When an accident involving a truck happens, there is a much higher risk of serious injury occurring due to the weight and size of the vehicle in addition to the weight of the load they are carrying. In St. Petersburg and throughout the State of Florida, many truck accidents happen due to truck drivers being fatigued behind the wheel. Truck operators are often required to work long hours and are under pressure to meet deadlines which results in them working through their breaks or not resting. This can cause a driver to become fatigued or fall asleep behind the wheel, which can result in a crash happening.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a St. Petersburg truck accident, you should seek the assistance of a truck accident attorney from a law group as soon as possible. Here at The Law Place, our law office has over 75 years of combined experience in multiple practice areas, meaning that you will benefit from a wide range of skills. We offer a free consultation where you can speak to a truck accident lawyer from our law firm with no strings attached. We have dealt with numerous cases involving truck accidents and have built up a great attorney-client relationship due to our high success rate.
Don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. The more time you give us to investigate your case, the better chance we have at getting you the compensation you deserve for your St. Petersburg truck accident case.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation with our office in Florida. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to fit in with your busy schedule.
Why Are St. Petersburg Truck Drivers Driving Fatigued?
It is common for truck operators to be fatigued when working in St. Petersburg, and there are several reasons for this. Some of the main reasons include:
- Employer pressure – Truck operators often face a huge amount of pressure from their employers to meet deadlines and to deliver goods on time. This can result in them taking fewer breaks to prevent their wages from being cut.
- Shortage of truck drivers – In St. Petersburg and throughout Florida, there is a shortage of truck operators on the roads. Because of this, there is more pressure put on drivers to keep up with the supply and demand. This can mean longer hours and deadlines, which can cause workers to become fatigued.
- Poor sleep – Truck operators often have to work through the night, resulting in their sleeping patterns being interrupted. If they are required to work split-shifts from one week to the next, it can take a while for their body to adjust, which can result in them becoming fatigued behind the wheel.
- Caffeinated drinks or medication – A lot of people in America use caffeinated drinks or medication to help them stay awake for work or for studying. However, these substances prevent us from noticing when our body is actually fatigued. The same applies to truck drivers who use these substances to try and stay awake for long shifts.
To reduce the number of accidents happening, the FMCSA has regulations in place that require drivers to take regular rests. These rules allow victims of trucking accidents to file a personal injury claim against both truck operators and trucking companies as it places the responsibility on them to keep the roads safe. One of our law firm’s truck accident lawyers can help you file a claim against both the truck driver and the trucking company to get you the money you are owed.
The Effect of Truck Driver Fatigue in St. Petersburg
A large number of St. Petersburg truck accidents are caused by drivers being fatigued behind the wheel. For this reason, there are federal laws called Hours of Service (HOS) that regulate:
- The number of hours that individuals are permitted to work each week.
- The amount of time workers should take off between each shift.
- The amount of time a driver is permitted to work without taking a break.
Although these regulations are put in place to prevent workers from being fatigued and to ensure safety, it is often the case that they are not followed. This is because drivers often try to increase their pay and hours by putting down false information on their driving logs, which is sometimes encouraged by the trucking company itself. This can lead to individuals either overworking or being overworked by the company and causing a truck accident due to a lack of sleep.
Why Is Driving When Fatigued So Dangerous?
Truck operators must be well-rested when operating their vehicle as fatigue can cause a driver to be less alert, have a slower reaction time, and be less cognitive. When an individual is operating large vehicles such as trucks, there is a higher risk of them causing serious damage or injury to other road users, so they must be constantly aware. Some ways that fatigue can impact a driver include:
- Less concentration or a lower attention span.
- A delay in their reaction time.
- Impaired vision and hearing.
- Worse motor skills.
- Slow reaction time.
- Driving the truck too fast or too slow.
- Agitation or aggression towards other road users, including road rage.
- Rolling at traffic signals or stops.
- Swerving between lanes.
When a truck operator is severely fatigued, they may also fall asleep behind the wheel, which poses a huge risk of an accident happening. If you have been in a St. Petersburg truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, you should speak with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to see what your options for receiving compensation may be.
Common Injuries Sustained in Truck Accidents in St. Petersburg
Depending on the severity of the truck accident and the case’s particular circumstances, a truck accident victim may suffer from serious injuries. Some typical injuries seen by truck accident lawyers in our firm include:
- Broken, fractured, or sprained bones.
- Injuries to the neck, including whiplash.
- Injuries to the brain and head, including traumatic brain injury.
- Cuts, bruises, burns, and lacerations.
- Internal bleeding.
