Truck Accidents Due to Driver Exhaustion
Truck driving is hard work. Drivers spend endless hours behind the wheel, vacillating between the boredom of being alone in a confined space for most of their workday and the frustration of dealing with traffic jams, construction, and poor weather. While any job can leave a worker fatigued, a truck driver’s exhaustion can put others at an especially high risk of harm. At Jesse Minc Law Group, our Bronx truck accident lawyers have seen the issue of fatigue-related trucking accidents grow to staggering levels in recent years. Working together with accident reconstructionists and industry professionals, we have been successful in proving liability and winning fair compensation for many people injured in and around New York City due to truck driver exhaustion. We recognize the importance of following state and federal laws regarding rest periods, maximum work hours, and other important safety principles.Truck Accidents Due to Driver Exhaustion Can Cause Serious Injuries
The issue of driver fatigue among truckers is so prevalent that it has been addressed directly by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as well as by the state of New York. While it is common sense to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel and avoid medication that may induce drowsiness, federal and state rules and regulations are much more specific and can be used as a basis for truck accident liability if violations are proven. Commercial motor vehicle operators must comply with hours of service laws that limit the amount of time that a driver may spend behind the wheel during a given time period and the amount of time that is required for mandatory rest between shifts.
Not every trucker follows these regulations or other special rules for truckers, of course, and many trucking companies either ignore the law or give their drivers incentives to violate important rules aimed at protecting public safety. Professional truck drivers who break hours of service rules can be held liable for the harm caused to an accident victim if the trucker’s fatigue contributed to the crash in which the victim sustained injuries. Through the doctrine of respondeat superior, moreover, the truck driver’s employer can also be held liable in a negligence lawsuit brought by an injured motorist (or passenger) in many instances. This requires proving that the driver was an employee of the company and was on the job when the accident happened.
Additionally, a trucking company may be held liable for its own negligence in situations in which the company acted in a way that was not reasonably prudent under the circumstances. This can happen when a company encourages drivers to falsify the logbooks that record their time behind the wheel, when a company fails to discipline drivers whom it knows to have falsified their logbooks, or fails to properly screen its truck drivers who may have a history of violating these important trucking safety rules.
Regardless of whether an action is brought against the driver of the truck, the trucking company that employed the driver, or both, the New York statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death claims must be carefully heeded, or an accident victim risks the dismissal of their case on procedural grounds. Generally, truck accident statutes of limitation are three years from the date of the truck accident. Wrongful death claims have a substantially shorter statute of limitations than normal personal injury claims in New York, and require that an action be started within two years of the truck accident that caused the death of the victim.
In determining the amount of compensation to which the victim may be entitled, there are several considerations, including the nature and extent of their injuries, the amount of medical expenses that are reasonable and necessary in order to treat their injuries, any loss of wages or benefits (such as social security or health insurance benefits) caused by the accident, and the victim’s pain and suffering, disfigurement, and disability resulting from the crash. Punitive damages sometimes are available, but only in cases in which the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious and exhibited a pattern of careless and reckless conduct that subjected the public to undue risks of harm.Seek Guidance from a Truck Accident Lawyer in the Bronx
At Jesse Minc Law Group, we represent victims of semi-truck accidents and other accidents involving commercial vehicles and help them obtain full and fair compensation for all aspects of their injuries. Our clients come from throughout New York City, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. We offer a free, confidential case evaluation with a no-fee guarantee: You do not owe us one cent of fees or expenses unless we win your case. Call us at (718) 354-8000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We have many years of experience handling the issues that arise in truck accident cases, including with respect to insurance issues, spoliation and destruction of evidence by negligent trucking companies, and identifying all of the appropriate defendants who were responsible for a truck accident.