to blame for causing jackknife accidents however, several other causes abound as well.  The key when facing a jackknife accident is to determine what specifically went wrong with driver, the truck, or something else.  Getting to the root of the cause is the first step in determining the scope of your legal options and how to maximize your chances of recovering.

Successful lawsuits involving jackknife accidents are generally the result of top notch forensic investigation and superior legal representation.  Meaning, when you work with a seasoned Oklahoma trucking accident attorney, he or she can help you identify those responsible for your injuries and how much your case is likely worth.  Otherwise stated, only an attorney can help you determine whether the driver, dispatcher, roadway workers or even truck manufacturers are to blame for your jackknife accident.  Through examining the facts of your case and consulting with experts to get to the bottom of what happened, an attorney can make a huge difference in your case.  They can also help you recover money for your injuries, lost income as well as your medical expenses.

For more information, contact The Handley Law Center today at 405-295-1924 to schedule a free initial and completely confidential consultation.  Our seasoned Oklahoma personal injury attorneys will take the time necessary to examine your case, advise you of your options and answer all of your questions – absolutely free.  Don’t wait to obtain the money you deserve.  Call us today to learn more about our superior legal services!

Improper Truck Loading Cause Serious Accidents in Oklahoma

Certainly at some point you have seen a truck on the road that has been overloaded or whose cargo appears to be lopsided and ready to fall off.  Not only can this situation be extremely frightening to other drivers, it can also cause serious and sometimes catastrophic accidents.  To illustrate, a large truck that is not properly loaded and secured is not able to negotiate sharp turns and other road conditions as easily.  Not to mention that these trucks – many weighing 80,000 pounds or more – already have a hard enough time stopping given their huge size and weight.  When these situations combine, they can have disastrous consequences, including serious injury and even death.

In addition, a truck whose cargo is not properly stored can easily rollover or veer into  other lanes due to improper weight distribution, causing it to side swipe other vehicles in its path.  Moreover, many accidents happen when unsecured or improperly secured objects and materials  fall from a truck, such as construction debris, liquids and chemicals, rocks, pebbles, cement, tarps, and other types of covers.

Not surprisingly, many of these accidents occur on busy highways and other roads that trucks frequent in order to deliver or haul away materials.  Other accidents of this sort also happen at store and warehouse loading docks, where innocent victims are struck while unloading a truck with unsecured goods.  While not every accident can be prevented, there are certain steps that truckers can take to avoid these highly dangerous hazards, such as the following:

  1. Before leaving for your destination, check all of your cargo to make sure that it is secured properly and unable to move.
  2. Conduct an inspection of your truck and the materials that you are hauling to ensure that everything is properly secured and balanced.
  3. Weigh your truck with its goods to make sure that it complies with all weight requirements.
  4. Be sure to keep your truck in good repair and to regularly check your tires, brake systems and other areas that are more vulnerable to wear and tear.
  5. Consult with your employer to make sure that you are following all local and state regulations regarding proper truck loading.
  6. Have another employee assist you in loading your truck should you be dealing with extremely heavy or oversized cargo.

For more information on the above, or if you have been injured in an Oklahoma trucking accident, contact The Handley Law Center for a free confidential consultation.  You can also call us during normal business hours at 405-295-1924 to schedule an appointment. Our highly skilled Oklahoma trucking accident attorneys have many years of experience in handling the challenges associated with trucking accident cases and as such, look forward to providing you with excellent representation.

Employer Liability and Trucking Accidents in Oklahoma: Understanding Your Legal Options

Oftentimes, it is difficult to determine who is responsible for causing your trucking accident related injuries.  Specifically, who you can hold legally responsible for your injuries depends upon whether the trucker who hit you is employed by a company or works independently.  In addition, sometimes the owner of the truck can differ from that of its driver or employer, which can lead to further confusion as to who should be sued.  Whatever the situation, it is important to consult with an attorney who is experienced at handling the numerous complexities associated with trucking accident cases.

Typically, if a truck driver is employed by a company, his or her employer can be sued under a theory of vicarious liability, or “respondeat superior”.  To illustrate, if a company hires a truck driver with a history DUI arrests but fails to conduct a proper background check, it can be held vicariously responsible for the acts of its driver.  Meaning, if a driver decides to grab a few drinks while on the clock and then decides to get behind the wheel, an employer can be found negligent in the event that its driver causes an accident.

