Truck Driver Fatigue
The massive size and weight of trucks can cause serious injuries when commercial drivers crash into other vehicles or people on Florida roads. These collisions are more likely to happen when a driver is too tired to operate his 18-wheeler with the alertness needed to ensure the safety of others. Victims of truck crashes caused by driver fatigue can take action to protect their rights. An important first step consists of consulting experienced Miami truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. Having represented numerous clients who have been harmed by fatigued drivers, we know the range of options available to you in seeking compensation.Why Truck Driver Fatigue Matters
People who operate commercial vehicles regularly must control trucks that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more in a variety of weather and traffic conditions. Even a small lapse in attention can lead to catastrophic and often lethal consequences when a driver loses control of the vehicle. Unfortunately, truck drivers have incentives to stay on or return to the road when they are tired. Vast distances and multiple time zones present challenges in making deliveries on time, while some employers have rules that encourage drivers to disregard fatigue.
Some federal regulations have begun to alleviate this problem. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) has instituted a 70-hour ceiling for the maximum average workweek of a truck driver. Whenever a driver works above the 70-hour maximum, he or she must have at least 34 hours of consecutive rest. Moreover, the FMSCA requires drivers to break for 30 minutes within the first eight hours of a shift. While these regulations represent important progress, they have not completely solved the problems posed by exhausted commercial drivers.Pursuing Compensation for Injured Victims of Truck Crashes
Accidents involving truck driver fatigue often give rise to personal injury actions based on negligence. You can sue a truck driver whose exhaustion-induced carelessness harmed you by showing that the driver failed to use reasonable care on the road and that the driver’s failure caused your injuries. Every driver has a duty to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle, and driving while tired is a common way in which a driver can fail to meet this duty. If you can show that the driver’s fatigue harmed you, the driver may be liable to you for compensation.
An individual driver may not be able to pay all of the damages for which you may be eligible. However, you can sue the truck company employing the driver for compensation. The company may be liable for injuries caused by the driver’s negligence if the driver was involved in the accident while acting in the scope and course of his or her employment. You also can hold the truck company directly liable for the harm that you suffered if the company failed to adequately train the driver or ensure that the driver kept appropriate working hours.
You must file a personal injury claim based on a truck crash within four years of the accident to protect your rights. Beyond this rule, you also should file your claim as soon as you can to avoid the possibility that evidence may be lost or destroyed. If it appears that someone has deliberately tampered with evidence, however, a Florida court can impose sanctions against whoever is responsible. These can extend to excluding certain testimony by expert witnesses and sometimes even entering a default judgment.
If you prevail in a truck accident lawsuit, you may be able to get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other forms of damages. Unfortunately, many people have died in truck accidents because of the severe impact from a vehicle so large. Relatives of a person whose death was caused by driver fatigue can file a wrongful death claim to recover damages. These may include hospital bills, funeral expenses, and more subjective losses such as the loss of companionship or loss of consortium associated with a loved one’s passing.Discuss Your Case With a South Florida Truck Crash Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our capable and compassionate Miami vehicle collision attorneys are ready to assist you. We have worked diligently to protect the rights of accident victims throughout the entire state of Florida, including Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. If we move forward with representing you, we will pursue the compensation that you deserve with tenacity. While we have secured many settlements satisfactory to our clients, we are ready to go to trial if the situation demands it. Call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online to set up an initial consultation with our lawyers at no cost to you.