Truck Driver Fatigue
It is dangerous for any person to drive when tired or fatigued. This is especially true for those who drive tractor trailers or other commercial vehicles. The Atlanta truck accident attorneys of The Angell Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver. You may be entitled to compensation from the truck driver or his employer.Truck Drivers Must Abide by Strict Hours Limits
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency charged with regulating commercial trucking companies and drivers. According to FMCSA rules, truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after having 10 consecutive off hours. Truckers may also drive no more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days and no more than 70 hours over eight consecutive days. For drivers of vehicles that carry passengers, as opposed to property, the limits are even more stringent.People Injured in Truck Accidents May be Able to File a Negligence Lawsuit
A driver who violates FMCSA hours limits and causes an accident can be held accountable for his actions. Georgia law may also hold the truck driver’s employer liable. One way in which an injured person can seek compensation is by filing a negligence lawsuit against the truck driver and/or his employer. To prevail in the case, the plaintiff must prove:
- The truck driver, his employer, or both owed a duty to the plaintiff;
- The defendant(s) breached that duty; and
- That breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
All truck drivers and trucking companies have a duty to go about their business reasonably, which means drivers not driving when tired, following the rules with regard to driving time limits, and keeping truthful and accurate logbooks. If a trucker or his employer fails to live up to any of these or other responsibilities, they may be held liable for injuries caused in any resulting accidents.
Many truck driver logs are now kept electronically. When an accident occurs, the trucking company, its insurance company, and its attorneys are notified immediately, and the logs become important evidence. In order to avoid this evidence from being lost or deleted, a person injured in a truck accident should contact an experienced lawyer right away.Damages Are Available to Prevailing Plaintiffs
If a person injured by a fatigued truck driver files a successful lawsuit, she can be entitled to damages from the liable defendants. Defendants may have to pay money to reimburse the plaintiff for property damage, past and future medical bills, and past and future lost wages. In addition, plaintiffs who have suffered from emotional distress or pain and suffering can collect compensation for those damages.
In some cases a defendant who acted with a conscious disregard for the consequences of his actions may be subject to punitive damages. This fact must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.Protect Yourself From Fatigued Truckers
Trucking companies and truck drivers who try to make money while putting other people at risk should be held accountable for their actions. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, you have a right to seek compensation. The Atlanta truck accident lawyers of The Angell Law Firm can help you seek the maximum compensation allowed under Georgia law. Call (678) 648-7765 or email us to schedule a free consultation.