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Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Facts and Legal Consequences You Should Know About

truck driver fatigue accident lawyers
Truck drivers are an important part of our economy, moving essential goods and products all across our nation. But even with all the experience these drivers have, they are not immune to the stress and fatigue that follow such long hours on the road. In fact, fatigued driving is a top cause of numerous devastating trucking accidents.

If you are a victim of an accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, you should not have to take the full blow of the repercussions on your own. You might not be able to avoid having to deal with recovering from your injuries, but you don’t have to be the one to pay for your treatment. You deserve justice and compensation for all of the losses you endured. That is why the law firm of Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, is here, ready to take on this legal fight on your behalf and go after the financial compensation you deserve.

Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC – Who We Are and What We Do

Attorney Levik Yarian, the founder of Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, has been repeatedly recognized as one of the top trial lawyers in the greater Los Angeles area. His list of accolades includes the prestigious “Super Lawyer” recognition, a 4.9 Martindale-Hubbell rating, which is the gold standard for attorney ratings, and a membership with the Esteemed Lawyers of America (ELOA), which is a directory of reputable legal professionals.

Mr. Yarian’s success is a testament not just to his skill, but to his commitment to getting accident victims the justice they deserve and the money they require to move on with their lives after accidents caused by others’ wrongdoings. Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers’ priority is to achieve the best outcomes possible for its clients.

Through their dedicated representation, the firm’s attorneys have collected millions of dollars on their clients’ behalf through jury verdicts and settlement awards, including a recent $8.25 million judgment for a trucking accident. If you have been injured in a truck accident, reach out to Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC.

Drowsy Driving and the Trucking Industry Statistics

Studies in the United States show that driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of accidents involving large trucks.

In fact:

  • According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), around 750 people are killed and fatigued truck drivers harm over 20,000 each year.
  • Truck driver fatigue is a contributing factor in 30 to 40 percent of all heavy truck accidents.
  • The FMCSA estimates that truck crash risk doubles from the eighth to the tenth hour of driving and doubles again from the tenth to the eleventh hour.

Common Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue

Fatigue is the result of mental or physical exertion that impairs function. Truck driver fatigue is often the result of extended work hours, lack of adequate sleep, and strenuous work or non-work activities. It may result from a combination of these factors.

While there are federal laws in place that limit the number of hours truck drivers may drive in one stretch, trucking accidents due to fatigue still happen and often result because of the following:

Long Hours

Even though truck drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive straight, operating a truck for 11 hours per day is still a long time. Add in the fact that truckers often have to drive for these long periods back-to-back for a few days, and it should come as no surprise that fatigued driving can occur.

Lack of Sleep

Many truckers have irregular schedules, which may cause sleeping issues when they are not driving. As a result of the inconsistency, when these drivers have a break, they might not sleep when they have the chance. No one ensures that truckers rest on their off-hours. In some instances, truck drivers may be tempted to turn to drugs, alcohol, or other substances to help them sleep. However, when they wake up, these substances can backfire, impairing their response time, reflexes, judgment, and driving ability.

Another 30 percent of truck drivers have also admitted using amphetamines to help them feel more alert, but this does not necessarily help with their driving abilities. In truth, it can even lead to impaired driving.

Pressure to Meet Tight Deadlines

Truck drivers are often pressured to meet deadlines and get to a location on time, no matter what setbacks arise on the road, such as accidents and weather delays. Consequently, truck drivers may decide to drive past their limits, ignore breaks, and forgo sleep to drive through the night to try to meet their delivery deadline.

Relaxed State Laws

If a truck driver does not drive across state lines, they will not have to adhere to federal regulations. Rather, they generally will only need to follow state regulations, which may be more relaxed than federal standards.

Who is Responsible for a Fatigued Truck Driver Accident?

Truck drivers are responsible for operating their vehicles safely on the roads. This means they need to do whatever they can to avoid ending up fatigued behind the wheel. If these drivers fail to take these actions, they can be held responsible for any accidents and injuries they cause to others.

However, truck drivers are not the only ones who can be held liable for trucking crashes.

