The shortage of truck drivers is a national concern because companies that need drivers to deliver cargo often have to rely on existing drivers, who may be overworked and already at the limits allowed by federal law. Even when drivers are able to stay within federal requirements, they can frequently be exhausted by the demands placed on them and much more likely to suffer from driver fatigue, often referred to as “drowsy driving.”
If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a commercial truck accident possibly caused by a fatigued driver in Fort Lauderdale or a surrounding area of Florida, do not wait to seek legal representation. An experienced attorney will know how to help you pursue all of the compensation that you are entitled to.
The record of success for Rosen & Ohr, P.A. includes several multimillion dollar and six-figure settlements and verdicts for our clients. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
What Are Trucker Rest Requirements?
The Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule published in the Federal Register establishes three limits all commercial drivers are required to comply with. A driver is allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours to drive as much as 11 hours when they have been off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. A driver cannot operate again until they have been off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
A driver is not permitted to drive if more than eight hours have passed since the end of their last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. A driver must be off duty for another 10 consecutive hours before driving again.
If a company does not operate vehicles every day of the week, the maximum amount of time a driver can operate is 60 hours in seven consecutive days. When a company does operate vehicles every day of the week, drivers can work up to 70 hours in eight consecutive days.
How Does the Trucker Shortage Affect Driving Ability?
The trucking industry’s driver shortage forces many companies to push drivers to operate in violation of federal law. Some companies may forge driving and rest logs to create the appearance of adherence to the Hours of Service regulations.
When any driver has operated at the maximum limits allowed or beyond those limits, they are much more likely to be prone to exhaustion. A tired driver is a dangerous driver.
When a commercial truck driver suffers from fatigue, they may not be able to react as quickly as they need to in certain situations. Another very common danger involves these drivers simply falling asleep behind the wheel, which can cause trucks to swerve into other lanes of traffic, fail to brake for stopped traffic, and other errors that cause devastating crashes.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigue
Common kinds of injuries stemming from commercial truck crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Neck injuries
- Burn injuries
- Muscle strains
Injuries in crashes caused by tired truckers are often more severe because a fatigued driver may not brake, swerve, or take other evasive actions before impact.
Some injuries can prove to be fatal. The family members of people killed in truck accidents may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent parties.
Who Is at Fault for Truck Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers?
A commercial truck accident is not the same as a typical car crash. A truck crash could potentially involve multiple liable parties, depending on the cause of a crash.
Some possible liable parties might include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Truck and trailer owners
- Governmental entities
- Truck part manufacturers
- Shipping agencies
- Cargo loading companies
- Maintenance companies
- Other drivers
Truck drivers themselves are often at fault, but rarely have the personal wealth or assets to satisfy the amount of compensation needed for truck accident injuries. Employers are frequently to blame for accidents caused by driver fatigue and can often be held liable under the theory of “respondeat superior,” which allows an employer to be held liable for the acts of its employees.
When to Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Florida?
After any kind of commercial truck crash, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. In most cases, victims will be contacted soon after their accidents by insurance companies for the truck involved.
The representative for the insurer will often be exceptionally friendly and will usually express some kind of willingness to work with you and take care of you. You should take all of these claims with an enormous grain of salt. All insurance company representatives are committed only to achieving the outcome that best bolsters their bottom line, and that usually involves paying you as little as possible.
A claims adjuster may ask you to provide a recorded statement, and you should always decline. Recorded statements are often used as opportunities to get victims to unknowingly say things that later hurt their injury claims.
In other cases, an insurance company may quickly offer you a lump sum settlement to resolve your case. You are right to wonder if you are truly being offered a fair settlement, as chances are very good that it is probably nowhere near what you are actually entitled to.
You should involve your own lawyer as soon as possible in your case so they can handle all conversations with insurers on your behalf. Your attorney will be able to accurately gauge the true value of your case and then work toward recovering that amount.
How Can Truck Accident Attorneys in Hollywood, FL, Rosen & Ohr Law Help Me?
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a truck crash involving a fatigued driver in the greater Fort Lauderdale area? Make sure that you talk to a lawyer before you speak to any insurance company.
Rosen & Ohr, P.A. has been helping residents of and visitors to Florida for nearly a half-century. We can discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation.