Truck drivers are under pressure to complete jobs as quickly as possible. As a result, fatigued truck driver accidents are far too common in Little Rock and beyond. Driving while fatigued slows a truck driver’s reaction time and limits the driver’s decision-making ability. Collisions involving fatigued truck drivers can lead to devastating injuries, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, bone fractures, and death.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Fatigued Truck Driver Attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas
If you were injured in a truck accident involving a fatigued truck driver, you will benefit from working with an experienced Little Rock and Arkansas attorney. Attorney Tim Reed has experience holding fatigued truck drivers and their employers accountable for the injuries they cause. Contact the Reed Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Truck Drivers Must Follow Hours-of-Service Regulations
Commercial truck drivers are required to follow multiple federal regulations, including hours-of-service regulations. These regulations are intended to prevent truck accidents caused by driver fatigue. Specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states how many hours truck drivers can drive within a single period, depending on the cargo or the truck driver’s weekly work schedule.
For example, truck drivers must take at least one 30-minute rest for each 8-hour driving period. Also, a driver may not drive without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty. When truck drivers don’t abide by these and other hours-of-service rules, injury victims can more easily prove that the driver’s fatigue caused the accident that resulted in their injuries.
How Fatigue Negatively Affects a Truck Driver
Driver fatigue is dangerous for all drivers, but it’s especially dangerous for truck drivers due to the large size and weight of their vehicles. When a truck driver is fatigued, several changes can occur in the driver’s mind and body, leading to a greater likelihood of a crash. Driver fatigue can cause all of the following dangerous conditions:
- Reduced vigilance or lack of proper lookout
- Inability or delay in recognizing hazards on the road
- Swerving in between lanes
- Impaired judgment
- Delayed reaction times
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
Fatigued truck drivers are unable to multitask, and consequently, they fail to pay enough attention to the road. Due to a slower reaction time, a fatigued truck driver may be unable to avoid hitting the vehicle in front. Drowsy drivers may drive dangerously slow or too fast under the conditions. They are more likely to weave, change lanes suddenly, or merge without looking out for other vehicles.
Semi-trucks are generally more challenging to maneuver than other vehicles, and when a truck driver is fatigued, this difficulty becomes amplified. When a truck driver fails to properly maneuver a semi-truck at highway speeds, the result is often a deadly multi-vehicle collision. In that case, there is little to nothing victims can do to escape.
Injuries Caused By Truck Accidents
Tractor-trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and may be 70-80 feet in length or more. Tractor-trailer accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and are much more likely to result in fatalities than other car accidents.The following types of serious injuries are commonplace:
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries causing partial or total paralysis
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Internal injuries
- Rib and torso injuries
- Seat belt injuries
- Wrongful death
Proving Negligence in a Fatigue-Related Truck Accident in Little Rock
Generally, commercial motor carriers and truck drivers must operate in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMSCR), which include hours-of-service regulations. It is easier to prove negligence in cases where truck drivers don’t abide by the FMCSR and record-keeping requirements. For example, oftentimes, records are incomplete or they aren’t kept at all.
Commercial motor carriers and truck drivers may ignore the FMCSR, thinking they won’t get caught. They may place monetary goals over safety. In any event, truck drivers that don’t abide by the FMCSR are more likely to cause serious accidents and place the traveling public in peril.
When an accident occurs, trucking companies have attorneys and insurance claims representatives who immediately spring into action, often showing up at the scene of the crash to investigate and avoid claims of negligence. Accident victims need an attorney that understands the FMCSR and can prove that the truck driver was negligent. When you work with attorney Tim Reed, you can rest assured that he will immediately begin investigating your case, preserving evidence, and holding the trucking company and driver accountable.
Potential Damages in Fatigued Truck Driver Lawsuits
Victims of truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers have a legal right to pursue compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Truck accidents are more likely to cause serious injuries, so truck drivers are generally required to purchase commercial insurance policies with much higher limits to help ensure there is enough money to cover significant damages. Victims can pursue compensation for all of the financial losses and expenses they incur, which may include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity due to permanent injuries
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Property damage
- Various costs not covered by typical insurance policies
Schedule a Complimentary Consultation with a Little Rock Truck Accident Attorney
You may be entitled to compensation if a negligent truck driver has caused injuries to you or your loved one. In Arkansas, you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for compensation. The claims process is complicated, especially in the commercial trucking industry. Attorney Tim Reed understands the rules that apply to the commercial trucking industry and is a compassionate, skilled advocate for personal injury victims. Reach out to the Reed Firm today to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more about your legal options and rights.