Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is among the most notorious contributing factors to truck accidents nationwide. Truck drivers are often struggling to meet delivery deadlines, or they may want to finish a job early and get home. Even though state and federal regulations place limitations on the time that truck drivers are allowed to spend driving, these regulations are not always followed. As a result, tired drivers often fall asleep behind the wheel or have slower reaction times, leading to serious accidents and devastating injuries. The Nashville truck accident lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC assist victims of motor vehicle collisions in pursuing legal claims against those responsible for their harm.
Often, truck accident injuries require long recovery times, sometimes with victims unable to return to work for months, if at all. Our attorneys make sure that victims receive the compensation that they need to cover the costs associated with their injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident that you believe was caused by a fatigued driver, or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal collision, contact our office today to find out more about your legal rights.Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue
As massive, cumbersome vehicles, trucks involved in interstate commerce require specialized licenses to operate. Truck drivers learn specific information regarding the time that their vehicles need to brake, safe traveling distances, and other particular knowledge in order to maintain safety behind the wheel. Fatigue affects a driver’s ability to remember these concepts in the event of an emergency or react to changing conditions on the road. Fatigued drivers are more likely to act carelessly, such as forgetting to check blind spots before changing lanes or misjudging the distance between vehicles.
To prevent dangerously fatigued drivers from using the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations regarding required meal and rest breaks. Pursuant to these regulations, drivers cannot exceed 11 hours of consecutive driving time, and they also must take a rest break of 10 hours before beginning their next shift. Logbooks accounting for hours spent on the road, as well as rest and meal breaks taken, are also to be accurately recorded. Truck safety inspectors cited over 250,000 drivers for hours of service violations in 2014. Additionally, the FMCSA found that 13 percent of commercial drivers involved in truck crashes were excessively fatigued at the time of the accident.Proving Liability for Truck Accident Injuries
When a truck driver violates state or federal regulations and gets behind the wheel without proper rest, they should be held accountable for the harm that results. Victims injured by a fatigued driver typically must establish negligence in a personal injury lawsuit in order to receive compensation. Negligence is shown when an individual breaches the duty to act as a reasonable and prudent person would act under the circumstances, and that breach causes injuries as well as damages. If a truck driver fails to take required meal or rest breaks, and they fall asleep while driving as a result, that driver would likely be found accountable for an ensuing accident.
A driver’s employer trucking company may also be held vicariously liable for an employee’s negligent acts. Vicarious liability applies when an employee’s actions occurred within the scope of their employment and were taken to benefit an employer. If negligence is shown, victims can be awarded damages for past and future medical costs, diminished earning capacity, lost income, and pain and suffering. Family members of people killed in a fatal collision may file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for burial costs and loss of consortium, among other losses.Seek Guidance from a Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer in Nashville
Often, proving liability in truck accident cases involves a detailed investigation into a company’s business practices, as well as a driver’s habits on the road. A careful examination of logbooks and other evidence may be necessary. The Nashville lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have vast experience handling cases involving fatigued, drunk, or distracted drivers, working tirelessly on behalf of clients to assert their legal rights. Our firm also represents people in East Nashville, Hillsboro Village, Hermitage, Cool Springs, and Franklin, as well as other areas of Davidson and Williamson Counties. Contact our office today online or at 615-800-7096 to see how we can help.