Employers can also be held responsible for injuries caused by their employees due to accidents that occur as a result of the overloading and improper loading of their trucks as well as unreasonable schedules imposed on drivers.   Trucking companies always stand to make more money if they encourage their employees to drive a little faster, farther and with bigger loads.  However, such employer actions can create dangerous driving conditions for other drivers, ultimately leading to their vicarious liability.

Trucking companies have also been held responsible for injuries caused by employees who have not been properly trained.  Employers must ensure that their drivers receive sufficient driver and safety training.  If it can be shown that a trucking accident could have been avoided had the driver been properly trained, the trucking company may be required to compensate victims for all resulting injuries and property damage. 

If you have been injured in a truck accident, give us a call now at 405-295-1924 or visit The Handley Law Center online to learn more about the scope of your legal options and also, the ways in which we can help you get the compensation that you deserve.   Our experienced Oklahoma trucking accident attorneys are happy to answer all of your questions and give you the tools necessary to get your life back on track.  We look forward to the opportunity of providing you with excellent legal representation.

Damaged & Defective Roadways Cause Serious Trucking Accidents in Oklahoma

Every day, thousands of truck drivers take to the open roads in the United States to haul various types of goods to destinations located throughout the country.  Given the sheer numbers of trucks frequenting the vast expanses of U.S. highways within the Midwest and beyond, it is not surprising that many people become seriously injured in trucking accidents.  While a good percentage of trucking accidents stem from driver negligence, many others are caused by defective and poorly maintained/designed roadways, which ultimately create unsafe driving conditions for trucks and other drivers. 

For numerous reasons, poorly designed roads can exponentially increase the likelihood of accidents due to the fact that it makes it more difficult for truckers to maneuver and also, more readily notice pedestrians and other drivers on the road.  For example, roadways with inadequate signage, poor lighting, little to no shoulder lanes, and materials that are vulnerable to wear and tear can be a nightmare for truckers to negotiate.  Additionally, roads that have defective bridges, slick surface materials, and ineffective guardrails or medians, especially when combined with bad weather, can become a real dangerous obstacle course for truckers.  In general, since trucks tend to be larger and heavier than other vehicles, it is more difficult for them to stop as quickly, making it extremely challenging for them to safely operate their trucks and avoid collisions.

Moreover, improper and/or poor roadway maintenance can also contribute to accidents.  Specifically, serious and catastrophic collisions can and often do occur because of large potholes, poorly manicured bushes, trees and other view blocking vegetation, and ineffective/insufficient removal of snow and ice.  Imagine a large truck going at a high speed that strikes a pothole or a large patch of ice – the consequences can be quite devastating.  Since trucks are inherently dangers to operate no matter what, poorly maintained roads can create significant driving hazards for truckers and all others on the road.

Regardless of whether an accident is caused by a poorly designed or maintained road, it is still a challenge to pursue claims against responsible parties.  In other words, it is often difficult to ascertain who to sue when you have been injured in a trucking accident caused by roadway defects.  Many times, those who may be liable are governmental entities, such as local and state governments, who are generally responsible for keeping our roadways safe.  In certain states, a government entity can raise an immunity defense in response to lawsuits brought by injured parties.  Meaning, that they cannot be sued without their prior consent, which can make it very difficult for victims to recover. 

Accordingly, it is crucial to consult with an attorney who is experienced at handling the ins and outs of these types of cases.  As skilled Oklahoma trucking accident attorneys, we believe that governments should be held responsible for injuries sustained by truckers and other drivers due to their failure to keep our roads safe.  Give us a call now at 405-295-1924 or visit The Handley Law Center online to learn more about how our team of qualified legal professionals can help you fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.  We look forward to providing you with excellent representation.

Why Trucking Accidents Occur in Oklahoma

There are numerous reasons for why accidents involving trucks abound in Oklahoma however, the main cause is due to the high number of trucks that frequent its numerous and expansive highways.  As experienced Oklahoma trucking accident attorneys, we have seen a lot of cases that occur due to the full or partial fault of the driver.   Usually, driver fault occurs in the following ways:

