Helping Injury Victims Hold Fatigued Truck Drivers Liable in Tennessee
Bristol attorneys represent victims injured in a tractor trailer crash
Sometimes it seems that there are an endless number of trucks moving across the country on our highways. The reality is that there are not nearly enough truck drivers to meet national demand. For this reason, truck drivers tend to be overworked. Tired or fatigued drivers have slow reaction times, similar to drunk drivers. Their decision-making abilities are also impaired. To combat fatigue, truckers are known to use illegal drugs and over-the-counter medications. This can make them even more dangerous to others on the road. At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C., we use all available evidence to prove that truck drivers were fatigued and are responsible for your injuries.
Holding trucking companies responsible for overworked drivers
Trucks are massive machines that must be driven with the utmost care and undivided attention. Tractor trailers, 18 wheelers and other trucks have the ability to maim or kill others on the road in even low-speed accidents. Unfortunately, trucking companies have an incentive to make drivers work long hours. A truck only earns money when it is moving. The more loads a company moves, the more money they make. The more breaks drivers take to sleep or rest, the less money a company earns.
For this reason, there are very specific federal laws about how much rest truckers need:
- Truckers may drive for up to 11 hours between mandatory 10-hour breaks.
- Even if they take breaks, drivers must stop 14 hours after they start driving. At this point, a new 10-hour break is required.
- Truck drivers must take at least one 30 minute break every eight hours.
- After driving 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days, a trucker must take a break of at least 34 consecutive hours.
These rules are complicated and constantly changing. They require drivers to keep accurate logs of exactly when and how long they worked. Our truck accident attorneys frequently find that truckers falsify these logs so they can work extended hours. When they do, we use this as evidence of fatigue in court.
Who is liable for injuries caused by a fatigued truck driver?
Truck accident cases often involve more companies and people than car accident cases. This is because there are many more things that can go wrong and many more parties that can be held liable. Some of the people and companies who can be named in a lawsuit for your injuries include:
- Drivers. A drowsy truck driver or even another driver on the road can be responsible for causing your injuries. Truck driver negligence includes any violation of regulations, including regulations regarding hours of service.
- Trucking companies. When a trucking company pressures their driver to work illegal hours they can be held responsible. These companies are also liable when they fail to properly maintain vehicles.
- Shipping companies. Sometimes shippers load a trailer unevenly or insecurely. This causes load shift and other problems that are made worse when a driver is fatigued and slow to respond.
In other cases, mechanics, manufacturers and even governmental agencies can be held accountable for a truck wreck. Our attorneys work closely with accident reconstruction experts to figure out whether a driver was fatigued and who should be held responsible.
Call a law firm with experience holding trucking companies accountable for their actions
Proving that a trucking company overworked their driver can be a complicated task. At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C., our team has experience gathering many types of evidence to help prove that fatigued driving caused your injuries. Call us today at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We represent clients in upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.