Commercial truck drivers are entrusted with operating heavy vehicles on roadways with much smaller cars. Accordingly, they must undergo substantial training and adhere to strict safety regulations when behind the wheels. Despite this, crashes involving commercial trucks are common on local highways. Sadly, many of these collisions are caused by driver fatigue and could be avoided.
If you were involved in a fatigued truck driver accident in Sandusky, get legal advice from the team at Tittle & Perlmuter. One of our experienced attorneys can help you pursue compensation for your losses from the at-fault parties, whether it be the trucker, his or her employer, or both.
Truckers often have tight schedules and are expected to deliver their loads within a narrow time window. Sadly, some trucking companies might schedule load deliveries without considering the driver’s wellbeing. Highway construction, road closures, bad weather, and other circumstances outside of a driver’s control could leave them behind schedule and feeling that they need to make up time.
To combat driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued detailed work rules, including the following:
However, even truckers who strictly abide by these rules could be overly fatigued. For example, the driver might not sleep well during his rest periods, leaving him drowsy while driving. Even a well-rested driver could feel fatigued at the end of an 11-hour shift.
Driver fatigue could constitute negligence, making an overtired trucker liable for damages after a collision. However, injured victims and their attorney must first prove the trucker’s fatigue. At Tittle & Perlmuter, our local attorneys often use the following types of evidence to prove truck driver fatigue:
Additionally, commercial truckers must log their hours to establish compliance with FMCSA regulations. When trying to prove driver fatigue, a skilled attorney can review the log and compare it to records that are not as easily falsified, such as the truck’s GPS data, the trucker’s cell phone records, and the truck’s black box.
In a crash with a fatigued trucker, the trucker is usually the defendant. However, other parties also could have partial liability for the accident. For example, the truck driver’s employer could be liable if the delivery schedule was unreasonable. An employer also might be responsible for negligent hiring if the driver’s training was inadequate or if the driver had a poor driving record.
In some cases, a plaintiff’s negligence may have contributed to the traffic collision. According to Ohio Revised Code § 2315.33, a plaintiff can still collect damages from other negligent parties as long as he or she is not more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. However, a judge will reduce a negligent plaintiff’s damages by a percentage that equals his or her share of the fault.
If you suffered injuries in a fatigued truck driver accident in Sandusky, you may be struggling with expensive medical care, lost wages, and other losses stemming from the incident. Luckily, there is legal help available to hold the negligent party accountable and recover the compensation you need.
A seasoned lawyer at Tittle & Perlmuter can help you through this difficult time and advise you on your legal options. Call today to schedule a case review.