Truck Driver Fatigue May Cause an Accident

Most people experience some degree of fatigue in the workplace from time to time. For a fast food worker, this may result in a customer's order being filled incorrectly. For truck drivers who operate big rigs that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, the results of fatigued driving can cause much more than an annoyance.

Accidents caused by truck driver fatigue may result in devastating injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been hurt by someone else's negligent driving, the truck accident lawyers at Heller & Heller, P.A., can help you seek compensation from the responsible party. We represent victims in Coral Springs and throughout South Florida.

Proving Truck Driver Fatigue and Negligence

According to the United States Department of Transportation, approximately 4,000 people are killed in large truck crashes annually, and driver fatigue is one of the top causes. Because of this, the federal government (and some state agencies as well) have imposed "hours of service" rules that limit the number of hours a trucker can work during a given period and set mandatory rest breaks and restart periods. Unfortunately, however, these laws are often broken, resulting in tragic accidents. Fatigue decreases a trucker's reaction time and judgment. In the worst-case scenario, it may even result in a truck driver falling asleep at the wheel of an 18-wheeler.

  • To prove a negligence case against a trucker or trucking company, a plaintiff must first show that he or she was owed a legal duty of care. Next, there must be proof that the defendant breached the duty. Third, the plaintiff must establish a causal connection between the defendant's breach of duty and the crash in which he or she was harmed. Finally, the plaintiff must show that he or she sustained actual "damages," which is a legal term for costs and losses.
  • In negligence cases, some of the damages that may be recovered by an injured individual include property damage, lost income, loss of future earning capacity due to permanent disability, past medical expenses, reasonable and necessary medical treatment expenses that may be incurred in the future, and pain and suffering.
  • As with the other elements of negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the damages to which he or she may be entitled by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that each element is more likely than not to be true.

Personal injury cases are governed by statutes of limitations that restrict the time period for filing a lawsuit. In Florida, the limitations period for wrongful death cases is much shorter than the period for an ordinary personal injury claim. In some situations, there may be other time limits that may further decrease the time for filing suit. Because of this, and also because of the possibility of spoliation of evidence and other factors that could weaken a victim's case, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a truck accident.

Contact Us to Protect Your Rights

If your family has been affected by a collision in which driver fatigue may have been a factor, you should talk to a lawyer about your options. An experienced attorney can gather records and other documentation concerning the accident, helping to build a case not only against the driver but possibly also against his or her employer. Send us an email or call us at 954-228-5940 to set up a free consultation.