Who's at Fault in Truck Accidents?

Semi-truck crashes into car

A commercial truck, semi, or tractor-trailer wreck devastates everyone involved because of the size and weight of those vehicles. And getting the responsible parties to pay often requires help from an experienced personal injury attorney with a background in truck accident settlements. 

When you need a compassionate law firm to get your Oklahoma truck accident settlement, Tim Gilpin at Gilpin Law Firm is the right one to call. Here’s what you need to know about determining fault in an Oklahoma commercial vehicle accident. 

The Impact of Commercial Trucking Accidents

There’s always a reason for a truck crash. Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to work long hours and haul more loads at maximum speeds. Unfortunately, this pressure comes while they’re sharing public highways and roads with passenger vehicles. Worse, the damage usually goes beyond medical bills and vehicle damage. 

The harm can be extensive, including:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of use of your vehicle 
  • Physical scarring or disfigurement
  • Temporary disability 
  • Permanent disability
  • Mental pain and suffering
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Prolonged recovery period impacting the victim’s family
  • Wrongful death

Causes of Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” to dig deeper into the causes of these dangerous commercial vehicle accidents. The results were staggering. 

The study found driver performance to be the critical reason in about 9 of 10 wrecks where the truck driver was the primary cause of the crash. Here’s how those driver performance issues break down:

  • Driving over the speed limit: At-fault truck drivers were often found to be speeding and/or unfamiliar with the road. 
  • Impaired or distracted driving: Some faulty truck drivers were using over-the-counter drugs, were poorly supervised, fatigued, under work pressure to over-perform, distracted, texting while driving, or just not paying attention. 
  • Mechanical negligence: Mechanical truck problems that helped cause a truck accident included brake problems, tire problems, and shifting cargo. 
  • Type of commercial vehicle: Commercial vehicle accident statistics involve semi-trucks, dumptrucks, box trucks, and multi-axle flat-bed trucks that ordinarily drive our highways hauling big loads. Buses and light commercial trucks also account for a significant number of commercial vehicle accidents. 

Determining Fault in Commercial Highway Accidents

Whenever a commercial truck is involved in a wreck, the truck driver, that truck driver’s employer, and any contractors involved with the truck’s load may be responsible. An experienced truck accident lawyer identifies everyone and every entity that is liable or responsible for the negligence. If a settlement out of court cannot be reached, an experienced injury lawyer can go to court for just compensation. 

Using federal, and state laws and trucking regulations, an experienced personal injury attorney proves the truck driver and his or her employer had a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care, failed to exercise that duty, and that failure caused injury and loss to the plaintiff(s). An experienced injury lawyer begins by gathering the evidence needed to prove negligence including police reports and investigations, witnesses, driver’s logs, truck maintenance logs, truck company training, or even financial records. Expert witnesses are often used to establish a truck driver’s duties and how trucking transportation companies typically meet their duties to hire good drivers, supervise them, and maintain semi-tractor trailer trucks. 

Contact an Expert Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance and trucking companies will sometimes hold a “carrot” out and offer a quick settlement. But beware that someone who settles early is often unable to collect costs and damages later discovered. While it’s easy to take the bait, medical bills may not arrive for weeks after related treatment ends, and in a serious accident, care providers might recommend additional or future care. Either way, you need an attorney who is experienced with Oklahoma car accident settlements to make sure you get the compensation you’re owed. 


If you’re dealing with the fallout from a commercial driver’s negligence, don’t wait for the debt to pile up. Tim Gilpin of Gilpin Law Office has been successfully representing victims of trucking accidents and highway crashes for over 34 years. Tim offers a free consultation and no attorney fee if there is no recovery. Call Tim today at 918.583.8900 and schedule your no-obligation consultation.