If you or a loved one have been seriously injured at the hands of a truck driver, know that an experienced Charleston truck driver fatigue accident lawyer from Howell and Christmas could help you recover injury compensation for your resulting damages. A skilled attorney could determine whether or not the trucking company involved was pushing the driver beyond their legal limit of hours driven consecutively, as well as whether or not the driver acted in a negligent way. Read on to learn more about how a devoted injury attorney from Howell and Christmas could fight for your rights today.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act has a number of rules in place with regard to ensuring that driver fatigue does not occur, but just because the rules are in place does not mean that they are always followed. For example, truck drivers cannot drive without pulling over and resting within each 24-hour period.
Some of the dangers of driving while overtired are lack of the attention and awareness one normally might have when well-rested. Another danger is literally falling asleep at the wheel. Reaction times have been shown to be slowed by lack of proper sleep, and all of those factors can negatively affect the driver’s ability to safely operate his or her vehicle.
What Causes Driver Fatigue?
One of the leading causes of driver fatigue resulting in accidents in Charleston is being pushed too hard by the employer to get too many loads to too many places in too short of a period of time. It is in the companies’ financial interest to push their drivers to get their loads over long distances in short periods of time, and drivers often feel pressure to meet those deadlines. Sometimes that can lead to breaking the rules.
Breaking the rules does influence assigning liability in these cases. Sometimes drivers have two logs. There are the ones that are real and the ones that are fake. If Charleston truck driver fatigue accident lawyer can discover the fake logs, that can greatly increase the defendant’s liability exposure.
Liability coverage on the part of the trucking company would absolve the truck driver of responsibility, at least financially, to the plaintiff. However, there are other types of responsibility that the truck driver may not be absolved from. For example, he or she may be punished or fired from work, and may not be able to get out of the traffic tickets given to them at the scene. But as far as the lawsuit goes with respect to a responsibility to the plaintiff, the driver may indeed be absolved of the financial responsibility.
Truck Company Liability
When the trucking company is the ultimate party liable for the accident, a compassionate Charleston truck driver fatigue accident lawyer from Howell and Christmas will not go after the driver for additional damages. The reason that they do not to sue the driver is that they are concerned with the possibility that the jury may wrongly conclude that any verdict they return would have to be paid for personally out of the driver’s checking account. In South Carolina, it is against the rules of evidence to allow the jury to know that liability insurance exists.
While most individuals already know this, it is a risk if an individual names the driver personally in a lawsuit because the verdict may be less than it might otherwise be if the jury thinks the driver is going to be held personally financially responsible. For this reason, attorneys at Howell and Christmas avoid naming the driver personally in the lawsuit.