There are strict federal hours of service laws in place to prevent truckers from getting behind the wheel while overworked, drowsy, or fatigued. Still, tired drivers cause truck crashes more often than they should. If you suffered injuries in a wreck caused by a sleepy truck driver, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover medical treatment expenses, lost wages, and any other costs your no-fault insurance policy does not cover. An overworked, drowsy, or fatigued truck driver accident lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA, can help with this process.
The truck accident lawyers from Berger and Green can help you identify the liable parties, and file your claims. We may even be able to demand pain and suffering damages on your behalf, depending on the circumstances of your case. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation and case review.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Pittsburgh Truck Accident With a Fatigued Driver?
The choice no-fault auto insurance system in the state of Pennsylvania means you have some insurance coverage to pay for your medical care following a crash, no matter who caused your wreck. If you can prove the accident occurred because the driver showed negligence—in this case, they got behind the wheel while they were drowsy, overworked, or fatigued—you can try to recover additional damages from their employer. In general, these may include:
- Any remaining medical costs your Medical Benefits policy does not cover;
- Lost wages from the work you missed because of your injuries;
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle; and
- Out-of-pocket costs related to the accident or your injuries.
The choice no-fault system allows some people to try to recover non-economic damages as well. You may be eligible for these damages if:
- You invested in full tort auto insurance;
- You suffered injuries that meet the state’s “serious” injury threshold, including significant impairment of a body function or permanent disfigurement;
- The truck is registered in another state;
- The driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash; or
- You meet another exception in the Pennsylvania auto insurance laws.
We can analyze your situation and determine if you meet any of these eligibility requirements. Claiming pain and suffering damages can increase your payout exponentially.
Who Is Liable for an Overworked or Drowsy Truck Driver Crash?
There are strict hours of service laws that outline how long and how often truckers can drive without stopping to rest. These laws require them to log when they take breaks, when they sleep, and the number of hours they spend on the road. The goal is to limit the number of fatigued drivers on the road.
There also are federal laws that prohibit truck drivers from operating their rig under the influence of any medication or drug that causes drowsiness. Many common medications can slow reaction time and hinder decision-making skills, leading to accidents. Even if a trucker takes a legal medication without knowing the potential side effects, it could constitute negligence.
Still, trucking companies demand a lot from truck drivers. The drivers also put a lot of pressure on themselves. They need to meet tight or almost-impossible deadlines and make deliveries quickly so they can hurry on to the next one. This can cause a trucker to skip rest periods, falsify their logs, and drive drowsy or fatigued.
When a driver is overworked, they are not the only party liable for the damages that occur in a wreck they cause. Their employer is also responsible, thanks to a legal doctrine called respondeat superior. In most cases where a truck driver dozes off and causes a crash, the trucker’s employer is financially liable for any injuries or property damage suffered. Our attorneys can help you understate employer liability in a truck accident.
Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help Me Get the Money I Need?
If we agree to work together on your case, we will investigate what happened before, during, and immediately after your crash. This process includes:
- Identifying and analyzing evidence;
- Interviewing witnesses and experts;
- Working with a survey team to document the scene;
- Calling in accident reconstruction specialists to recreate the crash;
- Getting a better understanding of any permanent injuries and future costs; and
- Collecting any documentation of your injuries, expenses, and other damages.
We will also contact the trucking company and demand it to protect any evidence in your case in its possession. This prevents the destruction of evidence that is essential to your case. Some of the evidence a trucking company may have includes:
- The driver’s rest logs;
- Electronic data, including from the truck’s onboard computer;
- Video of the accident, if the truck has cameras;
- Post-accident drug and alcohol testing results;
- Employment records for the driver; and
- Other related records.
Once we complete the investigation and have the evidence we need to prove our claims, we will try to recover the compensation you deserve based on your damages. We might:
- File your Medical Benefits claim if you have not already;
- File a claim against the trucking company to recover your remaining financial losses; and
- File a claim against the trucking company to recover your non-economic pain and suffering damages, if you carry full tort insurance or meet one of the limited tort exceptions.
In most cases, insurance companies will negotiate with us after reading our demand letter and looking at how we outline the damages you suffered. We can usually reach an out-of-court settlement in these cases. This is the benefit of building a strong case against the trucking company.
Talk to a Lawyer in Pittsburgh About Your Case.
The legal team from Berger and Green offers free case reviews and consultations for truck accident victims in the Pittsburgh area. If you believe a drowsy trucker caused your wreck, call us today at 412-661-1400. We will handle your claim on contingency. That means you owe us no attorney’s fees until we settle your case or win an award in your favor.