  1. Sleep deprivation and driver fatigue.  Often times, sleep deprivation and fatigue are the primary causes of trucking accidents in Oklahoma.  Specifically, some truck driving companies require drivers to accept unreasonable schedules, which could include taking late night shifts to which they are otherwise unaccustomed.  Other companies also require a driver (and often pay them extra), after having been on the road for several hours, to unload the contents of their truck, which can also be extremely grueling and lead to exhaustion.  Driver fatigue can also be caused by truckers who want to make as much money as possible.   For instance, many truck drivers are compensated by the mile and as such, the farther they push themselves to go, the more money they will make.
  2. Speeding.  Speeding is undoubtedly a major cause of trucking accidents within the State of Oklahoma as well as across the United States.   The most risky part of speeding while driving a truck is the fact that you cannot stop as easily as other vehicles, such as small cars and motorcycles.  As such, it is important to watch your speed while trucking, as the inability to stop can lead to serious and often life-threatening collisions.
  3. Driver distraction. Truckers, like anyone else, fall prey to the numerous distractions that can affect a driver, such as talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, smoking or listening to a dispatch radio.
  4. Impaired driving.   Numerous collisions arise when truckers decide to drink and drive or, if they take illegal or prescription medications.  It goes without saying that this can create a serious risk to others on the road as well as the truck driver himself/herself.

In order to reduce the likelihood of accidents caused by the above, Oklahoma law provides rather strict laws geared towards addressing these very serious issues.   Only a skilled Oklahoma trucking accident attorney can advise you as to your legal options in this regard as well as the nature and extent of your rights and responsibilities.   If you have been injured in a trucking accident in Oklahoma, give us a call now at (405) 295-1924 to maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation that you deserve.

Tractor Trailers and Accidents in Oklahoma

There are many causes of tractor trailer accidents in Oklahoma, including the inability of a trucker to see other cars on the road due to blind spots, defective or overly worn tires, loose material, decreased braking ability, and overloaded/improperly loaded trucks.  Whatever the cause may be however, trucking accidents often lead to life threatening and sometimes fatal injuries for all those involved, including the truck driver. 

How specifically, do some of the above conditions cause accidents? With regard to a truck’s blind spots, also known as “no zone” areas, these are typically located at the back and front ends of the vehicle.  Typically, accidents occur when another vehicle is located within a truck’s no zone and is struck by the truck.  It is important to understand that if you cannot see the truck driver in his rear view mirrors, it is likely that the driver also cannot see you.

Moreover, trucking accidents also occur due to something called “squeeze play”, which refers to collisions caused by a swinging turn of a truck.  To illustrate, if a tractor trailer has to make a left turn, it must swing to the right in order to negotiate and maneuver the turn.  This can create accidents by squeezing a car between it and the side of the road.  Additional crashes can happen when a truck trying to turn cannot see cars located within its blind spots, also leading to a squeeze play type accident.

Tractor trailer related accidents can also arise due to braking issues.  Such issues include braking failures, inadequate braking by a trucker and the inability to brake in time in order to avoid a collision with another vehicle.   With regard to brake failures, this often occurs due to improper maintenance, poorly installed brakes, overuse and age.  As for improper braking techniques, truckers should be sufficiently trained to be able to reduce their speed by about five or six miles per hour upon each time the brakes are applied.  Failure to properly brake often leads to runaway trucks, giving rise to serious and often fatal accidents.

As experienced trucking attorneys, we often see trucking accidents caused by the inability to stop in time, which is one of the leading causes of crashes.  Overall, the heavier the truck, the harder it is for it to stop, increasing the likelihood of rear end collisions with other vehicles.  As such, truck drivers need to maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of them, and also, to understand the fact that trucks do not have the ability, like other vehicles, to stop short.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an Oklahoma trucking accident, call us now at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a confidential case evaluation.  We are highly experienced attorneys who are capable of handling all types of car accident cases, especially complex trucking accidents. Accordingly, we look forward to providing you with excellent representation.

Litigating Complex Trucking Accident Cases in Oklahoma

In the State of Oklahoma, hundreds of people are killed each year in accidents involving trucks.  As a centrally located state, many trucks cross the Oklahoma border on a daily basis, especially large 18-wheelers.  While trucks are crucial to the economy for transporting goods across the nation, they can also cause serious and sometimes life threatening accidents.  Specifically, trucks such as 18-wheelers are a lot heavier than their smaller counterparts, and often exceed 70 feet in length.  This makes it extremely difficult for trucks of this size to stop in time to avoid colliding with other vehicles on the road.  To illustrate, if a large truck is suddenly cut off by another vehicle, it will take a lot longer for the truck to come to a complete stop given its sheer size and weight. Moreover, many truck accidents are caused simply because the trucker could not see other drivers in its path.  Since trucks have numerous blind spots, they take a significant amount of time, skill and experience for drivers to learn how to safely maneuver.

