If a truck driver fails to get adequate rest before getting behind the wheel of a large commercial truck, they put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. A fatigued driver may fall asleep behind the wheel, may fail to signal lane changes, may not notice traffic congestion, or observe things that an alert driver would.
Commercial truck drivers are subject to hours of service regulations that limit how long they can drive. If a truck driver violates these regulations, the driver (or the driver’s employer) could be liable if they cause a serious injury or fatal crash.
Have you been hurt in a collision with a truck driver in Arkansas? If so, don't wait until it is too late to take action and get the compensation you're owed. A Little Rock truck accident lawyer
at Pfeifer Law Firm will be ready help you understand your rights and legal options and will fight for you. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call (501) 374-4440 or reach us online
Federal Hours of Service Regulations for Commercial Trucks
Truck drivers often work long shifts and are often alone behind the wheel. To minimize the risk of fatigued driving, truckers are subject to federal regulations that limit the hours they can work. The hours of service (HOS) rules call for regular breaks, maximum driving periods, and more.
- Drive no more than 11 hours total within a 14-hour window
- Stop driving after 14 hours on duty (following a minimum 10-hour break)
- Take at least a 30-minute break after 8 hours (maximum) of driving
- Drive no more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days
- If a driver splits their 10-hour off-duty period by using the sleeper berth, they must spend at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper birth.
Violations of HOS Regulations
Unfortunately, even though HOS regulations help to decrease the risk of accidents, drivers or the companies that employ them may violate these regulations for a variety of reasons. Drivers often have tight delivery deadlines that their employers may pressure them to meet, even if they're unrealistic. In some instances, a driver may be tempted to violate hours of service regulations if they run into unforeseen delays like traffic, construction, or inclement weather.
Whether the pressure is internal or external, HOS regulations exist to keep personal vehicle drivers and passengers safe while sharing the road with large trucks. If these regulations are ignored and a driver causes a serious injury crash, the responsible parties can and should be held accountable.
Injuries Caused by HOS Violations/Crashes
Truck accidents that are related to HOS violations can result in serious injuries for the passengers involved. Large trucks are much longer, taller, and heavier than passenger vehicles, and inflict more extensive damage in accidents. This is one of the main reasons why commercial trucks are subject to strict HOS regulations in the first place.
Some of the most common injuries that are caused by HOS violation truck crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones and fractures
- Burns and severe scarring
- Soft-tissue injuries
Depending on the nature and severity of the crash, occupants in smaller vehicles could suffer severe and potentially life-altering injuries. When this happens, the victims have the right to expect full and fair compensation for their current and future losses, as well as pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
Proving Your Claim Against a Negligent Truck Driver/Trucking Company
To secure compensation for the medical expenses, property damage, and other losses you have incurred due to a fatigued truck driver, it is necessary to demonstrate negligence. Depending on the specifics of the accident, different parties may be found to be at fault for the accident. When it comes to HOS violations, the truck driver, the trucking company, or both may have acted negligently.
However, even if their actions have been careless or negligent, trucking companies are highly unlikely to admit fault in an accident. These companies are often armed with a team of attorneys who work hard to defend their financial interests. To protect the company’s bottom line, they will do their best to deny, delay, or minimize your injury claim.
To make a successful claim against a negligent truck driver or trucking company, your attorney will gather and review all of the available evidence and identify the party or parties responsible for the crash. This evidence might include:
- The trucker’s official driving log
- The truck’s black box, which records important driving data
- Company policy and directives relating to HOS
- The driver’s cell phone records
- Witness statements
- The police report from the accident
Types of Compensation You Could Seek
If you have been injured in a truck accident related to HOS violations, you may be entitled to compensation. These accidents can result in serious injuries and property damage. You should not have to pay the price for a crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence.
Following a truck accident, you may be owed multiple forms of compensation, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Car repairs and other property damage
- Lost wages from time missed from work work
- Loss of earning capacity
- Disability expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Burial and funeral costs (if someone was killed in the crash and the surviving family members pursue a wrongful death action)
How Pfeifer Law Firm Can Help
If you were hurt in a truck accident and the driver was in violation of hours of service regulations, Attorney Paul Pfeifer and the Pfeifer Law Firm can help. We understand how devastating these accidents can be, and we are ready to get you the justice you deserve.
Attorney Pfeifer has more than twenty years of experience practicing personal injury law in Arkansas. Born and raised in Little Rock, he is committed to helping those who've been hurt in this community get the full and fair compensation they need and deserve after an accident. We represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you won't have to pay us anything until we win your case. There is absolutely no risk for you to speak with us about your case and learn more about your rights and legal options.
We are ready to sit down with you and listen to your story. Call us at (501) 374-4440, fill out a contact form, or chat with us live to get started today.