Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that as many as 4,000 people lose their lives as a result of truck accident-related injuries on a yearly basis. Further data reveals that many of those truck accidents are caused by truck driver fatigue. In an effort to combat this pattern, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drafted a series of regulations that truck drivers must follow. Failing to adhere to these rules, especially those regarding hours of service, can have devastating consequences for victims and their families, so if you or a loved one were recently injured in a truck accident that you have reason to believe was caused by a truck driver falling asleep at the wheel, it is crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you seek compensation for your losses.
Fatigue is the term used to describe the point at which physical or mental exertion impairs a person’s reaction time and decision making abilities. Fatigue can be annoying in day to day life, causing employees to nod off at their desk or have trouble getting up in the morning. However, fatigue while driving can be deadly, especially for drivers who operate large vehicles, such as semi-trucks. It is even estimated that more than ten percent of truck drivers who were involved in accidents were fatigued at the time of the crash. Fatigue can have a number of different causes, but the most common include:
- A lack of sleep;
- Long hours with no breaks;
- A poor diet;
- Health problems, such as sleep apnea;
- Taking prescription or over the counter medications; and
- Strenuous activity.
In response to the high number of fatigue-related car accidents, the FMCSA formulated specific regulations to which truck drivers must adhere. For example, these rules require drivers to take regular breaks and prohibit them from driving more than a certain number of hours per week. As a result, drivers who violate these rules may be held liable for the injuries caused by their negligent actions. However, it can be difficult to prove that another driver’s fatigue was the cause of a crash. For this reason, it is important to collect a few pieces of key evidence, including:
- The responding police officer’s accident report;
- The results of a commercial motor vehicle exam, which requires the review of a driver’s log books;
- The driver’s receipts;
- Information recorded on in-vehicle technologies; and
- The truck driver’s medical examination report.
Collecting extensive evidence can make all the difference in the success of a plaintiff’s case as those who are able to establish another driver’s negligence may be able to collect compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you live in Philadelphia and were recently injured in a truck accident, please contact the legal team at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin by calling (215) 486-0123 and we’ll help you schedule a free consultation.