Representing Victims of Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama
Truckers often drive long hours, making it difficult for them to stay alert and focused on the task of operating their massive vehicles. When a truck driver is fatigued, they may be more prone to making poor decisions or not paying sufficient attention, potentially leading to dangerous crashes. In order to prevent fatigue, drivers should follow all laws regulating the number of hours they can drive in a day and the rest breaks they must take. Employers should also never pressure or compel a driver to break these rules or work to the point of fatigue. Unfortunately, the rules are bent with alarming frequency, causing numerous avoidable wrecks.
If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue in Chattanooga, do not wait to get in touch with The Hamilton Firm. Our team can quickly investigate the accident to determine its cause and what parties are liable for damages. With over $100 million recovered in settlements and judgments, our attorneys have a proven track record of successfully representing clients in complex truck accident cases in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. We are ready to put our nearly 100 years of collective legal experience to work for you, and you will work directly with one of our compassionate lawyers from start to finish.
Our firm takes these cases on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win or obtain a favorable settlement. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling (423) 454-3288 or contacting us online today.
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Truck drivers work long hours doing a monotonous task: Driving their large commercial vehicles from Point A to Point B. Fatigue is inevitable, and working too long will almost always result in a driver losing focus, becoming more likely to make dangerous mistakes, and even dozing off behind the wheel. State and federal regulations are in place to prevent these outcomes and keep drivers from pushing beyond their physical limits.
Under federal law, truck drivers must take a mandatory 10-hour, off-duty rest break after 14 consecutive hours of work. Truck drivers must also take at least a 30-minute meal break during the first eight hours of their shift. There are also weekly maximum driving limits when drivers are expected to work seven days a week, and state laws can impose stricter restrictions.
The unfortunate reality is that some trucking companies and truck drivers do not follow these important rules. An individual driver may misrepresent the hours they have driven to complete deliveries faster or meet high volume quotas. A trucking company may pressure an employee to ignore these regulations for the same reasons. No matter the reasoning, failing to comply with hours of service regulations is unethical and may trigger liability if the resulting fatigue causes a crash.
A prompt, detail-oriented investigation will likely be required to identify all parties liable for an accident caused by truck driver fatigue in Chattanooga. Specifically, it will need to be determined whether the accident was predominantly caused by fatigue (or whether it was a contributing factor) and how the fatigue came about. If an individual driver violated hours of service regulations without the knowledge of their employer, for example, the driver is likely liable. If the trucking company threatened to retaliate against a driver if they did not bend these rules, the employer may be at fault.
Keep in mind that fatigue may not be the sole cause. A tire blowout, equipment failure, or improperly loaded cargo could create a dangerous situation that a more alert truck driver would have been able to mitigate more successfully. Whether the accident occurred on a quiet rural road or a busy highway like the I-75, our team at The Hamilton Firm understands what to look for and how to get answers.
One or more of the following parties may be liable for a truck wreck caused by fatigue:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company or broker
- The owner of the truck
- The shipper or warehouse involved in the cargo loading
- The truck or vehicle component manufacturer
- Parties responsible for vehicle maintenance, repairs, and inspections
- A state, city, or local municipality
- Insurance companies for various parties
The amount of time you will have to file a lawsuit is dependent on the state in which the accident occurred as well as whether any of the defendants are government employees or agencies. Some states give you more time than others.
In Tennessee, you only have one year from the date of a truck accident to bring claims against liable parties. You have more time in Georgia and Alabama: Two years from the date of the truck accident. If someone suffers fatal injuries as a result of truck driver fatigue, parties with standing have one year to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee and two years to bring a claim in Georgia and Alabama.
You have considerably less time to start the legal process if your accident involves a government employee or agency. You generally must file a “notice of claim” with the applicable government entity well before the typical statute of limitations expires. Do not wait to get in touch with our seasoned lawyers so you can ensure you do not run out of time.
A lawsuit can help you recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the out-of-pocket and future costs you will incur due to the accident, while non-economic damages cover other, more difficult-to-quantify consequences. Punitive damages are rare but may be obtained if it can be shown one or more defendants acted maliciously, intentionally, recklessly, or fraudulently. For example, if there is evidence a trucking company falsified its employees’ driving records to violate hours of service regulations, it may be possible to seek punitive damages.
When you have been injured in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue in Chattanooga, our attorneys will fight to get you full compensation for all losses, including:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Ongoing or permanent disability
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
One of our lawyers can come to your home or the hospital where you are being treated if your injuries prevent you from visiting our office. Call (423) 454-3288 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation today.
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