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Truck Driver Fatigue

Ocala Lawyers Helping Individuals Injured in Tractor-Trailer Crashes

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 750 people die and 20,000 are hurt every year because of fatigued commercial drivers. A tired trucker is likely to react more slowly to an emergency, exhibit poor judgment, and have a reduced ability to process information on the road. Fatigue can be caused by interrupted sleep, working a night shift, driving hours in excess of what regulations permit, and rotating schedules. If you or a loved one has been hurt near Ocala because of a tractor-trailer crash caused by a drowsy truck driver, you may need to file an injury claim to pursue damages. The attorneys at the Dean Law Firm can help you assert your right to compensation.

Seek Compensation Through a Negligence Claim

If someone drives a tractor-trailer or big rig, he or she must follow the FMCSA's Hours of Service regulations. Under the Hours of Service rules, truck drivers have an 11-hour daily driving limit. Their workdays can be up to 14 hours, and their maximum average workweek is 70 hours. If they reach 70 hours in a week, they must rest for 34 consecutive hours. Truckers also must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shifts. Unfortunately, some commercial drivers ignore these rules or falsify their logbooks because they get paid by the mile. Since it is hard to find good truckers, their employers may look the other way.

If it appears that a commercial driver who caused an accident was fatigued or falsifying log books, an experienced attorney will use this violation of regulations to argue that the trucker was negligent. A negligence claim in this type of situation requires that the victim prove the defendant's duty to behave reasonably under the circumstances, the defendant's breach of that duty, actual and proximate causation, and compensable damages.

It can be easier for the injured person to recover damages from the truck driver and his employer if a trucker violated FMCSA regulations. This usually establishes the duty and breach elements of the victim’s case, since using reasonable care behind the wheel involves complying with all rules governing the industry. However, the victim still must draw a causal link from the driver’s fatigue to the accident and identify quantifiable costs or losses that resulted from it.

If the trucking company that employed the truck driver knew or should have known that the truck driver was violating the Hours of Service rules, it may be held liable as well under theories of negligent retention, hiring, or supervision. Even if it did not know, the employer often can be held accountable under a theory of vicarious liability if the trucker was acting in the scope and course of employment at the time of the crash.

Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Ocala Residents

At the Dean Law Firm, we help victims of collisions in the areas around Ocala. Our lawyers know that truck accidents are tragically common and can cause devastating harm. Not all injury attorneys have the experience necessary to understand which regulations have been violated by a driver at fault for a crash. We have years of experience litigating these complex types of claims and can take your case to trial if necessary. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent personal injury victims throughout Florida areas like Crystal River and the Villages, as well as in Sumter, Lake, Citrus, Marion, and Levy Counties.