If you believe truck driver fatigue was the cause of your crash, you may be able to file a claim against the trucker. However, truck accident liability could also be found with the employer if it’s discovered a driver was ordered or permitted to operate a commercial vehicle longer than allowed.
Since the trucking industry is federally regulated, these types of cases are oftentimes more complex than your average accident. Contact personal injury attorneys in Atlanta as soon as possible to discuss your case and review your rights to file a claim and recover compensation.
Federal Regulations on Truck Driver Fatigue
Not only are there rules in place regarding the number of hours a driver is allowed behind the wheel of a truck, but there are also rules regarding what a driver should do if he or she is unable to safely operate a commercial vehicle because of fatigue.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), statute §392.3, Ill or Fatigued Operator, a driver cannot continue to operate a commercial vehicle if fatigue, illness or any other cause results in impairment of driving ability or alertness. The trucker must stop driving.
The only exception would be if there is an emergency situation, in which stopping could be even more dangerous to the driver or others. Then the driver must go to the nearest possible location where the hazard or danger can be removed or corrected.
Research by the FMCSA found that the longer a driver is on the road, the risk of crashing increases, especially after the sixth hour of driving. However, taking breaks reduces these risks.
Liability for an Accident Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue
There can be all sorts of reasons that a driver would be on the road past the time allowed. Tight deadlines, working longer hours to make more money and shortage in drivers are just some possible examples.
Truck accident liability oftentimes lay with more than one party. Trucking companies may be aware, or in some cases should be aware, of truckers who are violating the hours-of-service rules established by the FMCSA. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that drivers are obeying federal rules and regulations, and they should also make sure drivers are accurately logging the time spent on the road.
When truck driver fatigue is found to be the cause of your accident, it could lead to a claim against the trucker and his or her employer. Discuss your case with personal injury attorneys in Atlanta to go over the specifics of your case.
Types of Compensation Available in a Truck Accident Claim
Some types of compensation that may be recoverable in a truck accident claim include:
- current and future medical care/treatment (emergency services, hospitalization, therapy, etc.);
- current and future lost income (or earning potential if disabled);
- disfigurement/permanent scarring;
- mental anguish;
- pain and suffering;
- funeral costs (as a result of fatal injuries); and
- other losses/expenses incurred as a result of accident.
Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem that can result in an accident that causes bodily and psychological damage. Seeking legal counsel is often helpful in order to put together a strong case against the driver and other parties that may be held liable for the accident.
Seeking Help from Personal Injury Attorneys in Atlanta
Heavy traffic and busy highways, such as the Downtown Connector, are especially dangerous when a truck driver acts in a negligent manner. But even at 30 mph, getting struck by a semi can lead to significant injuries.
If you or someone you love was a victim, contact a personal injury attorney from the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz. We can help assemble evidence to prove that your crash was caused by truck driver fatigue (404) 474-0804.