In addition, these parties can also be found responsible for a truck accident, even if the truck driver was driving while fatigued:

  • The trucker’s employer
  • Third-party drivers who violate the rules of the road
  • Maintenance companies responsible for taking care of the truck
  • Manufacturing and design companies responsible for any defect in the truck that caused the accident
  • Negligent cargo loading companies that improperly load the truck and contribute to an accident
  • Government entities responsible for maintaining road conditions, traffic signals, road construction signs, and traffic designs

Determining who all may cause a truck accident is not easy and often requires a thorough investigation into the crash to figure out exactly what happened and who was at fault. Because of this, reach out to the experienced truck accident lawyers at Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, as soon as possible after your truck accident.

The legal team at Yarian can perform an independent investigation into the truck crash, figure out how the accident occurred, and make sure to pursue compensation for your injuries and harms from all those responsible for the accident.

Proving an Accident Was Due to Truck Driver Fatigue

If you believe your truck accident was due to truck driver fatigue, you will need to produce evidence to prove as much to recover compensation. Unfortunately, proving drowsy driving can be complicated even with the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer. Get a lawyer on the case as soon as possible so they can promptly send the trucking company a spoliation letter, which provides notice to the other party that they must preserve relevant evidence. This can preserve that critical evidence , including:

The Truck Driver’s Logbook

According to federal regulations, truckers need to maintain a logbook containing information regarding how long they have been driving in each sitting and how long they have taken for breaks. This means this book can serve as evidence to help show that the truck driver violated the federal hours of service regulations and was likely fatigued.

However, a skilled truck accident attorney knows that, on occasion, truck drivers and trucking companies alter these books after an accident or fill them with false information, or to get rid of information. Attorneys often compare other documents to this logbook to determine whether or not the books were cooked.

The Truck’s Monitoring System

Many new trucks come with special systems that record how long a truck is in motion. Many experienced truck accident lawyers know about these systems and can obtain records for the day of the crash and the days leading up to the collision to show how much the trucker drove per day.

Receipts and Other Documents

A skilled truck accident lawyer can also review the trucker’s receipts to verify what they were doing at certain times of the day. This can help the attorney verify if their driver’s logbook is accurate and whether these truckers were getting the appropriate amount of rest. The receipts that are usually the most helpful include toll receipts, gas receipts, meal receipts, convenience store receipts, and bills of lading.

In addition, cell phone data can also help a truck accident attorney verify the trucker’s whereabouts at any given time. A lawyer can compare this data to the other evidence to determine whether the truck driver violated the federal hours-of-service regulations.

What Should You Do Following an Accident Caused by a Fatigued Truck Driver?

If you are in a trucking accident due to a fatigued truck driver, you might not know right away that this was the cause of the accident. However, following a truck collision, take as many of the following steps as you can to protect your health and safety, and legal rights:

Contact 911 After the Truck Accident

Immediately after your trucking accident, you need to call 911. This is the quickest way to alert authorities of the truck crash, get the accident on record, and notify emergency medical personnel that you or someone else at the scene needs immediate medical help.

Once the police arrive, they can perform an initial investigation into the accident and write down their findings in a police report. If you decide to pursue a legal claim after your truck crash, this report can provide your attorney with helpful details regarding the accident that can help your attorney gather evidence to show the collision was due to drowsy or tired driving.

Gather Evidence From the Scene

If it is safe to do so, you should gather evidence from the crash scene. With everyone carrying a smartphone these days, the easiest evidence to collect is photos and videos. Photos and videos of the scene, your visible injuries, the vehicles involved in the accident, their placement on the road, damage to your car, skid marks on the street, traffic signs near the area, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and any other features of the accident scene can be extremely valuable to proving your claim.

Get Driver Information

Try to exchange information with all those involved in the crash. Ask for names, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and contact information. As you are getting these details, be careful about what you say. Do not make any definitive statements about the trucking collision, take the blame for anything that happened, or even nominally apologize for anything. These comments can end up hurting your claim and how much money you can collect from the other side.

Contact Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, and Get the Legal Help You Need

Finally, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, as soon as possible after your trucking accident. Determining if your truck accident was due to a fatigued truck driver can be a complicated matter, requiring detailed evidence and sound legal arguments. You are much better equipped to handle this complex legal battle with an experienced truck accident attorney on your side

Once you contact Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers in your truck accident case, we can evaluate your case, determine the viability of your claim, and help figure out your legal options. If you retain us to represent you, we can investigate the trucking accident, secure the evidence needed to prove fault and damages, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident because of a fatigued truck driver, do not wait any longer to get the legal help you need. Instead, reach out to Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, today for a free case evaluation.

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