Get the Answers You Deserve About Oklahoma Bus Accidents and Truck Crashes
A collision with a commercial vehicle in Oklahoma City leaves you faced with lots of questions. Get the answers you need from an Oklahoma City commercial vehicle accident attorney.
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What is subrogation?
Subrogation is the right of an insurer to seek reimbursement for money paid on a claim, from the responsibile party.
It is commonly seen when a person is injured in a collision, and that person's health insurance pays for medical treatment. The law gives that health insurer the right to get its money back from the person that caused the injury. Medicare and Medicaid also have statutory rights of subrogation.
Your uninsured motorist insurance carrier, has a contractual right to subrogate for benefits it pays out. These "subrogation interests" must be dealt with in the process of resolving your case. You may need to obtain a waiver of subrogation from your UM carrier, before you accept the liability insurance policy limits from the responsible party. Failing to obtain a waiver of subrogation can bar your claim for UM benefits under your own insurance policy.
What are the legal minimum age requirements for someone to become a truck driver in Oklahoma?
In addition to all other CDL criteria, Oklahoma requires a driver to be over the age of 18 to operate a commercial motor vehicle intra-state (operation completely within the boundries of the state), and 21 for inter-state (state to state operation).
Why is a lawsuit necessary?
Frequently after a collision, the other driver’s insurance company becomes an obstacle to gathering information and the timely settlement of your claim. Insurance adjusters want information about the claim from you, but refuse to provide information in return. They also know that the passage of time adds economic pressure on you to settle your claim. In many cases lawsuits are filed, because there is no other way to compel production of the evidence a person needs to make an informed decision. There may also be no other way to move a stalled claim forward. An insurance company will tell you they can’t settle your claim before they have all the facts, but they often expect you to settle your claim without knowing very basic things. Through litigation we discover how and why the collision occurred, many of our clients need this information before they can move on with their lives.
How Do I Pay Medical or Funeral Bills after an Accident?
One of the primary concerns many people have after an accident is how the medical or funeral bills will be paid. We collect all your medical expenses and speak with each medical provider. Many of them will understand the liability insurance claim process and will defer collection efforts until a future date. There may also be insurance resources available to you, under your own insurance coverage or that covering the vehicle you were in at the time of the collision. Many of our clients have medical payments or med-pay coverage on their own auto policies. This coverage pays medical bills as they are incurred. This coverage is also available to pay certain funeral costs in fatal accidents. Your health insurance, Medicare, Soonercare, or Medicaid can also make conditional payments which can later be repaid under the policy’s subrogation provisions or applicable law.
The important thing is to manage these costs, and to insure good communication. This relieves stress on you and your medical providers, so everyone can focus on the task that really matters, getting you the medical treatment you need. For more information on this or other topics related to trucking accidents or vehicle death cases please contact us.
What are some of the common causes of truck accidents?
Trucking accidents are caused by a variety of reasons. Many fall under the general categories of maintenance/mechanical failure, driver error/inattention, or fatigue/substance abuse. More specific causes of semi-tractor trailer collisions include:
- Aggressive or Reckless driving
- Improperly Pulling Out/ Creating a Roadway Obstruction
- Wide Turns/ Off-Tracking
- Blind Spots/Failure to install blind-spot mirrors
- Defective brakes/ Brake Failure
- Bald tires
- Electrical System Failure
- Unsteady loads/ Poor Cargo Securement
- Drugs or alcohol
- Fatigue/ Sleep deprivation
- Unrealistic Schedules/ Speeding or Hours of Service Violations
- Failure to inspect tires, brakes and lights
- Long work-shifts
- Cell phone use/ Distracted Driving
- Jackknifing/ Rollover
- Speeding and ignoring reduced truck speed limit
But the list is almost endless. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates these giants because of the complexity of the vehicles themselves, and the danger that they present to the public, when not properly maintained or operated.
How much is my case worth?
Every truck accident case and every person is different. The value of your case depends on several factors. The accident investigation will also be critical. Often, there are layers of insurance coverage, excess coverages, umbrella insurance policies or sister corporations. There can also be different entities, such as shippers and load brokers, who may also be responsible and have additional insurance coverage.
Truck accident victims may be entitled to compensation for any physical, emotional, or financial losses suffered in an accident. Victims are entitled to consideration of the following:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Physical pain and suffering (past and future)
- Mental pain and suffering (past and future);
- The victim’s age at the time of the accident;
- The victim’s physical condition immediately before and after the accident;
- The nature and extent of the injuries;
- Whether the injuries are permanent;
- The physical impairment;
- The disfigurement;
- Loss of (earnings/time);
- Impairment of earning capacity;
The factors in a fatal collision are different still. The bottom line is that there is no short answer. It takes hard work and dedication to properly value your case. Remember that we are talking about the justice your family deserves, not just dollars and cents. Call us today to discuss this further.
If I was partially at-fault for a truck accident, do I still have a case?
It is possible to win a truck accident lawsuit if you were partially at-fault. According to Oklahoma law, if you are found less than 50 percent at-fault for the collision (or less than the other parties involved in multiple party collisions), you can recover money for your damages, however your non-economic and economic damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are found to be more than 50 percent at-fault for the truck accident, you are barred from recovery.
What exactly is a commercial motor vehicle or commercial truck?
Generally Commercial Motor Vehicles include vehicles used to transport goods or passengers in interstate (across state boundaries) or intrastate (within the state) commerce. Examples of commercial trucks are semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, delivery vehicles, freight trucks, and dump trucks. A fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. But CMV’s also include: vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more; vehicles designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; vehicles designed to transport more than 16 passengers (including the driver) and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or vehicles transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring the vehicle to be placarded.
How Long Do I Have to File a suit?
Under Oklahoma law, the victim of a car or truck accident usually has two (2) years from the date of the accident to file suit, or their claim is forever barred. This time frame can be shorter if a government agency is involved. The governmental tort claims act requires written notice of claim to be submitted, prior to filing any lawsuit, and within one (1) year of the accident. The claims of minor children can be filed, within one (1) year after they reach the age of eighteen (18).
The statute of limitations (above) provides the latest date that a case can be filed. Your case should be pursued AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after the accident. If you wait two years to bring your case, important evidence can be lost or destroyed. Contact us today to discuss your case.
How long will my case take?
Each truck accident case is different, but generally, the time period could be anywhere from several months to three years. Wrongful death cases can move forward without delay, but may still involve extensive investigation and litigation. Regardless of the time necessary to complete your case, you should have an attorney that is ready to begin today, and to approach the work involved with a sense of urgency.