Fatigued Truck Drivers Can Cause Serious Virginia Truck Accidents

Anyone who has driven a commercial tractor-trailer for a living can tell you that it is not an easy job. Truck drivers are expected to drive extremely long distances and endure erratic sleep schedules. However, this is no excuse to drive unsafely. Fatigued Virginia truck drivers can make careless driving errors or even fall asleep at the wheel putting other motorists at risk for serious personal injury or even death.

If you were injured in a Virginia truck accident caused by a fatigued or otherwise negligent truck driver, you could be eligible for compensation. An experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you understand your options for taking action and will work hard to ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.

How Dangerous Are Fatigued Truck Drivers in Virginia?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted an extensive study regarding truck accidents. According to their research, approximately 13 percent of serious traffic accidents involving large trucks are caused by fatigued drivers. When drivers are too sleep to remain safely alert, they can drift into other lanes without knowing it or even crash into other vehicles. Considering many truck drivers are operating vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, a truck accident can cause severe damage and catastrophic injuries. Other causes of serious truck accidents include equipment failure, driver error, driver drug and medication use, and distracted driving.

Rules Regarding Truck Driver Rest

Fatigued and overworked truck drivers are a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road around them. Because of this risk, state and federal regulations dictate how often truck drivers must stop to rest as well as how many hours they can drive in a certain period of time.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to pull over and take regular breaks. Drivers must document these breaks, as well as the hours that they slept, in a logbook. These logbooks can be critical pieces of evidence in a negligence claim against a truck driver or trucking company. Drivers who ignore federal guidelines regarding driving hours and rest could be held liable for damages caused by an accident.

Who Is Liable for Injuries Caused in a Truck Accident?

The issue of liability in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or a semi-truck depends on the circumstances of the accident and other factors. Sometimes, a truck accident is not the fault of the driver at all and the blame instead lies with a faulty or defective truck. Parties that could be held legally responsible for damages in a truck accident include but are not limited to:

  • The driver of the truck
  • The owner of the truck
  • The driver’s employer
  • The company leasing the truck
  • The owner of the leasing company
  • The owner of the trailer or company leasing the trailer
  • The truck and/or trailer manufacturer
  • The manufacturer of faulty truck or trailer components

By working closely with a skilled Virginia truck accident lawyer in the wake of a truck crash injury, you will give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome. Your attorney can help you determine how the crash occurred, and which party or parties may be held liable. For example, if the driver simply ignored federal rest rules, they might be found to be responsible for your injuries. However, if the driver’s employer encouraged or even just condoned the driver’s behavior in order to meet deadlines, the employer could be found partially responsible as well. We will assist you in finding every possible avenue for securing compensation and remain at your side every step of the way.

Contact a Virginia Truck Accident Injury Attorney

If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or other large truck, speak with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We understand the complexities of truck crash cases, and we will do everything we can to get you the full compensation you deserve—just as we did in securing a $420,000 settlement for our client who was hit by a truck while he was walking across a truck stop parking lot. Call (833) 997-1774 to get started with a free consultation today.