Los Angeles truck drivers face enormous pressure to complete jobs as quickly as possible, and truck drivers often sacrifice rest to complete jobs more quickly. Truck accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers can cause severe injuries and fatalities. Commercial trucks are incredibly large, many weighing over 80,000 pounds, making their destructive capabilities all the more dangerous. It only takes seconds for a fatigued truck driver to fall asleep at the wheel and cause a devastating multi-vehicle accident.
If you have experienced a severe injury, or your family member has died in a fatigued truck driver accident, SoCal Injury Lawyers is here to help. Our legal team will investigate your case and advocate for your right to compensation. We will negotiate fiercely on behalf of our clients, and our legal team has a proven track record of obtaining compensation for those we represent. Don’t delay; reach out to our Los Angeles personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
Causes of Fatigued Truck Driver Accidents
There are many reasons that truck drivers can become fatigued. Federal law requires commercial truck drivers to limit the hours they drive without stopping to rest. Once commercial drivers have been on the road for fourteen hours, they must stop and take a break. Additionally, federal law prohibits commercial truck drivers from driving more than 60 hours in one week or over 70 hours in 8 days. Even when truck drivers follow federal and state laws, they can become exhausted after driving 60 hours a week. In many cases, truck drivers will drive 70 hours in 8 days, making them susceptible to falling asleep or losing focus at the wheel.
Truck drivers often have an irregular schedule, in which they drive during the night, or work several days in a row with very little sleep. The lack of a routine when it comes to sleeping and a lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus and pay attention while driving. Some truck drivers use sleep aids to help them fall asleep, causing impaired reflexes, response times, and judgment when they wake up and start driving. Similarly, some truck drivers use amphetamines or another type of “upper” to wake them up and help them feel more alert. Unfortunately, these substances can also lead to impaired driving.
Truck Drivers Are Often Under Extreme Pressure
Trucking companies have been known to set unreasonable deadlines for their employees. These unreasonable deadlines make commercial truck drivers more likely to speed, drive longer without taking breaks, or violate federal rules. Many truck drivers receive payment by the mile rather than by the hour. When a traffic jam, construction accident, or other delay causes them to slow down, they often feel compelled to drive for longer than they should to make up for the lost time. The sooner truck drivers complete one job, the sooner they can take on another job and earn more. All of these factors contribute to fatigued truck driver accidents in California.
Proving the Liability of a Fatigued Truck Driver
Driver fatigue can be challenging to prove in a personal injury lawsuit. Many commercial truck collisions and rollovers involve fatigue as the leading cause of the accident. However, there are often additional contributing factors such as poor judgment and slow reflexes that are the immediate cause of the accident. Injured parties have to prove that the truck driver’s fatigue and negligent driving caused the accident that resulted in their personal injuries in order to win damages.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is incredibly important when it comes to proving driver fatigue. SoCal Injury Lawyers has the experience and the professional network required to investigate thoroughly the truck accident that caused your injuries. We will investigate the accident and seek to find witnesses who may have noticed, for example, the truck driver weaving in and out of lanes.
Investigating Evidence of Driver Fatigue
Additionally, if you stop to exchange information with the truck driver, you may notice signs of fatigue, such as hesitant speech, stumbling, blurriness, or appearing disoriented or tired. Try to pay attention to the driver’s actions and statements as much as possible. It’s wise to mention signs of fatigue to the law enforcement officer at the accident scene. The statements contained in the police report can serve as important evidence when seeking an insurance settlement or in a personal injury lawsuit.
Our lawyers will also investigate the records of the truck driver. Truck drivers are required to record the hours they drive. Newer commercial trucks typically have built-in systems that record how long a truck driver has been behind the wheel. Other trucks have a logbook, and truck drivers manually enter the hours they drive. While truck drivers track their mileage, not their hours, the mileage calculations can be used to estimate how long they drove at one time. Truck records often indicate that the truck driver failed to take enough breaks, causing fatigue.
Recovering Damages After a Commercial Truck Accident
When a fatigued truck driver causes an accident, the truck driver and his or her employer may be liable for damages. Commercial trucking companies have a legal duty to hire safe drivers. Employers must ensure that commercial truck drivers stop driving and take breaks when required to do so. When there is evidence that the trucking company overscheduled their drivers or didn’t properly monitor the number of hours their drivers were on the road, it can be held liable for the truck accident.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or your loved one has suffered injuries in a truck accident caused by a distracted driver, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced lawyer. Contact SoCal Injury Lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how to advocate for your right to compensation.