- Injuries to the back and spinal cord.
- Damage to internal organs.
- Wrongful death.
Even if your injuries from a large truck accident weren’t too serious, it is still possible for you to file a personal injury claim for any damages you have suffered. A St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer from our firm can help guide you on what damages may be available to you for the injuries you have suffered in the truck accident.
Proving Liability for a St. Petersburg Truck Accident
In order to receive any compensation for injuries or property damage you have sustained in an accident, you must successfully demonstrate that the truck driver was negligent. If it can be shown that their lack of rest resulted in an accident happening and that accident caused you to be injured, you can claim damages from the liable party.
A St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer can help you demonstrate the following to establish liability:
- A duty of care – Throughout the State of Florida, road users automatically owe each other a duty of care to keep the roads safe and to take all necessary measures to prevent an accident from happening.
- A breach in this duty – It must be demonstrated that the truck driver breached their duty of care to you by acting negligently. Examples of negligence can include driving recklessly by failing to obey traffic signals, speeding, or driving while fatigued.
- Causation – A truck accident attorney can help you demonstrate that your injuries were caused by the breached duty.
- Damages – It is necessary to show that you suffered damages as a result of the accident in Florida, which could include personal injury, property damage, pain, and suffering, or wrongful death.
Damages Awarded Following a Commercial Truck Accident
Florida law requires that you contact your insurance company immediately following an auto accident to receive any damages. If the damages you have suffered exceed the maximum amount of coverage in your insurance policy, you can claim from the insurance companies of the other driver and the trucking company if it can be established that they are liable. However, it is often the case that insurance companies won’t pay out the compensation you are owed, or else the insurance policy doesn’t cover all of your damages. When this happens, you can file a personal injury claim to receive the compensation you deserve. Some damages that can be claimed from truck accidents include:
- Medical bills – If you have been injured in a truck accident, you can claim expenses for any medical treatment you had to undergo, including hospital appointments and transport to and from these appointments. You can also claim any future medical expenses for long-lasting injuries.
- Lost wages – If you have been left unable to work as a result of the auto accident, you can claim for any lost wages as a result, including any future earning capacity.
- Property damage – You can claim compensation for any damage to your property, including any valuable items inside your vehicle that were damaged in the accident.
- Pain and suffering – It is possible to claim for any physical or emotional distress you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. An example of this is if you have been left unable to participate in a sport or hobby that you previously enjoyed because of your injuries.
- Wrongful death – If you have lost a loved one due to a truck crash, you can file a wrongful death suit to cover funeral expenses and a loss of income to the family household.
A truck accident attorney can help you claim for any of the above damages following a truck crash in St. Petersburg. Our law firm recommends speaking with one of our injury attorneys as soon as possible to maximize your chances of receiving compensation.
How Do You Prove Driver Fatigue in a Car Accident in St. Petersburg, FL?
Cases involving fatigued commercial truck drivers can be difficult to prove as there is usually no concrete evidence that indicates that their distracted driving was caused by a lack of sleep. When these cases are brought to court, it can be difficult for a jury to determine that fatigued driving was the sole cause of the truck crash.
However, there are usually some distinguishing elements of these accidents which make it easier for truck accident attorneys to prove, including:
- The driver is alone in the large truck.
- A lack of skid marks at the scene.
- There has been no attempt to stop the commercial vehicle or avoid the crash.
- The accident happened on a high-speed road.
- The crash consisted of a single large commercial vehicle drifting off the road.
- The accident was quite serious.
It is rare for an individual to admit to being tired behind the wheel when truck accidents happen. Experienced injury lawyers can help prove that the car accident was caused by a fatigued driver by examining the evidence at the scene, speaking to any witnesses, and looking at work records. They can also look at the medical history of the driver to determine whether they were using medication to combat their fatigue.
Contact Us at The Law Place in Florida Today
Here at The Law Place, we know that accidents involving commercial vehicles can be stressful. Having to deal with your own insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver can be difficult and can often result in you not receiving the compensation you deserve for any medical treatment or damage to your property.
Individuals driving large trucks can often become fatigued, and the damage caused is usually quite severe. As stated above, it can often be difficult to prove that the crash was caused by fatigue which is why we recommend speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible. Our law firm offers a free case evaluation with one of our truck accident attorneys with no strings attached. They can offer you honest legal advice regarding your case and help you receive the money you are owed.
Our legal office has over 75 years of combined experience in multiple practice areas, including crashes involving large trucks. Our priority is always ensuring that you receive justice for truck accidents in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers. Our phone lines are open 24/7 for your convenience.