Driver fatigue is extremely common in truck drivers. Most commercial truck drivers have to spend full days at the wheel, driving for over 10 hours a day. In the case of long-haul drivers, hours can rise up to 11 hours for several days in a row. As a result, this can increase the risk of serious injury accidents on the road. Accidents involving trucks have much more severe consequences because of the weight and size of a truck and its cargo.
Due to this, the restrictions placed upon commercial truck drivers and the laws around what happens when they crash are a lot more complex than a car accident between two normal citizens. When it comes to commercial truck accidents where the driver is being accused of being fatigued, it can be extremely difficult to investigate thoroughly. The investigations can be expensive, and the case can be a lengthy one.
If you have been in a Fort Myers truck accident involving a fatigued driver, you might want to enlist a lawyer experienced in truck accident law to help you get the compensation you deserve. At The Law Place, our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers is on hand to offer you legal advice when you need it most. The Law Place offers a free consultation of your case during this you will receive free unbiased and honest advice regarding what we think you should do and where you stand in terms of a claim. Our phone lines are open 24/7 for your convenience, so contact us today on (941) 444-4444.
What Are the Main Causes of Truck Accidents?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) releases data on different accident factors yearly. The safety administration also outlines a list of regulations truck companies should adhere to so any deviance from this could be grounds for a claim. According to the data, the top nine factors involved in causing a truck accident are:
- Issues with brakes not working, e.g. having worn brake pads or faulty mechanisms. This can then lead to a negligence accusation on the part of the mechanic and/or the truck company who are meant to carry out necessary checks, or the driver if it is their job to check the quality of their brakes.
- Prescription drugs causing side effects that can impair the driving ability of the motorist, either known or unknown about.
- Rear ending pile-ups that have already happened in the road where the driver doesn’t have enough time to brake.
- Speeding, this could be other going above the legal limit or faster than conditions allow.
- Not being familiar with the route they’re driving.
- Problems on the road, e.g., potholes, road works, dead or alive animals in the road, or debris.
- Drivers attempting to stop for unexpected hazards like pedestrians crossing suddenly or children/animals running into the road.
- A lack of concentration.
- Fatigue. If a truck driver is fatigued, then they are less able to respond to hazards in the road quickly and responsibly.
Just like with any other vehicle crash, sometimes the driver is at fault, sometimes the person who has been injured is at fault, most of the time the fault lies somewhere in between.
Commercial drivers have a tough job; every single day, they have to face the same dangers that other road users have to face. As well as facing these problems, they are often pressured by the fact they are often paid by the load, so to make more money, they may speed or be more stressed, causing a lack of judgment.
They also might drive for longer hours than they should. All truck drivers should follow a strict rest period law, which means after a certain number of hours driving, they have to take a rest for a certain period by law. This should be recorded and be monitored. This responsibility is on both the driver and the company they are working for.
Negligence isn’t the only cause of truck accidents either; if a truck is not loaded correctly or if nobody has performed the necessary vehicle health checks, then mechanical break downs and shifts in weight can cause accidents. When you have a 40-tone vehicle, this can be catastrophic.
No matter the cause of your accident, if you sustain an injury or damage to your vehicle, it is important to seek legal help from a trusted law firm, such as The Law Place, to ensure you receive any compensation you may deserve, whether you are the driver or the victim.
Driver Fatigue and Its Contribution to Accidents
The biggest cause of truck accidents is due to driver fatigue. Driver fatigue leads to thousands of avoidable accidents every single year in Florida alone. To help counteract this there are federal trucking laws knows as Hours of Service (HOS) which are regulations that govern:
- How much time a driver can drive their truck in a single period before taking a rest.
- How much time a truck driver needs to take off between each shift.
- How many hours a week, a truck driver is allowed to work.
Often, truck drivers will lie on their driving logs in order to drive for longer and earn more money. Some companies even encourage this even though it is against the law.
Fatigue happens for a number of reasons; the most common we see in Sarasota are:
- Driving for long stretches at night.
- Driving schedules that are erratic and have no schedule.
- Bad health habits of drivers like poor eating and lack of exercise.
- Having to help load and unload the truck for the customers or businesses.
Fatigue is so dangerous that The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) released data that suggests that fatigue plays a part in over 30% of trucking accidents.
