Drivers who operate motor vehicles while tired pose a safety threat to themselves and other drivers. Professional truck drivers who drive while fatigued pose an even bigger risk to other drivers on the road, given the weight and power of a large truck. Despite regulations intended to prevent tired drivers from operating their trucks, fatigued drivers stay on the road far too often. If you’ve been injured by a drowsy driver, Marietta truck accident lawyer Norman Miller can help.
Truck drivers are often under intense pressure to make as many deliveries as possible on tight deadlines. Often they are paid for every mile that they drive, which incentivizes them to ignore their fatigue and keep driving in an effort to earn more. Even worse, some drivers ignore the hours of service regulations intended to prevent them from driving for unreasonable amounts of time in one stretch. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.How Driver Fatigue Impairs Performance
When an exhausted driver gets behind the wheel, a number of factors increase the risk of collision. According to the NHTSA, vehicles studies show that the following issues affect drowsy drivers:
- Slower reaction time
- Reduced vigilance
- Deficits in information processing
In turn, fatigued drivers can take many hazardous actions on the road, including:
- Swerving into other lanes or off the road entirely
- Hitting a median
- Lack of focus
- Falling asleep
- Hitting another vehicle
Drivers who cause automobile accidents because they drive while drowsy or sleepy can be held liable for any damages that result from the accident. Under Georgia law, victims who are injured by a drowsy driver can sue the driver for compensation in a civil suit. A victim usually would use the theory of negligence to establish the driver’s liability.
In general, this means that the victim would try to show that the driver drove more carelessly than the typical person would have driven in similar circumstances. Generally speaking, here are four basic things that a victim must meet to succeed in a negligence claim. First, the victim must show that he or she was owed a duty of reasonable care by the driver. The victim then must prove that the driver violated that duty, such as by falling asleep or swerving into another lane. Both of the first two elements will be met automatically if the driver broke a law intended to protect others on the road. The last two steps in a negligence claim, which must be shown in all cases, require the victim to prove that the victim suffered actual damages, and that driver’s breach of the duty caused the victim’s injuries. If the same injuries would have happened without the driver acting carelessly, the victim will not be able to get damages.
If the victim meets each of those four elements, he or she likely can get damages from the driver or other responsible defendants. These can extend to medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and other costs arising from the accident. Additionally, victims may be able to sue the drowsy truck driver’s employer. An employer can be held liable for a driver’s careless actions if these actions were taken within the scope and course of the driver’s employment. An employer or trucking company also may be liable for its own negligence if it failed to maintain accurate logbooks or implemented a policy that required unreasonably long hours of driving. Any claim against the driver, the employer, or both must be filed within four years of the accident, or the victim will risk losing the right to compensation.Seasoned Marietta Truck Accident Attorney
The personal injury lawyer Norman Miller is dedicated to holding negligent truck drivers and employers responsible in Roswell, Smyrna, and other areas of Georgia. We understand the stress and financial strain that accompany truck accidents, which is why we are committed to fighting for the compensation our clients deserve. When you contact us, we work to will create a strategy specifically tailored to your situation. If you have been injured in a truck accident, call us at 770-284-3727 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation today.