Cumming Truck Driver Fatigue Lawyers

Commercial vehicles are much larger than compact cars. Some include cargo that could increase the truck’s weight to more than 80,000 pounds. When they crash into another car, the damage can be significant. The aftermath is even worse if you find out the other driver could have prevented the accident. If you were the victim of truck driver fatigue, contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. immediately.

Our Cumming truck driver fatigue lawyers help clients like you seek the compensation you deserve for your suffering. Getting hurt in a truck accident often requires many months – or even years – of expensive medical treatment. That can create a financial burden. You shouldn’t face the consequences of another person’s poor decisions.

Call Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. at (855) 465-4407 if you want to learn more about our legal services or schedule a free consultation to discuss your fatigued truck driver accident case.

Liability in a Truck Accident Caused by Driver Fatigue

Seeking compensation can be complicated after sustaining injuries in a truck accident. Even though the driver was tired, it could be their employer that’s responsible for the crash. It’s imperative that you determine who was at fault to ensure you’re pursuing compensation from the right party.

Trucking companies become liable for an injured party’s injuries if hiring and training practices come into question. Managers and supervisors are supposed to follow specific operational procedures to ensure their employees are safe behind the wheel. When they hire truck drivers, they must comply with the following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations:

  • Provide ongoing training
  • Perform thorough background checks
  • Review hours of service logs
  • Require a valid commercial driver’s license
  • Routine drug and alcohol testing
  • Adequate vehicle inspections, maintenance, and repairs
  • Post-accident investigation

Violating any regulations above could result in the trucking company becoming financially responsible for an accident victim’s losses. Even though the driver chose to drive while tired, it’s the employer’s job to ensure they’re hiring people who won’t harm those around them.

There are also circumstances when the truck driver is the only party to blame for a crash. They have to follow specific regulations to reduce the risk of driver fatigue. They are known as the hours of service rules, and include the following restrictions:

  • Drivers may not drive more than 11 hours after spending 10 hours off duty.
  • Drivers are prohibited from driving after spending 14 consecutive hours on duty.
  • Drivers must take at least a 30-minute break after driving for a minimum of 8 consecutive hours.
  • There’s a 60-hour driving limit while working seven consecutive days, and a 70-hour driving limit while working eight consecutive days.

Truck accident cases typically use negligence laws to prove fault. Negligence is the legal theory that one party’s failure to exercise reasonable care in a particular situation caused another harm. There are five elements you must show existed if you want to prove the truck driver or their employer was negligent in causing the accident:

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of reasonable care;
  • They breached their duty;
  • If it wasn’t for their actions or inaction, you wouldn’t have suffered harm;
  • Their breach was the direct cause of your injury; and
  • You incurred damages as a result of the accident.

Types of Damages in a Truck Accident Case

There are three types of damages you could pursue if a fatigued truck driver caused your car crash. Damages are all losses associated with an injury. Economic damages are actual expenses and include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Vehicle repair or replacement costs

Non-economic damages are intangible losses, such as:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Disability
  • Loss of companionship or consortium

It’s relatively easy to quantify economic damages; however, placing a fair monetary value on non-economic damages can become a challenge. Insurance companies will usually consider the following factors:

  • Extent of the injury
  • Interference with daily life
  • Emotional trauma experienced by loved ones
  • Length of the recovery period
  • Physical or mental disability caused by the injury
  • Availability of sufficient evidence against the truck driver
  • Degree of mental or psychological injuries
  • Lost capacity to return to work or earn pre-accident wages

Economic and non-economic damages are available in an insurance claim and lawsuit. However, there’s a third type that’s only available in lawsuits. The goal of punitive damages isn’t to compensate for an injured victim’s losses. Instead, it’s a punishment against the at-fault party and aims to deter similar future behavior.

For a jury to award punitive damages after your fatigued truck driver accident, you must provide clear and convincing evidence that the driver acted with:

  • Willful misconduct;
  • Fraud;
  • Oppression;
  • Malice;
  • Wantonness; or
  • Lack of regard for the safety of others

Using the Fault System to Recover Damages

In terms of financial responsibility after a car crash, there’s a fault system in Georgia that indicates who must pay for the victim’s damages. If there’s proof that the fatigued truck driver caused the accident, you can file a claim with their liability insurance company.

All motorists must carry auto insurance with minimum liability limits of $25,000. However, truck accidents usually cause more damage. The average liability limit for truck drivers is $750,000. Coverage goes up to as much as $5 million when there’s hazardous cargo on the vehicle.

You can seek economic and non-economic damages up to the available limit listed on the liability policy. If the insurance company denies your claim or offers a low settlement, you can move forward with filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

The Impact of Modified Comparative Negligence

Another negligence law in Georgia is called modified comparative negligence. As long as you’re less than 50% at fault for an accident, you can seek damages at a reduced amount proportionate to your percentage of the blame.

In other words, let’s say you have damages equal to $100,000. Under normal circumstances, you could pursue compensation for your total damages. However, if you share 20% blame for the crash, the most you could recover would be $80,000. If you’re more than 49% at fault, you’re not entitled to any compensation.

What’s a Statute of Limitations?

If you decide you want to move forward with a lawsuit, there’s a deadline you have to follow. It’s called a statute of limitations. There’s a two-year statute of limitations in Georgia for injuries to a person. That means the clock starts running on the date of the accident. If two years pass and you haven’t sued the at-fault party, you’ll lose your right to seek compensation in a lawsuit.

Three situations could pause the clock temporarily:

  • There’s a pending criminal case against the at-fault party for similar instances as the civil lawsuit. Once the criminal case is over, the two-year statute would begin;
  • The injured victim is legally incompetent due to mental illness or disability or being a minor at the time of the accident. The clock would begin when they turn 18 years old or become legally competent; or
  • The at-fault party leaves the state for a period before a lawsuit gets filed. The clock will start once they return to the state.

What Should I Do If a Fatigued Truck Driver Caused My Loved One’s Death?

If your loved one died in a car accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit. The legal definition of wrongful death is when someone’s criminal, negligent, intentional, or reckless actions cause another person’s death. You can sue the driver or their employer for compensation for your loved one’s damages.

The following parties are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Surviving spouse and minor children
  • Surviving parent or parents
  • Deceased’s personal representative of the estate

If the surviving spouse shares minor children with the deceased, they must represent their interests. Additionally, the spouse can recover no less than one-third of the total compensation regardless of the number of children.

The damages fall under two main categories. The first determines an appropriate value for the deceased’s life, such as:

  • Loss of care, companionship, and services provided to loved ones
  • Lost wages and benefits they would have earned if they survived

The second category compensates economic and non-economic losses associated with the death, such as:

  • The total cost of funeral and burial services
  • Medical expenses incurred from the fatal accident or injury
  • Pain and suffering experienced before passing away

Speak to a Dedicated Cumming Truck Driver Fatigue Lawyer

Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. cares about the clients that hire us. We know you’re struggling to recover from your injuries. It’s a devastating time in your life. You’re in pain, unable to work, and worried about the incoming medical bills. We’ll provide the guidance and support you need to get through this.

You can depend on our legal team to advise you on your legal options and walk you through the process. We’ll be on your side from the beginning to the end of your case. You won’t be alone in the fight for justice. Our Cumming truck driver fatigue lawyers will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you suffered injuries because of a fatigued truck driver, call Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. at (855) 465-4407. You can meet with our Cumming truck accident lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the details and receive legal advice.

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