Truck Driver Fatigue
October 5, 2021 | Truck Accidents
Tragedy Strikes When a Drowsy Trucker Cannot Control the Rig
Large big rigs, trucks, and tractor-trailers regularly frequent the highways and roadways located around St. Louis, including Interstate 70, Interstate 55, Interstate 64, Interstate 44, and Interstate 270. In many instances, the drivers of these large vehicles are encouraged to operate their trucks for long hours, resulting in extreme fatigue.
When truck drivers are tired while behind the wheel, they can undertake careless actions while driving, and in some cases, they might even fall asleep. In either case, serious accidents that lead to serious injuries can result from truck driver fatigue.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident because of a negligent truck driver, you might be in a position to take legal action against the at-fault driver and/or the trucking company that employs him or her. Victims of serious truck accidents can suffer debilitating injuries that might wind up being permanent, and they can rack up large medical bills very quickly.
The skilled team of St. Louis truck accident attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can handle all of the legal aspects of your case while you focus your attention on fully recovering from your injuries. We can pursue a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company on your behalf or take your case to mediation, arbitration, or a jury trial for a favorable result.
Please give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you file your truck accident claim or lawsuit. We assist clients on both sides of the Mississippi River in the St. Louis Metro and Metro East areas.
Why Do Truck Drivers Operate Their Trucks While Fatigued?
The trucking companies that employ truck drivers often incentivize their drivers to work for long hours. In some instances, trucking companies offer their drivers large bonuses when they can work overtime and get their cargo to its final destination sooner than expected. Consequently, many drivers will resort to long hours—often with little-to-no breaks or sleep—to try and reap these financial benefits. Some truck drivers will even resort to drugs to try to stay awake for long periods on the road.
However, driving a large truck for long hours on end—and while fatigued—presents a danger to other motor vehicle operators and their passengers who are present on the roadway at that time, significantly increasing their chances of causing an accident.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that happened due to a fatigued truck driver, you may have the right to pursue and recover monetary compensation for your injuries. The experienced team of St. Louis truck accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can help you prove all of the necessary legal elements of your case and pursue the damages that you need to recover for your accident-related injuries.
What Happens When the Operators of Large Trucks Drive While Fatigued?
When the drowsy drivers of large box trucks, tractor-trailers, and big rigs are on the road, they can suffer various symptoms that can lead to a serious accident. For starters, truck drivers who are too tired may fall asleep at the wheel, causing the truck to careen out of control and collide with another vehicle. Fatigued truck drivers can also experience delayed reaction time or perception, preventing them from stopping their vehicles in time to avoid a collision. Likewise, a fatigued truck driver might not perceive depth or distance accurately, misjudging the location of another vehicle or believing it to be further away than it is.
Operating a large truck while fatigued can be a recipe for disaster. If fatigued truck driving led to the accident in which you suffered your injuries, the skilled team of St. Louis truck accident attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can explain your legal options and help you recover the compensation you need to make you whole following your truck collision.
Who Can Contribute to Truck Driver Negligence?
Truck drivers who choose to get behind the wheel of their vehicles while fatigued can be legally responsible for their actions (or inactions) when an accident occurs. In addition, the trucking company that employs the negligent truck driver can also be fully or partially to blame—especially if that trucking company financially rewards its drivers for logging long hours and encouraging them to drive while fatigued. In other words, a truck operator’s negligence can sometimes transfer to the trucking company that employs the driver.
Victims of truck accidents in Missouri have a period of five years, starting on the date of their accident, to file a claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary compensation and damages for the injuries sustained. This five-year Missouri statute of limitations is very unforgiving, and the accident victim must file a claim or lawsuit within the statutorily prescribed deadline. Just on the other side of the Mississippi River, you only have two years to file an injury lawsuit in Illinois courts.
The experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can investigate the circumstances that led up to your truck accident that caused your injuries. We can then make the necessary claim—or file a lawsuit—against all potentially responsible persons or entities in your truck accident case. Our primary goal will be to hold those parties accountable for their actions and inactions so that you may recover all of the monetary compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Injuries in Serious Truck Crashes
Whenever a large truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, it is not usually the truck driver who suffers the bulk of the injuries in the accident. Instead, the driver and any passengers who are in the smaller vehicle typically suffer injuries the most severely.
Injuries suffered by truck accident victims can range from minor to severe. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Cuts, scrapes, and abrasions (some of which can lead to permanent scarring)
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue contusions
- Internal injuries (including internal organ damage)
- Spinal cord injuries
If you or a person you love has been involved in a truck accident and suffered one or more of these injuries, you need prompt medical treatment right away following your collision. Minor injuries can turn into major injuries when there is not a timely diagnosis and treatment.
In addition to emergency room medical treatment, victims of serious truck accidents might also need to undergo:
- Operations, injections, surgeries, and other medical procedures
- Doctor visits
- Follow-up hospital care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
All of this medical treatment can be extremely expensive, and medical bills can accumulate very quickly. The experienced St. Louis truck accident attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm will do everything possible to advance your legal interests and get you the compensation that you need for all of your truck accident injuries and medical treatment.
Legal Burden of Proof in Fatigued Truck Driver Cases
Victims of truck accidents have the legal burden of proof in their truck accident cases. Specifically, the accident victim must show that the truck driver violated a duty of care, such as by operating a truck while fatigued, and that this negligence resulted in the subject motor vehicle accident and injuries.
Proving that a truck driver was fatigued sometimes requires having an experienced accident investigator or expert accident reconstructionist on board in the case. These individuals can investigate the accident scene and speak with witnesses to reconstruct the accident and determine how it likely occurred.
At other times, the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer might admit liability—or fault—for the collision. In that instance, the only remaining issue in the case is usually damages (how much the accident victim should recover for his or her injuries—and whether the accident caused the injuries or whether they preexisted the crash).
The skilled team of St. Louis truck accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can help you satisfy the legal elements of proof in your case, allowing you to pursue and recover much-needed monetary compensation for your injuries.
Will a Truck Accident Claim go to Court?
Many truck accident claims settle long before they ever go to court. This happens because the negligent truck driver or trucking company’s insurer offers reasonable and appropriate monetary compensation to the accident victim to resolve his or her case.
Often, however, this final settlement number is the result of numerous settlement negotiations between the accident victim’s lawyer and the insurance company. When the insurance company evaluates a truck accident claim, it will look at all of the circumstances leading up to the accident, the property damage that the involved vehicles sustained, along with the accident victim’s medical records, medical bills, lost wage documentation, injury photographs, and impact statement.
If the insurance company refuses to offer the victim of a truck accident sufficient compensation, the accident victim’s lawyer can file a lawsuit in the Missouri state court system against all potentially responsible parties. The insurance company can then continue settlement negotiations while the parties litigate the case.
As an alternative to taking the truck accident case to a jury trial, the parties might elect to proceed with alternative dispute resolution. For example, the parties might allow a neutral mediator to facilitate settlement discussions in the case or allow a third-party arbitrator to hear the evidence, review the documentation, and decide on a monetary award.
When you retain the experienced truck accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm to handle your legal matter, you can rest assured that we will advise you of all of your legal options and help you decide on the best course of action that suits your needs and the results that you are looking for in your accident case.
Monetary Recovery in Truck Accident Injury Cases
Victims of truck accidents that are caused by fatigued truck drivers often suffer serious injuries that require medical treatment and missed work time. Accident victims who can satisfy all of the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit are entitled to pursue and recover monetary compensation, which comes in the form of damages.
The purpose of monetary compensation in a personal injury case is to make the accident victim feel whole, to the greatest extent that is possible. Part of being made whole includes ensuring that an accident victim’s out-of-pocket costs get paid and that the accident victim receives compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
Accident victims can pursue compensation for medical expenses even when a private health insurer pays for some or all of the related medical treatment from the truck accident. In addition, the accident victim can pursue lost wages if he or she could not work after the truck accident. In addition, accident victims can pursue compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, inconvenience, and other related non-economic damages following their accident.
The experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can help you pursue some or all of these damages, depending on the circumstances of your accident and injuries.
Contact a Knowledgeable and Experienced St. Louis Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you suffered one or more injuries in a collision because of a negligent or fatigued truck driver, you need skilled and experienced legal counsel in your corner advocating for you all the way. A truck driver or trucking company’s insurer will never do you any favors when it comes to settlement or litigation. Therefore, you want a legal team by your side that has a proven track record of success.
Look for a knowledgeable legal team that is equally as effective in the courtroom as at the negotiating table. Try to find someone who will zealously advance your legal interests and pursue the compensation that you need for your truck accident injuries.
For a free legal consultation and case evaluation, call a St. Louis truck accident lawyer today.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132