Truck driver fatigue can have tragic consequences for car drivers and occupants. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines driver fatigue as the “result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance.” According to the FMCSA, 13 percent of crashes with commercial trucks happen due to driver fatigue. Other reasons for truck driver-related crashes can include alcohol, excessive speed, and distraction. Unfortunately, when a large and heavy vehicle such as a commercial truck or big rig collides with a passenger vehicle, fatalities are common. Those who actually survive serious truck accidents could end up disabled for life. If you suffered significant injuries in a crash with a truck, you could be entitled to compensation. Our experienced semi-truck accident attorney at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can investigate your claim thoroughly, and determine whether the accident was the result of truck driver fatigue. Contact our legal team at 651-259-1113 for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal rights.
Understanding the Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue
Long hours, endless nights, and driving through monotonous landscapes can all contribute to truck driver fatigue. Even when truck drivers adhere to federal and state regulations, they could still end up fatigued and drowsy. Some of the reasons why truck drivers might be on the road fatigued can include:
- Pressure from the trucking company to deliver a shipment of cargo
- Unrealistic schedules created by the trucking company
- Skipping mandatory rest periods required under federal law
- Taking certain prescription medications
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Lacking adequate sleep overall
Truck driver fatigue can contribute to horrific accidents. In some cases, a truck driver may fall asleep at the wheel and simply run the truck off the road, which may only cause damage to the truck and injury to themselves. However, in other cases, a fatigued driver might be responsible for causing an accident involving other vehicles, with potentially devastating consequences.
Other Negligent Parties in Truck Accidents
When a victim suffers injuries related to a trucking accident resulting from truck driver fatigue, the first instinct could lead you to assume that only the truck driver is responsible and liable for the accident. While a driver can certainly be responsible if their negligence directly caused an accident, there could be other negligent parties responsible for your injuries and losses. Establishing liability in a truck accident can be legally challenging. Some of the additional parties that may be held liable under the law for a trucking accident can include the following.
The Trucking Company
In some cases, the trucking company may be responsible for a truck driver’s fatigue and any resulting accidents. Trucking companies that are focused on their profits alone may not only pressure drivers, they might even encourage them to break the law by skipping mandatory rest periods or falsifying logbook entries. A trucking company is also typically in charge of hiring and training drivers. If the company negligently hired a truck driver with a poor driving record or failed to train truck drivers adequately, the trucking company could potentially be held liable for your injuries and losses.
Another Third-Party Vendor
Truck accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. If a truck has faulty brakes or improperly loaded cargo, for example, a fatigued driver may have a delayed reaction time when trying to compensate for such sudden problems. If the company servicing and fixing the truck made a mistake, such as forgetting to inspect or repair a faulty trucking part or component, they may also bear legal responsibility for your injuries and losses. If a third-party has responsibility to load and secure the cargo in the trailer of the truck, and they do so improperly or with faulty straps or equipment, they may also be held responsible and liable for any injuries or losses that result from a trucking accident.
If your trucking accident happened as a result of hazardous or dangerous road conditions or in a construction zone operated by a government agency, you could potentially hold local government entities to account. Filing a claim against a government entity can prove legally challenging and complex.
Determining which parties have responsibility for your injuries and losses as a result of their negligence can require a substantial amount of research and may include hiring expert witnesses. In many cases, a spoliation letter must go to all potential negligent parties in order ot ensure that there is no destruction of critical evidence. If you suffered injuries or losses in a trucking accident, contact the experienced trucking accident attorneys at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law at 651-259-1113 to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Compensation You Could Recover
According to the US Department of Transportation (DOT), large truck crashes caused the death of more than 4,000 individuals in 2018 alone. Many more victims suffer from devastating, debilitating, and disabling injuries as a result of truck crashes. The physical, mental, and financial consequences for victims of truck accidents can overwhelming. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a truck accident due to truck driver fatigue and negligence, you could potentially receive compensation for the following depending on your facts and circumstances:
- Medical costs
- Future medical costs
- Lost income
- Loss of future income
- Property damage
- Transportation costs
- Physical and emotional suffering
- Costs related to a permanent disability
- Costs related to scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of life quality (pain and suffering)
In extreme cases where a truck driver or trucking company acted with wanton disregard for human life in a reckless manner, a victim may also potentially receive punitive damages in addition to other compensation awarded.
Contact an Experienced Trucking Attorney at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law
There are strict statute of limitations (deadlines) laws that require victims to file a claim in a court of law regarding their personal injury or lose their ability to do so permanently in the state of Minnesota. Contact our experienced trucking attorney at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law at 651-259-1113 to visit with a member of our legal team and to learn how you can receive justice for your injuries and losses that resulted from truck driver fatigue.