A fatigued commercial driver can wreak havoc on our roads. Someone who is too tired to safely operate a tractor-trailer can cause a devastating crash. At Frankl & Kominsky, we aggressively pursue claims against fatigued drivers and their employers in the area around West Palm Beach. Our truck accident attorneys can review your case to see if driver fatigue caused or contributed to your injuries. Contact us to learn how we can help assert your right to compensation.Driver Fatigue and Highway Collisions
Exhausted commercial drivers pose a serious concern for everyone around them on the road. Truckers work exceptionally long hours. They haul heavy and sometimes hazardous material across numerous states and time zones. Some drivers will avoid rest or sleep to meet their delivery deadlines. They are also paid by the mile, which means they have an incentive to stay behind the wheel despite fatigue.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the trucking industry. It has addressed driver fatigue through a number of regulations aimed at curbing the problem. Truckers have a 70-hour maximum average workweek. They must rest for a period of 34 consecutive hours before getting back behind the wheel. Truck drivers are also required to take at least a 30-minute rest break in the first eight hours of their shift. Each driver must record his or her hours of service (HOS) in a log, and the truck company must review the log to ensure that the driver complied with the law.Hold Negligent Truck Drivers and Companies Accountable
If you were injured in a big rig accident, fatigue may have been a factor. You can hold a commercial driver legally responsible for your injuries if you can show that he or she was negligent by getting behind the wheel of the truck. As the victim, you have the burden of showing that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care;
· The defendant failed to exercise the proper level of care;
- That breach of duty caused your injuries; and
- You incurred actual, quantifiable damages.
Florida motorists must drive with reasonable care. To show that the trucker violated this obligation, you must prove that he or she was fatigued at the time of the crash. For example, the truck driver’s HOS logs can show whether the driver was taking the legally mandated rest breaks. If you can establish a connection between the trucker’s fatigue and the accident in which you were hurt, you can potentially hold him or her liable. An investigation into the crash may also reveal other evidence of negligence, such as speeding or the use of illegal drugs to stay alert.
The truck company employing the fatigued driver may also be held accountable for the accident. An employer sometimes is directly liable for inadequately supervising an employee, such as by failing to review a driver’s HOS log. The company may also be vicariously liable for its driver’s negligent actions if they were taken within the course and scope of his or her employment.Retaining and Preserving Evidence
Evidence is vital to proving any truck accident case. This may give a defendant the incentive to intentionally lose or destroy records to avoid liability. Fortunately, a court can respond to this behavior by imposing sanctions, such as excluding expert testimony or issuing an adverse inference instruction to the jury. You can also try to prevent spoliation of evidence by consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after the crash.
If you can prove that driver fatigue caused your injuries, you may be able to recover damages. A compensation award can potentially cover your current and future medical bills, lost income, loss in earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among other objective and subjective forms of harm. Florida requires you to file your claim within four years from when you were hurt.Offering Dedicated Advocacy in West Palm Beach Injury Cases
The injury lawyers at Frankl & Kominsky have served many victims of negligent truck drivers and companies throughout West Palm Beach. Our attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation into an accident to determine if driver fatigue, and possibly other factors, played a role. While we try to negotiate a settlement satisfactory to our clients, we are ready to pursue their claims in court if needed. We serve clients in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens, among other Palm Beach County areas. Call us at (855) 800-8000 or contact us through our online form to set up a free consultation. We speak Spanish and Creole.