Austin Fatigued or Drowsy Driving Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck drivers have hectic schedules and are under immense pressure to make tight deadlines when they’re transporting goods and materials. Even though federal regulations limit the number of hours truck drivers can be on the road, many drivers violate these rules or push themselves past their limits. These fatigued drivers are a hazard to everyone on the road.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, our Austin truck accident attorneys understand how a severe accident can change your life. Commercial trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and the force of their impact on a smaller vehicle can be devasting, resulting in long-term injuries and sometimes even fatalities. If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, you have a right to pursue full compensation.
Our attorneys care deeply about the clients who hire us, and we will provide the assertive representation and comprehensive services you need to reach your legal goals. You can depend on us to fight effectively for the monetary award you need to cover your medical care, expenses, and other losses. We’ll also be there if you need help finding a doctor, getting your vehicle repaired, or if you simply need someone to listen to your concerns.
Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (737) 249-6300 for a free consultation to learn more about our services, your legal options, and how we can help you move your life forward after your truck accident.
Hours of Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the number of hours truck drivers can be on the road during one shift. This is supposed to prevent drivers from becoming fatigued at the wheel, so they don’t cause an accident with other vehicles.
The hours of service regulations are:
- Truck drivers are prohibited from driving more than 14 hours after spending 10 hours off duty.
- Truck drivers can only drive up to 11 hours after spending 10 hours off duty.
- Truck drivers must take an uninterrupted 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours.
- Truck drivers cannot exceed 60 hours of driving in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period.
- The 14 and 11-hour driving limits can be extended by up to two hours if there are adverse driving conditions.
- According to the sleeper berth provision, drivers may split their 10-hour off-duty period: One period must be at least two hours long, and one period must include at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
These rules and other federal regulations aim to keep everyone on the roadways safe. If a truck driver violates any laws that cause injury to other drivers or passengers, they could be held liable. It is your right to pursue compensation after an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence.
Can Fatigued or Drowsy Driving Cause Accidents?
Many people, not just truck drivers, operate their vehicles despite feeling tired or lacking adequate sleep. It’s not uncommon. However, it’s incredibly dangerous. Fatigued driving is just as reckless as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It reduces reaction time and causes other symptoms that put others at risk. If a drowsy driver encounters hazardous conditions, they will likely not have the ability to react appropriately to avoid a crash.
The most common symptoms associated with drowsy or fatigued driving include:
- Difficulty focusing
- Slowed reaction time
- Altered sensory perception
- Inability to understand and follow traffic signs and signals
- Loss of consciousness
- Reduced motor skills
When a truck driver is tired, they could exhibit certain actions that could lead to an accident, such as:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Drifting into another lane
- Failing to check blind spots
When these behaviors are combined with fatigue, it increases the chance of a crash occurring. Injuries are typically more severe when a large commercial truck collides with a small car, since the force of impact on the smaller car is immense and potentially destructive.
Texas Fault System and Insurance Laws
Texas follows a standard fault system when determining financial responsibility after an accident. That means whoever is at fault is the person who must provide compensation for the injured party’s losses. If you were in an accident with a fatigued truck driver, you might be entitled to compensation from their insurance company.
State laws require all motorists to purchase liability insurance with minimum limits. When an accident victim files a claim, they can pursue coverage up to the limits listed on the policy. However, these limits are typically not enough to cover someone’s expenses after a collision with a commercial truck. For that reason, federal laws require truck drivers to have high limits of liability on their policies.
The required limits depend on the materials the driver is transporting and how much the truck weighs:
- Non-hazardous freight and truck under 10,001 pounds: $300,000
- Non-hazardous freight and truck over 10,000 pounds: $750,000
- Oil: $1 million
- Other hazardous materials: $5 million
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be entitled to a settlement from the insurance company. You must prove that the truck driver caused your injuries by providing substantial evidence, such as medical records, dashcam footage, data from the truck’s “black box,” tire marks on the road, and more. Insurance companies, unfortunately, will not be in your corner during this process. Their main goal is to save money whenever possible.
That’s why it is crucial that you hire Gibson Hill Personal Injury to represent you. We won’t let insurance companies use unfair tactics to diminish the compensation you receive. We will thoroughly investigate the fatigued driving accident and prove that the truck driver or trucking company should be held liable.
Compensation You Could Seek for Your Losses
Physical, financial, and emotional losses are common after a truck accident. If you get hurt, you require medical treatment to recover, which costs money. If you’re unable to work, you can’t earn an income. If you become permanently disabled, you’ll need future medical care to manage ongoing pain and symptoms.
All your losses add up, and without the right amount of compensation, you could end up paying for some expenses out of pocket. You shouldn’t have to do that when another person was responsible for the crash.
The compensation you seek may cover:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
It can be challenging to determine the full value of an accident victim’s case. It’s even more difficult to prove how much money someone deserves for their injuries and suffering. Gibson Hill Personal Injury will review your case and pursue the maximum settlement from the insurance company that we believe is fair. Some of the factors that could contribute to the calculation we come up with are:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Effect on the injury on daily life and wellbeing
- Permanent impairment or disability resulting from the accident
- Inability to maintain employment
- The total cost of medical treatment
- The estimated cost of necessary future treatment
- Length of the recovery period
- Value of property damage from the collision
- Mental or emotional injuries, such as fear of driving, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Since the insurance company will look out for their best interests, we will aggressively seek a settlement amount to cover your past and future losses. If they deny your claim or refuse to provide a fair settlement offer, we have the experience and resources to file a lawsuit and argue your case in court. We never back down from a fight.
Shared Fault and Its Impact On Compensation
The modified comparative negligence rule, or proportionate responsibility as it’s known in Texas, could diminish your total compensation if you share any blame for the accident. Even if you’re only partly responsible, you could end up with less money than if the truck driver was 100% at fault. Under this rule, a jury may reduce your losses by your percentage of shared fault.
For instance, if you were in an accident with a fatigued or drowsy truck driver and a jury determines you were 25% to blame, your compensation would diminish by 25%. Instead of pursuing $100,000 to cover your total losses, you would only be entitled to $75,000. Even though the truck driver’s actions mostly contributed to your injuries, you would still have to accept some responsibility.
In the aftermath of an accident, you might feel the need to explain in detail what happened. However, it’s important that you just stick to the facts, especially to the investigating officer or insurance company. Gibson Hill Personal Injury will handle all communication on your behalf, so you don’t say something that could negatively affect your case.
Contact Us Today
Our team of lawyers has the experience, knowledge, and skills to seek the maximum monetary award you need. When you hire us, we will create a personalized plan to reach your legal goals. We know the importance of holding the truck driver liable for the harm they caused. You suffered as a result of their mistake. You can depend on us to fight for justice and advocate for your rights.
We’ve been representing truck accident victims since 2013. You can have the peace of mind knowing we’re handling every step of your case with the care and diligence that we would provide to any family member.
Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (737) 249-6300 if you sustained injuries in a fatigued or drowsy driving truck accident. We will be happy to meet with you for a free consultation to discuss our legal services.