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Truck Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue

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Jeff Sevey

Have You or a Loved One Been Injured by a Fatigued Driver?

Crashes involving commercial trucks can be some of the most dangerous crashes, not to mention the most heartbreaking. What is even more heartbreaking is when the crash was due to an entirely preventable cause such as driving fatigue. Currently, fatigue is the leading cause of driving accidents. One study showed that 13 percent of commercial vehicle accidents involved a fatigued truck driver.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a crash involving a fatigued truck driver, know that there is hope. With the proper legal support, you might be able to uncover sufficient evidence to prove the negligence of the trucker at fault. However, without an experienced attorney on your side who is familiar with California law, federal regulations, and proper evidence-collecting procedures, chances are slimmer that you’ll be able to win your case.

Don’t take chances when the results are life-altering. Call our truck accident attorneys for a free consultation today at (916) 788-7100.

The Reality of Truck Driving Culture

Truck drivers live in a fast-paced world of intense deadlines and pressure to deliver. Pressure on truck drivers has been even higher in recent years due to an increased demand for shipped goods. U.S. trucking and rail-freight spending increased over 17% between 2017 and 2018. Combine that trend with the fact that the US saw its largest trucker shortage ever in 2017, and it becomes clear why truckers feel an intense strain to deliver their goods quickly.

Federal regulations have tried to reduce the dangers of trucker fatigue by placing restrictions, such as requiring that truck drivers

  • Work only 70 hours a week
  • Work only 11 hours at a time, with a mandatory 30-minute break during their shift
  • Wait 34 hours without driving before beginning a new work week.

Unfortunately, while under such harsh pressure, it is not uncommon for truckers to break federal regulations about mandatory breaks and maximum number of driving hours per week in order to meet deadlines. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2007, truckers were sleeping an average of 5 hours per night, much lower than the recommended 8 for adults. Truckers might even falsify their timecards in order to ship orders more quickly and pick up more jobs. When truck drivers push themselves to drive longer than the law permits, they can become fatigued and thus become a danger to everyone on the road--including you and your loved ones.

How dangerous is fatigued driving? Fatigue slows down reaction times, reduced vigilance, and poorer mental processing abilities. In fact, a person who goes 20 hours without sleep can be as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol concentration of .08, which is when someone is considered legally intoxicated. Even if a person doesn’t completely fall asleep, fatigue can cause small four-to-five second periods of inattentiveness. Being inattentive for a few seconds at a desk job is one issue, but being inattentive while traveling at high speeds and covering large distances can have fatal consequences.

Solutions

Since the damages resulting from truck crashes can be so drastic, you could potentially recover large sums of money to compensate for your losses. You might receive compensation for injuries such as

  • Burns
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • External organ damage, such as loss of vision, hearing, or speech ability

Beyond physical injuries, you could also be compensated for

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages (past or future)
  • Vehicular damages
  • “Pain and suffering” or “mental anguish”
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Wrongful death

However, in order to collect your damages, you must adhere to the standards of California law regarding proving negligence. In California, you need proof that the defendant was negligent, that you were harmed, and that the defendant’s negligence directly caused that harm. Those claims might seem obviously true to you, but don’t forget that physical evidence can be fleeting.

Also, don’t forget that the lawyers of both the trucking company and the trucker’s insurance company are also trying to find evidence to prove that you were at fault. California follows the comparative fault rule, which means that if you were partially at fault, the defendant owes you a smaller percentage of your damages.

Let a professional legal team be in charge of hunting the evidence so that you can spend your time and energy putting your life back together after your crash. We will help you piece together what happened in the crash and try our best to get you every bit of compensation you deserve. If necessary, we’ll file a claim for you and represent you in court.

FAQ

What should I do if I’ve been injured by a fatigued truck driver?

  • Seek out medical attention immediately. A medical professional can detect symptoms that might indicate future problems later on. Also, we’ll need your official medical reports as evidence.
  • Ask the police for a copy of the accident report.
  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s)
  • DON’T speak with an insurance representative until you have consulted with your attorney.
  • Take photos of the crash, license plates, the DOT number, weather conditions, injuries, and the people involved.
  • Get names and contact info of any witnesses
  • Afterwards, call (916) 788-7100 to set up a free consultation and we’ll take it from there.

Contact Us Today

We know just how life-shattering a truck crash can be, especially when you or your loved one were not at fault. Our attorneys have decades of experience of helping innocent victims of personal injury cases. We want to help you. To get yourself on the road to financial and emotional recovery, set up your initial consultation with us at (916) 788-7100 today.

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