About 13 percent of drivers involved in large commercial vehicle accidents were deemed to be “fatigued” at the time of the crash, according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Alarmingly, the true figure could be even higher than that — as fatigued driving is consistently under-reported.
Of course, for injured victims, it is not always easy to know whether or not a truck driver’s fatigue or drowsiness contributed to an accident. For this and other reasons, every commercial truck accident should be comprehensively investigated.
If you were injured in a trucking accident in North Florida and you believe that trucker fatigue may have played a role, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Gainesville personal injury attorney from Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., immediately. The consultation is free, and we can begin work on your case right away.
Pursuing Compensation After a Fatigued Driving 18-Wheeler Accident
In a fatigued driving accident case, proving fault is only one aspect of the claims process. Injured victims must also prove the existence of their injuries and the extent of their damages.
Unfortunately, trucking companies and their commercial insurers are extremely aggressive in handling claims — they are notorious for making lowball settlement offers.
At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., our Gainesville trucking accident lawyers help our clients demand maximum compensation for their losses. Among other types of compensation, you may be eligible to recover financial relief for:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Ongoing medical bills and expenses
- Physical therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Future treatment needs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent impairments
In addition, if your family has lost a loved one in a drowsy driving truck accident, you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. To learn more about what you may be entitled to receive, please contact our attorneys now for a free consultation.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
You have a limited amount of time to bring a personal injury claim after a commercial truck accident. Under Florida law, truck accident injury claims are typically subject to a four-year statute of limitations. In other words, plaintiffs have four years from the date of a fatigued driving truck crash to file a lawsuit.
That being said, waiting to take action could be a serious mistake. Key evidence may be lost, and memories may fade. You should reach out to our Gainesville truck accident lawyers as soon as possible after a wreck. We will work quickly to gather and secure all relevant evidence, including information the trucking company could destroy if time is wasted.
How Our Attorneys Can Help After a Truck Accident
After a fatigued driving semi-truck accident, you need strong legal representation. Our law firm is committed to helping clients demand the full financial compensation that they rightfully deserve.
Trucking companies have a duty to keep fatigued drivers off the road. When they fail to do so, they are creating an unacceptable safety risk — and they must be held accountable. Our Gainesville fatigued truck accident lawyers are prepared to:
- Conduct a free, in-depth review of your truck accident case
- Carefully explain the legal claims process
- Investigate the crash — getting access to all relevant evidence, including the truck driver’s service hour records
- Handle correspondence and settlement discussions with the insurance company
- Build a strong truck accident injury claim and fight for your in court, if necessary
Regardless of your financial circumstances, you can afford to hire our experienced personal injury lawyers for your fatigued truck accident claim. That is because we never charge upfront or out-of-pocket costs to our clients. Our law firm only gets paid when we help you recover financial compensation for your damages.
Is Fatigued Driving Considered Negligent?
Yes — if truck drivers are too fatigued to operate their vehicles and they cause an accident, they can be held liable for negligence. In fact, the federal government has strict Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to help reduce the amount of fatigued driving truck accidents. Here are three of the most important things that you need to know about the federal fatigued truck driver regulations:
- Every truck driver must take at least one 30-minute rest break during each 8-hour period.
- Every truck driver is maxed out at 70 hours behind the wheel per week.
- Every truck driver must take a minimum of one 34-hour break per week.
To be clear, drowsy truckers may be negligent even if they are not technically in violation of the HOS regulations. Similar to every other motorist on the road, truckers must be well-rested enough to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. If they are too tired to do so and they cause an accident as a result of their fatigue, they can be held legally liable for the resulting damages.
Why Fatigued Driving Is a Common Cause of Semi-Truck Collisions
The dangers of drowsy driving are amplified in truck drivers, who must be in strong mental and physical condition to operate large commercial vehicles. Some of the specific adverse effects of being overly fatigued include:
- Reduced ability to concentrate on the road
- A reaction time that is significantly slower
- Impairment of overall decision-making
- Higher risk of falling asleep behind the wheel
Perhaps the best way to understand the adverse impact of driver fatigue is through a comparison with drunk driving. A driver who has gone 18 hours without sleep has the equivalent of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 — an amount that is slightly below the legal limit in the state of Florida, according to the National Sleep Foundation. From there, each hour of missing sleep makes the effects worse. With no sleep or very limited sleep in the last 24 hours, drowsiness is as impairing as is being drunk.
Need Legal Help? Contact Our Fatigued Driving Truck Crash Attorneys
At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., our Florida trucking accident lawyers are strong, effective advocates for injured victims. If you or your loved one was injured in fatigued driving 18-wheeler crash, we are here to help.
To set up a free, confidential assessment of your claim, please contact our law firm right away. From our law office in Gainesville, we represent commercial truck accident victims throughout North Florida, including in Alachua County, Marion County, and Putnam County.