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Fatigued Driving Truck Accident Lawyer

Imagine driving alongside a large truck when the vehicle drifts into your lane. You go out of your way to avoid driving in a truck’s blind spot, so you know the driver should have seen you in the mirror. Before you know it, you and the truck collide. While several factors may contribute to truck accidents, you think the driver drove while fatigued. Learning more about fatigued driver truck accidents could create a foundation for your case and help you understand what happened.

Reasons Truck Drivers Drive Fatigued

With the potential damage a truck may cause, you may wonder why a truck driver would get behind the wheel while even slightly tired. Legally, drivers may only operate a truck for 11 continuous hours after at least 10 consecutive hours away from behind the wheel. However, even while following the law, some drivers experience fatigue while on the open road. Various elements may worsen that fatigue and trigger an accident.

Medication

Depending on the medication a truck driver takes, it could cause drowsiness. While trying to improve their health, drivers may endanger the lives of others if they do not know all of a medication’s side effects.

Illness

When employees in other industries fall ill, they may take time off work. Truckers may not have that option during a run. Infections, the flu, and the common cold can drain a person’s energy, making them susceptible to fatigue.

Intoxication

Consuming alcohol or becoming inebriated from harmful substances increases a trucker’s risk of becoming fatigued and causing an avoidable accident.

Shift changes

The nature of truck driving may mean trading shifts with another driver to make a delivery on time. If a trucker drives during a time when she or he usually sleeps, the person may succumb to fatigue behind the wheel.

Compensation

A majority of truck drivers get paid by the mile rather than the hour. This may make some truckers feel like they must drive even while feeling tired. A company may also pressure drivers to meet impractical delivery schedules, which may contribute to driving while fatigued.

Effects of Fatigued Truck Driving

Even if a tired truck driver does not hit someone, operating a vehicle while fatigued causes several issues. For instance, drowsy truckers may not have the faculties to pay close attention to the surrounding road. They may not respond quickly to erratic driving maneuvers, or they may not notice a vehicle lingering in a blind spot. Driving while fatigued could also rob a driver of the awareness to notice shifting traffic patterns or speed limits.

Slowed reflexes are another effect of fatigued driving. If a tire blows out, a car zips in front of them or an object appears in the road, truckers need quick reaction times to keep themselves and others safe. If drivers notice an accident on the road, they must act quickly to better ensure they do not cause a more severe accident.

When fatigue sets in, truckers could struggle to make sound decisions behind the wheel. Everything from shifting lanes and gauging proper braking distance to speeding up or slowing down requires sound judgment.

What To Do After an Accident With a Truck Driver

No matter the reason for a truck driving accident, victims must take specific actions to protect their financial and physical health. Here are several steps to take after a truck accident.

Get Medical Help

If you or anyone else involved in the accident sustained injuries, call emergency medical services to the scene of the accident. Trucks may cause a lot of damage because of their size, which means accident victims could sustain serious injuries. Even if you emerge from a collision unscathed, have your physician inspect you. Some injuries do not appear until several days or weeks after an accident.

Another reason to have a doctor examine you even if you do not think yourself injured is to build your legal case. Medical records note when you received a diagnosis and treatment, which is information that could become vital for your personal injury case and insurance claim.

Call the Police

Besides paramedics, call the police to the accident scene. Aside from the police report establishing fault for the accident, you may need law enforcement’s help for an insurance claim.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Even if you do not know whether the trucker drove fatigued, you know if you sustained injuries or your vehicle sustained damage. File an insurance claim as quickly as possible. Insurance companies often look out for themselves rather than their customers, so your provider could make a low-ball offer that does not fairly compensate you for all the harm you endured. You may benefit from consulting with a legal professional experienced in handling insurance claims and personal injury cases involving truck drivers.

Gather Witness Statements

Witness statements also build your legal case and help establish fault. Talk to everyone who saw the accident and ask for everything they remember about the collision. Afterward, get witnesses’ contact information, in case you or your legal representative have more questions.

Proving a Truck Driver Drove While Fatigued

Rather than defective equipment, improper loading or other common causes of truck accidents, you may strongly believe fatigue played a major role in your accident. How do you and your legal advocate prove this?

Truck drivers must track the hours they drive and rest in a logbook. Even if they forge logbook entries, a legal team may uncover signs of inconsistencies or slip-ups. Trucking companies also use special software in trucks to track hours on the road. Drivers cannot trick the software as easily as they may falsify logbook entries.

Another reason to gather witness statements is in case someone saw evidence of driver fatigue. Perhaps a witness noticed the driver nodding off behind the wheel or drifting in and out of lanes. 

Get Legal Help With Your Truck Accident

You deserve experienced legal help after an accident with a fatigued truck driver. Hensley Legal Group wants to help you build a solid legal case, receive fair damages and experience peace of mind. For a free case review, contact one of our representatives by calling 317-472-3333 or submitting a Contact Us form.