Regardless of the situation, it is important to consider that trucking cases can present several legal challenges such as proving liability, identifying the proper parties to sue, and determining what facts are necessary to prove one’s case.  For example, a truck driver or his or her company can be held responsible for causing an accident, depending upon the nature of the trucker’s employment arrangement.  If the trucker is an independent contractor, then he or she maintains sole responsibility for causing an accident.  However, if a company employs the truck driver, it may too be found liable under certain circumstances.  Additionally, it can also be challenging to determine apportionment of fault in a given case.  For instance, sometimes it isn’t readily apparent who caused the underlying accident or how much percentage of fault should be allocated between the parties.

Furthermore, gathering the appropriate factual support and evidence necessary to prove one’s case can also be difficult.  Specifically, trucking companies and the industry as a whole are heavily regulated, which means that it can be a perplexing for even the most seasoned Oklahoma trucking attorney to figure out how to go about obtaining valuable information in order to bring forth a successful lawsuit.  It can also be a daunting task to determine what specific timeframe with which you have to file your lawsuit.  Meaning, the statute of limitations period is a lot shorter when filing a case against a government entity rather than a private party.  Hence, if you are involved in a trucking accident with a U.S. Postal Service worker rather than a corporate entity, you will have a very limited window of time to get your case filed.

For more information, or if you have been involved in a trucking accident in Oklahoma, it is critical to hire an experienced attorney who knows how to effectively handle the complexities associated with these types of case in these jurisdictions.  Give my office a call now to learn more about how I can help you get the compensation you deserve and fight for your rights.  I have handled thousands of trucking accident cases and look forward to working with you.

If you sustained injuries in a car, motorcycle or trucking accident, contact my office now at 405-295-1924. For several years, I have been helping accident victims located throughout the State of Oklahoma obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.  Don’t wait until it is too late to receive the legal help you need.

The Main Causes of Truck Accidents in Oklahoma

  In Oklahoma, highways across the State are frequented by trucks of all shapes and sizes.  As essential as these types of vehicles are for the movement of goods throughout the nation, they can sometimes cause hazardous driving conditions for others on the road.   In fact, more than one hundred thousand people in the U.S. sustain fatal injuries as a result of trucking accidents.   Why then, do these accidents continue to occur?  Understanding the risk factors associated with truck driving may help prevent accidents and keep you and your family safe.  As such, the following is a list of the most frequent causes of truck accidents in the U.S.:

  1. Driver fatigue.  Many truckers fall prey to driver fatigue, especially while driving at night.  Moreover, truckers who are inexperienced or who attempt to push themselves farther and faster to get to their destinations are also to blame for accidents.
  2. Distracted driving.  Truckers, like everyone else, sometimes become distracted by their cell phones, dispatch radios and other devices.  Said distractions often cause truckers to lose focus and strike other vehicles within their vicinity.
  3. Excessive speeding.  Speeding is one of the major contributing factors to serious trucking accidents since large trucks cannot stop as fast as smaller vehicles.  When a truck is unable to stop in time, they often cause serious and sometimes fatal rear end collisions.
  4. Overloading or improper cargo loading.  Trucks that are improperly loaded or overloaded with cargo may become imbalanced and lose control, potentially striking other vehicles and objects.  Oftentimes, these lead to deadly automobile accidents.
  5. Blind spots.  Large trucks, especially tractor trailers, are replete with blind spots, also called “no zones”.  Specifically, it often takes quite a bit of time for novice drivers to become accustomed to using their rear view mirrors to properly change lanes.
  6. Lack of training.  Drivers who are not properly trained often cause accidents because they lack the experience necessary to maneuver in a variety of different circumstances.
  7. Improper vehicle maintenance.  Trucks that are not regularly repaired and maintained often cause accidents due to tire blow outs, brake failures, and other mechanical failures.

For more information about our person injury services, contact The Handley Law Center for a free confidential consultation with one of our experienced Oklahoma trucking accident attorneys.  You can also contact us during normal business hours at 405-295-1924 to schedule an appointment.  Don’t wait!  Call us today to learn more about how we can help you obtain the results you deserve in your domestic law matter.