Fort Worth Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Lawyer
Driving while overtired has been a large concern across America. More people work long hours and often do not get sufficient rest as recommended. An alarming statistic is that 250,000 drivers fall asleep behind the wheel every day in the United States. Numerous studies show that driving while fatigued poses an increased accident risk.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shown an estimated 100,000 traffic crashes indicating fatigued drivers at fault. Studies also show that the less sleep that a driver gets, the greater the risk of an accident. Fo people who get six to seven hours of sleep are two times as likely to be involved in a wreck than drivers who get a full eight hours of rest or more. Motorists who slept for under five hours increase the crash risk by as many as four to five times that of fully-rested drivers.
If you or a loved one were injured in a tractor-trailer collision due to negligent actions of another, a seasoned truck accident attorney could help your case. Speak to a Fort Worth truck driver fatigue accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights and options to recovering compensation for damages.
Understanding Driver Fatigue
The leading cause of driver fatigue is the pressure of making deliveries on time. Time is money, and drivers lose pay if they do not deliver on time. Skilled Fort Worth attorneys find that when dealing with those injured in tractor-trailer crashes with fatigued drivers, the drivers often admit they feel they are pushed to cut corners in unsafe ways. This increases the risk of semi-truck accidents, many of which are deadly.
To prevent these, drivers and the companies must identify the safest ways to get loads delivered on time while discharging the dangerous shortcuts. Often, these shortcuts end up costing drivers time, expense, and even people’s lives.
The shipping industry operates with strict deadlines. Many commercial drivers have great reputations for getting the goods through on time, so it is understandable why some drivers feel they are under a lot of pressure to deliver on time. Unfortunately, because of this, some companies and drivers tend to put safety behind everything else. It is a problem many drivers in the country face, a substantial contributor to the many semi-truck accidents that occur on American highways every day.
Liability For a Truck Collision
Often, the drivers involved in the crash could be held responsible for injuries sustained in a crash, but the company that employed the semi driver may also be liable for damages. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets forth specific guidelines for trucking companies to follow, and any breach of these that leads to a subsequent injury could signal liability.
For example, a trucking company may be held liable if they hire an inexperienced driver or one who fails a drug or alcohol test, and it leads to the driver causing a crash. Additionally, a trucking company may also be liable for a collision if it incentivizes a driver to work more than allowed by government regulations and the fatigued driver’s negligence leads to a wreck.
The driver who crashed the tractor-trailer may be held personally responsible for the crash. However, truck drivers may not be able to afford all of the compensation the injured party needs. This often means the trucking company that hired the driver will be taken to court as well in most cases. These parties may also have insurance, which means the process of finding compensation can be complicated. A hardworking Fort Worth driver lawyer could investigate the driver fatigue semi collision and determine which party may be at fault for the collision.
Whether a trucking company’s liable for wrecks caused by drivers will hinge on whether the legal theory of respondeat superior applies. This translates to “let the superior make answer.” This doctrine holds that an employer can be liable for the negligence of its employees under certain conditions. Determining whether respondeat superior applies in a given truck wreck depends on whether the truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor.
If the trucker is classified as an independent contractor, he or she will not be an employee of the trucking company. In such cases, trucking companies will generally not be responsible for an independent contractor’s negligent or reckless actions that cause accidents. In contrast, trucking companies can be liable for wrecks caused by drivers who are classified as employees. This distinction commonly motivates motor carriers to misclassify drivers as independent contractors rather than employees in an effort to limit or dodge liability.
If a truck wreck occurred during the scope of employment or the accident happened while the trucker was on duty working for the motor carrier, the trucking company could be held liable for that crash. Alternatively, the company will not liable for wrecks that its truckers cause while off duty.
In some places, it is not clear whether an accident occurred as part of the course of employment. Some of the factors that can help uncover whether a wreck happened within the scope of employment include time and location of the accident, the nature of the driver’s job duties, the amount of time granted for a driver’s personal activity, and the degree of freedom a driver has in carrying out his or her job duties.
Shippers and Loaders
The truck driver and the trucking company are not the only parties that could be held liable. The shipper or loader of the goods on the truck may be held liable as well if they overloaded the truck or if they loaded the truck improperly and this was the underlying cause of the crash. If the trucking company leased the truck from a third party, they may be held liable if it can be shown that the required maintenance was not conducted on the vehicle.
Furthermore, another party commonly held liable in trucking accidents is the manufacturer of the vehicle’s parts. If the other injured party can show that one of these parts was defective, and its defect ultimately led to the crash, the manufacturer of the defective product may be labeled as a defendant.
Seek Help From a Fort Worth Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Attorney
When a driver’s negligent actions cause a collision, they could be held liable for damages. Following a big rig crash, it is best to seek help from a tractor-trailer collision lawyer. They could conduct an independent investigation, collect evidence, and speak to witnesses to prove the defendant’s negligence.
Let a skilled attorney help you seek compensation for your damages. With the help of a Fort Worth truck driver fatigue accident lawyer, you may be eligible to recover compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. Call today to discuss your case and your legal options.