Truck Driver Fatigue
Skilled New York Lawyers for Victims of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Due to long working hours and odd schedules, many commercial drivers suffer from fatigue. Although federal laws regulate the number of hours that a trucker may be legally behind the wheel, they are normally tasked with covering as many miles as possible in a short time frame. Sometimes, this means a big rig driver will face pressure from an employer to forgo sleep and violate the law in order to complete an assignment faster. Sadly, this is a leading cause of collisions across the United States. For more than 10 years, the Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC has provided diligent representation to individuals who were hurt in New York accidents. Our diligent truck crash attorneys understand the devastating effect that an unexpected injury can have on a victim and his or her family. We are committed to helping clients in areas such as Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island seek fair compensation for their harm.
Semi-Truck Driver Fatigue Poses Serious Risks
Commercial drivers who operate a vehicle that weighs at least 10,001 pounds, is designed to transport at least nine people, or carries hazardous materials in interstate commerce must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service regulations. This rule states a trucker may not operate a big rig for more than 11 hours per day in a work day that is no longer than 14 total hours. In addition, a tractor-trailer driver must take at least one 30-minute work break during the first eight hours of any driving shift, and a trucker’s maximum average work week may not exceed 70 hours in most circumstances. Semi-truck drivers are also required to maintain a driving log that is designed to ensure compliance with the hours-of-service regulations.
Despite these legal requirements, some truckers simply maintain one log that reflects the federal safety requirements and another log that is accurate. Truck drivers choose to stay on the road longer than they are allowed by law for a variety of reasons, including financial bonuses and incentives, a desire to get home to family more quickly, or an effort to avoid rush hour traffic. Unfortunately, this practice can place both the tractor-trailer driver and anyone else traveling on the same roadway in serious danger. Big rig driver fatigue may result in drifting in and out of lanes, slower reaction times, and other dangerous behaviors.
Pursuing Damages Following a Big Rig Collision
Tractor-trailer accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and tragic death. A victim in an accident that was caused by a semi-truck driver may be entitled to recover financial compensation for his or her harm. Additionally, the personal representative of someone who was killed in a crash may be eligible to recover damages related to the decedent’s wrongful death. A truck or other motor vehicle accident victim in New York normally has three years from the date of his or her harm to file a lawsuit. In contrast, a personal representative typically has two years from the date of the decedent’s death to initiate a claim.
In order to collect damages following a truck crash, an accident victim must prove the trucker owed the injured person a duty of care, the driver breached that duty, the victim was hurt because of the driver’s breach, and actual damages accrued. To illustrate, a trucker has a duty to follow federal trucking laws, including the hours-of-service regulations. A driver who falsifies his or her logs and exceeds the legal number of hours for a day or week may have breached his or her duty. If a fatigued trucker falls asleep while behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer and causes a crash in which another person is harmed, the driver likely will be deemed to have been negligent.
In many cases, a trucking company or its insurer may be required to compensate a tractor-trailer accident victim as a result of vicarious liability. In general, this doctrine allows an employer to be held responsible for the negligent actions of an employee. For vicarious liability to apply, a worker must commit a careless or reckless act while under the employer’s control and while acting within the scope of his or her job duties. This doctrine does not apply if an employee harms someone while off duty.
Truck accidents are often complex and may require extensive analysis in order to successfully evaluate all of the facts. In addition, big rig wrecks typically involve unique pieces of evidence that are not available in other car crash cases. Thus, it is vital for a truck accident victim to ensure that relevant evidence like a driver’s logbook is preserved for trial as soon as possible following a crash. If you were seriously injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you should contact an experienced attorney to help you protect your legal rights.
Seasoned Truck Crash Advocates in New York
When a commercial driver chooses to ignore federal safety laws, it can place other motorists, passengers, and even pedestrians in grave danger. Every year, thousands of individuals are hurt or killed in a collision that was caused by a fatigued semi-truck driver. For more than a decade, the Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC has advocated on behalf of truck accident victims in New York as well as other New York communities. For a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer, give us a call toll-free at (877) 580-6636 or contact us online.