San Antonio Driver Fatigue Accident Attorney
Helping Victims Pursue Compensation Following Truck Accident Injuries
There are a variety of factors capable of causing commercial trucking accidents. One of the more common causes of commercial truck accidents is driver fatigue. Various steps have been taken by the employers of “company drivers” to ensure that their truckers do not succumb to fatigue, then get into driver fatigue accidents. The most obvious reason for driver fatigue is the logging of too many driving hours combined with too little sleep. For such cases, you will need an experienced driver fatigue accident attorney in San Antonio.
Contact the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, P.C. today to schedule your free initial consultation. Our firm is here to help.
What Causes Driver Fatigue Accidents?
As of 2005, federal regulation prohibits commercial truck drivers from logging more than 10 consecutive hours on duty. Similarly, commercial truck drivers are also prohibited from driving for more than 11 hours in a single day. Commercial truck drivers are prohibited from accumulating more than 60 hours of driving time for a single week. Similarly, they are prohibited from accumulating more than 70 hours of driving time over the course of 8 consecutive days. In addition to the aforementioned federal regulations, commercial truck drivers may also have to abide by specific state regulations.
In order to ensure that commercial truck drivers are adhering to federal and state regulations, employers require their drivers to maintain a log in which they document hours/miles on the road, driving start/stop times, and hours of sleep attained. Unfortunately, the logs are not a foolproof method of monitoring driver adherence to drive time regulations as logs are often manipulated or faked after the fact.
Regardless of the federal and state restrictions, commercial truck drivers often find themselves on strict transportation deadlines. Delays are commonplace and can significantly alter a commercial truck driver’s schedule. Drivers might opt to bypass the regulations in order to meet these deadlines. It is during times like these where driver fatigue accidents are more likely to occur.
How Will a Lawyer Help with These Cases?
A truck accident case can become incredibly complex due to the number of parties involved. In many cases, you will be dealing with the truck driver and the trucking company as well as their insurance carrier and legal team. Your attorney will be the one to represent you against well-funded defendants.
Your driver fatigue accident attorney will:
- Obtain all evidence related to the crash, including video and photographic evidence, eyewitness statements, police reports, and more
- Obtain all driver and truck company safety records and maintenance logs
- Secure your medical records and ensure they are evaluated by a trusted healthcare professional
- Negotiate with all parties involved to secure a settlement that covers all of your accident-related expenses
Truck driver fatigue can lead to serious accidents. While most trucks are generally safe, we do know that there were around 148,000 people injured and 4,761 people killed in large truck crashes during the latest reporting year in the US, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). We know that a fully loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and inflict serious damage and injuries.
Victims of significant accidents like those resulting from truck driver fatigue may experience serious injuries such as:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
These injuries require immediate and often extensive medical care. Unfortunately, victims are often temporarily or permanently disabled. This can lead to a victim losing their job and the income they need to support themselves and their family. If long-term care is necessary, a victim’s medical expenses can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Will the Truck Driver or the Trucking Company Be Held Liable?
One of the most important parts of a commercial truck accident case is determining who is liable. While a fatigued driver case may mean the driver is responsible for the crash, this usually means that the trucking company (if they are not an independent operator) is also responsible. Truck companies are required to carry much more insurance than regular passenger vehicle drivers to cover accidents, whether they are caused by the driver’s actions or due to mechanical failure.
When you are seeking an insurance settlement from the insurance carrier or through a jury verdict, it will usually be through the truck company’s insurance policy. In some instances, other parties may be held liable, including the truck manufacturer or the company responsible for maintaining the vehicle.
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