Freight moves all over this country at a remarkable pace. The vast majority of it gets from here to there by truck. Because much of the road travel consists of long-haul trips, it’s not surprising that truck driver fatigue plays a role in the inevitably high number of big rig accidents.
Victims often find themselves facing serious injuries when they collide with a large truck. Our legal team here in New Jersey is very familiar with the scenario. For example, when a motorist and a semi crash on the interstate, the car driver and passengers don’t stand much of a chance against the size and weight of the truck, even if it is traveling at a slow speed. They are rushed to a local hospital with severe injuries as the police begin their investigation of what happened. The truck driver is often shaken, but uninjured.
Our initial role can be to take part in the investigation to help determine exactly what happened. Often an accident reconstruction team will put the pieces of the puzzle together. It may be difficult, however, to ascertain if the driver of the truck caused the crash because he/she dozed off or was otherwise distracted. Even when a trucker is responsible and law-abiding, fatigue happens. This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the number of hours truck drivers may operate before they are required to rest for a certain amount of time. It’s when quotas need to be met and delivery schedules adhered to that companies and drivers may push the limits. This can pose a risk to everyone else on the road.
If the investigation reveals fatigue or other factors affected the driver’s ability to safely operate his/her truck, the employer might face liability for victims’ losses. Our experience dealing with insurance companies can help families seek compensation.