Truck fatigue accidents, or drowsy driving accidents involving commercial trucks, can be particularly destructive because of the vehicles’ tremendous size, weight, and force. Excessive fatigue can impair a driver’s reaction time, alertness, and decision-making capabilities, increasing the risk of accidents.
Here is what you need to know about truck accidents from over-exhaustion, how to stay safe on the road, and how to contact a wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles or a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.
Why Do Truck Fatigue Accidents Occur?
Truck drivers may become drowsy from inadequate rest or sleep disorders, monotonous driving along repetitive scenery, irregular working hours and night shifts, or driving long hours to meet the job demands.
However, there are various regulations, including hours-of-service (HOS) regulations in the U.S., which govern commercial truck drivers in an attempt to mitigate fatigue-related accidents. These rules mandate rest breaks and limit the number of hours a driver can operate a commercial vehicle within a specific time frame.
Consequences of Truck-Fatigue Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving was involved in 91,000 crashes in 2017. However, the CDC stated these numbers are underestimated, and the 6,000 fatal crashes each year may involve a sleepy driver.
Truck fatigue accidents can result in severe injuries, fatalities, and extensive property damage. Victims may suffer from lifelong physical and mental disabilities, and families may experience financial hardships and emotional trauma. More specifically, truck fatigue accidents can cause:
- Injuries and Deaths. This can include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, etc.
- Physical and Emotional Trauma. Survivors of truck fatigue accidents may experience physical pain, disability, disfigurement, or emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression.
- Medical Expenses and Lost Income. Truck fatigue accidents can require extensive medical treatment, such as emergency care, surgeries, hospitalizations, and rehabilitation. Those injured may be unable to work for an extensive period of time, resulting in lost wages and income.
- Property Damage. Destructive accidents can result in costly property damage to the vehicles involved and any surrounding infrastructure.
- Legal Consequences. Truck drivers and trucking companies found liable for a fatigue-related accident may face civil lawsuits or criminal charges, depending on the circumstances.
- Regulatory Scrutiny. A truck fatigue crash may cause regulatory agencies to investigate the trucking company’s practices and compliance with HOS regulations.
What should you do if you are a victim of a truck fatigue accident?
If you are involved in a truck fatigue accident, first and foremost, call 911 or seek medical assistance. Once you ensure you are healthy and safe, contact law enforcement to report the accident and document the details. Collect as much information as possible at the scene, including the driver’s name, contact information, commercial driver’s license (CDL) details; the trucking company’s name, contact information, and insurance information; eyewitness contact details; and photos and videos of the scene, damage, and road conditions.
Do not admit fault to anyone at the accident scene; instead, provide factual information. Notify your insurance company, and document your injuries, medical treatment, and other pieces of evidence. Then, consult an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney and avoid discussing the accident with the trucking company.
Be A Cautious Driver
Truck driving can be difficult, especially during a night shift or when traveling on the road for long hours. It is important to stay alert by strictly following HOS regulations, staying off your phone and avoiding other distractions while driving, taking breaks regularly, and ensuring adequate hours of sleep the night before a shift. In the case of a truck fatigue accident, it is crucial to become accustomed to gathering evidence, including driver logs, surveillance footage, and witness statements.
Los Angeles Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims
Even with proper precautions, truck driving can result in a number of personal injury and wrongful death accidents. It is best to contact a legal representative at Los Angeles personal injury law firms or Los Angeles wrongful death law firms immediately to ensure timeliness. Remember, each state has its own statute of limitations.
Los Angeles personal injury law firms will work directly with insurance companies to identify the best compensation for your injuries. In cases of wrongful death, surviving loved ones may receive financial support to recover funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship.
Schedule a Free Consultation With A Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney
By implementing the safety guidelines outlined in this guide, such as adhering to HOS regulations, taking breaks regularly, getting sufficient sleep, and paying extra attention on the road, you can reduce the risk of a truck fatigue accident.
John J. Perlstein has over 25 years of experience securing fair and just outcomes in personal injury cases. He will ensure accurate compensation for victims and clearance for those wrongly accused.
Call (213) 583-5786 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, CA regarding your case.