Truck Driver Fatigue
Truckers in Missouri are subject to laws that strictly limit how much they can drive. For example, federal rules regulate the number of hours a truck driver may work in a seven-day week and how often he or she must rest. Individuals who break these laws and subsequently hurt someone else may expose themselves and their employers to legal liability. The motor vehicle collision attorneys at the Law Office of Matt Uhrig may be able to help you if you were hurt in a truck crash near Columbia or elsewhere in the state.Hold Negligent Big Rig Drivers and Companies Accountable
A person injured by a fatigued big rig driver has a legal right to seek compensation for his or her physical, emotional, and financial harm. Although in many cases it is the individual trucker who was directly responsible, Missouri’s adoption of the concept called respondeat superior means that victims sometimes can pursue a negligence claim against the trucking company as well.
To prove a negligence claim, an injured person must prove the following four elements:
- The truck driver had a duty of reasonable care;
- The trucker breached the duty, such as by getting behind the wheel in an exhausted condition;
- The accident was caused by the truck driver’s carelessness; and
- Quantifiable damages were incurred as a result.
Truck drivers owe a duty to others on the road to avoid unreasonable, risky behavior. Federal regulations limit them to 60 hours of time behind the wheel for each seven-day period. Drivers must also take a break of at least 30 minutes for every eight hours they operate a big rig. Violating these or other safety laws likely constitutes a breach of duty.
To satisfy the causation element, the truck driver must have been both the factual and legal cause of the victim’s harm. This means two things. First, the victim would have avoided injury if the trucker had acted with reasonable care. Second, the harm must have been a foreseeable consequence of the driver’s behavior. In some cases, proving this element involves making complex legal arguments that require a skilled attorney.
Succeeding in a truck accident case often depends on acquiring the trucker’s log books through the discovery process. This is especially true in a claim that turns on whether the driver complied with federal regulations governing time behind the wheel. It is therefore important for a person injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer to contact a legal professional as soon as practicable after the collision. An experienced attorney will work quickly to maximize the chance of preserving vital evidence and seek the compensation that you need. This can consist of both economic and non-economic damages, ranging from medical expenses and lost income to pain and suffering.Consult a Jefferson City Attorney for Your Truck Accident Claim
Litigating cases that arise from truck accidents is often more complicated than those that involve car crashes. An experienced attorney knows how to deal with trucking companies, their insurance providers, and the complex federal regulations that govern this industry. The truck accident lawyers of the Law Office of Matt Uhrig have the skill and experience to help victims of crashes in Jefferson City and the surrounding area. We also assist individuals in Columbia, Ashland, and throughout Missouri. To schedule a free appointment, complete our online contact form or call (573) 657-2050.