Truck accidents involving drowsy driving are more common than you might believe but the most well-known commercial trucking accident involving drowsy driving is the accident that resulted in the death of one person and left comedian Tracy Morgan in critical condition. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the collision was caused by a fatigued truck driver who was speeding at the time of the crash without his automatic braking system engaged. Morgan and two others hired truck accidents lawyers who represented them in a lawsuit against Wal-Mart that was settled for an undisclosed amount. The family of the deceased victim, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, settled a wrongful death claim against Wal-Mart for $10 million.
The high-profile truck accident involving Tracy Morgan has brought attention to what truck accidents lawyers have known for some time — drowsy and fatigued driving is a huge problem in the trucking industry. Truck companies pressure their drivers to deliver loads faster and penalize drivers for failing to adhere to unreasonable and impossible schedules. Truck drivers feel they have no choice but to ignore the federal standards limiting work hours in order to meet deadlines and make deliveries. This results in horrific truck accidents that cause catastrophic injuries. In over 70 percent of truck accidents, the injuries and fatalities were occupants of other vehicles.
How Can Truck Accidents Lawyers Use Federal Regulations To Prove Liability?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has several regulations that specifically limit the number of hours a truck driver can drive without taking a break. The regulations are designed to prevent truck drivers from working long shifts in stressful situations that result in the drivers operating these extremely large vehicles when they are overtired and potentially drowsy. Truck drivers and their employers who violate these regulations are subject to fines and other penalties. More importantly, they put everyone at great risk when they choose to ignore the regulations that are in place to protect them and to protect others.
Sleep-deprived driving or drowsy driving has become much too common and too deadly to ignore. However, proving driver fatigue can be complicated and difficult. Truck accidents lawyers must act quickly to investigate truck accidents to identify and preserve key evidence that will prove the driver was at fault for the collision. Truck accidents lawyers understand the importance of obtaining copies of the truck driver’s log to analyze against the other evidence regarding the truck’s operation. If the truck driver was driving in excess of the time allowed by law, the driver and possibly the trucking company can be held liable for your injuries.
Commercial truck companies have a duty to ensure their truck drivers do not exceed the maximum number of working hours allowed by law. Truck accidents lawyers use driver logs, truck logs, internal documents, communication between the driver and the company, the truck’s black box, and other evidence to prove that the truck driver and/or the company violated FMCSA regulations. By proving that the driver and the company violated FMSCA regulations, truck accidents lawyers can prove that the driver was fatigued at the time of the truck accident. By driving under those conditions, the truck driver and the trucking company are liable for any damages caused by a truck accident.
Damages you may be entitled to recover in a drowsy driving truck accident include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Permanent disability, disfigurement, and/or scarring
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses
- Mental anguish, emotional suffering, and physical pain
Your truck accidents lawyers use all evidence gathered during the accident investigation to maximize your compensation. Compensation in a truck accident case can never undo the damage you have suffered; however, compensation can help you receive the medical care you need, provide for personal care, and pay bills incurred from being out of work during your recovery.
The Levinson Law Group works as a team to make our community safer from drunk, texting, and reckless drivers; to make our community better through charitable giving and volunteer work; and to fight for our clients as they heal from life-altering injuries. Your health and recovery is our top priority.