Truck Driver Fatigue
Tractor-Trailer Crash Lawyers Serving the Schaumburg and Wheaton Areas
Truck drivers are often under pressure to make deliveries on unreasonably tight deadlines. Unfortunately, this causes many truck drivers to drive long distances with too little sleep. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident due to truck driver fatigue, you may be entitled to compensation. We can investigate the circumstances of your case, including whether a trucking company has had issues with fatigued truck drivers prior to your crash. At Therman Law Offices, our Wheaton and Schaumburg truck accident attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims and their families.
Truck Driver Fatigue Poses a Significant Hazard
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue and drowsiness play a role in 56,000 accidents each year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and over 1,500 fatalities.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in the United States, accounting for 13 percent of all truck accidents. The FMCSA also notes that about one in four truck drivers have admitted to having fallen asleep while operating their trucks within the last month.
Thus, truck driver fatigue is a serious problem in Illinois and throughout the United States. Fatigue may result in slower reaction times, decreased situational awareness, lack of focus, and a diminished ability to process information. Understanding the serious risks associated with fatigued driving, federal law requires truck drivers to abide by the following rules:
- A maximum of 11 hours of consecutive driving in a 14-hour period, which must be followed by 10 consecutive hours off-duty;
- A maximum of 14 consecutive “on-duty” hours, which include all driving and non-driving activities in any 24-hour period; and
- A maximum of 60 “on-duty” hours in a seven-day period or 70 “on-duty” hours in an eight-day period.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue, you may seek damages under the legal theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when an injury or death results due to a person failing to use reasonable care behind the wheel. Reasonable care is defined as how a prudent or sensible person would act under the same or similar circumstances. For example, a prudent truck driver who is drowsy or fatigued would not drive a truck, understanding the harm that might result from operating a large and heavy vehicle in this situation.
In order to prove negligence, four elements must be established. First, the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Next, the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, such as by getting behind the wheel while overly fatigued. Third, the defendant’s breach was a direct and proximate cause of the accident. Finally, the plaintiff suffered injuries or losses as a result of the defendant’s breach. Each of these elements must be established before any compensation may be recovered.
Typically, a truck accident victim may recover a variety of damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, property loss, lost income and benefits, and any other losses stemming from the accident. The exact amount of compensation that may be recovered in a given case will depend on the specific circumstances of that case.
In Illinois, there is a certain time frame within which a truck accident claim must be filed. A plaintiff generally has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in civil court.
Contact a Dedicated Attorney in Wheaton or Schaumburg Following a Truck Accident
If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue, we advise that you consult a skilled motor vehicle collision lawyer as soon as possible. At Therman Law Offices, we believe in helping clients pursue the full extent of compensation that they deserve for their harm. We proudly serve victims in Glendale Heights, Lombard, Villa Park, Addison, Elmhurst, West Chicago, Lemont, Westmont, Oakbrook Terrace, and Clarendon Hills, among other communities. For more information about your case, do not hesitate to call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online for a free appointment with an attorney in Schaumburg or Wheaton.