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Truck Driver Asleep at the Wheel Caused a New York Trucking Accident: What are my Rights?

| Mar 5, 2020 | Car Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents

Queens Trucking Accident Lawyers Explain What Happens When a Truck Driver Asleep at the Wheel Caused a New York Trucking Accident

Even to a well-rested and experienced truck driver, large commercial vehicles like 18 wheelers, semi tractor-trailers, and other box trucks are inherently dangerous. But when truck drivers are not well-rested or are inexperienced, it makes safe driving almost impossible. In fact, AAA found that missing just two or three hours of sleep could increase a driver’s risk of crashing to that of a drunk driver. According to CDC research, each year drowsy driving is responsible for over 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 wrongful deaths. These are staggering numbers considering that drowsy driving is a preventable and unnecessary risk.

Our Queens trucking accident lawyers understand just how dangerous it can be when a truck driver asleep at the wheel causes a New York trucking accident. Here at COHEN & COHEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, P.C. , our experienced legal team handles cases where a truck driver asleep at the wheel causes serious personal injuries or catastrophic damages to an innocent person. Our lawyers are dedicated to working with victims and their families to recreate the truck accident to prove liability against the truck driver and the trucking company. We use leading experts to help review, investigate, and determine the causes of a tractor-trailer wreck including by reviewing a truck’s ECM (or “black box”) data. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or if a loved one was wrongfully killed in a New York trucking accident due to a truck driver asleep at the wheel, ask our law firm for a FREE consultation to learn how we can start to protect your rights today by dialing 800-247-8164.

Damages from a Truck Driver Asleep at the Wheel

A truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel turns a large 18 wheeler or semi tractor-trailer into an unguided missile on our roadways. This means that victims in other vehicles or who are on or around the roadway as pedestrians are put at risk due to a truck driver’s unnecessary actions. Unfortunately, a truck driver who is trying to make more money at a faster rate by depriving himself or herself of sleep is just risking our lives for money.

As a result, injuries and damages from New York trucking accidents due to a fatigued, tired, or driver who falls asleep at the wheel are significant. Some of the most common examples of 18 wheeler wreck injuries include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones or fractured bones
  • Organ injuries
  • Nerve injuries
  • Significant disfigurement or scarring
  • Wrongful death, and
  • Other serious and catastrophic personal injuries that our Queens trucking accident lawyers will handle for you and your family.

What May Victims Be Entitled to in a New York Trucking Accident Caused by a Fatigued Truck Driver?

Victims with been seriously injured in a New York trucking accident due to a truck driver as sleep at the wheel may be entitled to “damages.” Under New York law, “damages” is the measure of relief that a party in an action may be entitled to. In personal injury actions such as truck wreck cases, damages are compensatory or monetary in nature. This means that victims may be entitled to the following monetary relief in a New York trucking accident:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills, both past and future
  • Lost future earnings if unable to return to the same line of work
  • Loss of consortium with family members
  • Property damage
  • Mobility assistance devices such as wheelchairs, motorized chairs, or canes/walking devices
  • Modifications to a victim’s home or car, and
  • Other damages that are causally related to the 18 wheeler wreck.

Proving Liability in a New York Trucking Accident: Using FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations

The trucking industry is an interstate business, meaning that it extends through many states across the country. While states have similar laws, oftentimes each state has different legal and regulatory obligations on truck drivers and trucking companies. Sometimes a truck driver is only traveling through a state for a short amount of time and decides it is not worth the hassle to look up the legal obligations or comply with them. This is particularly true because the trucking business is an industry focused on the motto “time is money.” The faster that a truck driver can make a delivery, the faster that the truck driver and trucking company can get paid. The more deliveries, the more money.

This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted federal regulations that create limits on truck drivers and trucking companies no matter what state they are from, in, or going to. These regulations are the minimum requirements that all truck drivers and trucking companies must satisfy, in addition to whatever state laws the semi tractor-trailer is traveling through.

Hours of Service Regulations (HOS)

One comprehensive part of the FMCSA regulations is the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. These regulations prescribe exactly how long a truck driver may operate a commercial vehicle in a given day, week, or even an 8-day period. When these hours of service regulations are violated and a truck driver asleep at the wheel causes a truck wreck, victims may be able to use the violation of these regulations as evidence of negligence to prove liability in a New York 18 wheeler crash.

The most applicable HOS regulations include the following:

  • Maximum 14 consecutive hours “on shift” and a minimum of 10 consecutive hours “off shift”
  • Maximum of 8 consecutive hours driving during a shift before taking at least a 30-minute break
  • Maximum of 10 hours total spent driving during a 14-hour shift
  • Maximum of 60 hours spent “on shift” in any seven consecutive days
  • Maximum of 70 hours spent “on shift” in any eight consecutive days, and
  • Other regulations your Queens trucking accident lawyers may use.

Injured by a Fatigued Truck Driver? Get Our Law Firm’s Help Today

It costs you nothing to start working with our Queens trucking accident lawyers at COHEN & COHEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, P.C. This is because we accept cases on a contingency fee arrangement meaning that you owe us no money until we recover compensation for you in a settlement or award. Learn more about how we can help protect your rights to compensation after a truck driver asleep at the wheel causes your serious injuries in a New York trucking accident by calling 800-247-8164 for a free case evaluation or use our convenient and easy-to-use contact us box available here.

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