How a Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer Investigates
The investigation of a Tampa truck accident will entail several different elements.
The very first and arguably most important step is to analyze the state of the tuck post-crash. Every commercial truck should have a black box installed in it. This will provide crucial information on the crash in a similar way to how a plane would. Such an investigation needs to be carried out by a professional, but this can be expensive. For this reason, many firms will use sub-par investigators to save money, but this can seriously jeopardize your claim. When it comes to a settlement, this can have a negative impact on any sum compensated.
Here at The Law Place, in Tampa, Florida, our law firm will only use the best reconstructions and investigators available for your case. We believe in doing things properly so that you can get the compensation you deserve; we will not cut corners just to save money. Our years of experience handling Tampa truck accidents have obtained results that get our client’s the justice they deserve and leave them happy in the knowledge they had a supportive personal injury lawyer fighting for them.
We have recovered thousands for our clients involved in a Tampa truck accident, call today for a free case evaluation and consultation with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney. Phone lines are open 24/7.
Common Damages Available Following a Truck Accident
Similar to any other personal injury case, anybody injured through no fault of their own is entitled to seek compensation for any damages they have received. Such examples include:
- Medical bills – Any bills that you have to pay after acquiring an injury caused by somebody else. Projected medical bills expected in the future can also be accounted for.
- Surgery and other medical costs – If, after your accident, you get surgery or require physio, etc. then the other party will have to pay for these costs.
- Nursing home care costs – If the truck accident has caused the victim to have to be moved into a nursing or assisted living home due to their injuries, all costs involved will be claimable through damages.
- Loss of wages – For the time that you or your loved one have to spend off work due to the truck accident, you will be able to claim for all lost earnings from this period. Similarly, if you cannot return back to work, you can claim for any future losses of earnings.
- Pain and suffering – This involves any physical or mental suffering caused by the truck accident. This is difficult to quantify and translate into monetary compensation, so it is best to hire a personal injury lawyer to claim for such damages.
- Loss of enjoyment in life – If you or your loved one can now no longer take part in activities you once enjoyed, such as playing a sport or playing an instrument, after the truck accident, this is an instance of loss of enjoyment. An accident lawyer could calculate this and put forward a claim for you.
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring – If you are left permanently disfigured or scarred after a truck accident in Florida, then an accident attorney could calculate compensation for you for this.
- Wrongful death – In the unfortunate case, you lose a loved one after a car accident, then you could get damages for loss of consortium or for the funeral expenses. If your loved one passed away in a Fort Myers truck accident, then an accident attorney could recover damages from the insurance company in a wrongful death lawsuit under Florida Statute 768.21.
In extreme cases, the court may decide to award punitive damages, and these happen when the driver acted in the following ways:
- They have shown a blatant disregard for human safety.
- They caused the damage intentionally.
In these cases, the court will award punitive damages as a punishment. This is to discourage them from committing the same crimes in the future. These fees are usually much higher than your usual liability settlements.
For the best chance at being awarded damages after a car accident in Fort Myers, you should enlist the aid of an experienced attorney at The Law Place to fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a Law Suit in Fort Myers, FL?
After being involved in a truck accident in Fort Myers, it is vital that you consider hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. There is a statute of limitations in place in Florida per Florida Statute 95.11. This law expresses that you only have four years from the date of the accident to make a claim. Otherwise, it will forever be barred, and you will not be able to get the compensation you may deserve. If a wrongful death lawsuit is to be put forward, you will have two years.
It is also important you get medical attention as soon as possible. If two weeks elapse, an insurance company may argue that your injuries must not be serious enough to put a claim forward if you did not seek all the proper medical attention.
Contact The Law Place today for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been involved in a Fort Myers truck accident.
Speak to The Law Place Today!
The Law Place law firm has a wealth of knowledge and experience dealing with accidents just like yours. We know that when an accident occurs, you need a safe pair of hands to take care of the investigation while you focus on your recovery. Each of our lawyers builds a strong attorney-client relationship to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you are searching for an accident lawyer in Fort Myers, Florida, then call us today to receive a free consultation. We can discuss your case and advise whether we believe you have a strong claim to go forwards with. Call us on (941) 444-4444; our phone lines are open 24/7.