How Truck Driver Fatigue Could Have Caused Your Crash

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How a Washington Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help Prove Operator Fatigue in Your Personal Injury Case

Unfortunately, drowsy driving is a leading cause of truck accidents in Washington, often resulting in catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, amputation, or paralysis. However, it’s often complicated on your own to find the evidence to support that a trucker was too tired to drive safely and caused you or a loved one harm.  

You need the assistance of an experienced Washington truck accident lawyer at Max Meyers Law who understands the unique challenges of proving the driver's and trucking company's negligence caused your semi collision. Our team fights diligently against their insurance companies to help protect your legal rights and obtain the compensation you deserve under Washington law. 

Reasons Truck Drivers Are Often Too Tired to Drive drowsy-truck-driver-in-cab

Drowsy truckers are a significant hazard on our state’s busy roads and highways. Unfortunately, these professionals frequently battle fatigue due to various factors inherent to the industry, such as:

Erratic schedules

Fluctuating delivery deadlines and shifting between daytime and nighttime driving affect the quality of their sleep and lead to exhaustion when they’re awake.

Night driving

Although there’s often less traffic, traveling at night interferes with an operator’s natural sleep-wake cycle, increasing the likelihood that they’ll cause a catastrophic drowsy driving truck collision.

Long hours behind the wheel

Although federal regulations outline hours of service requirements, short-haul exceptions, and adequate rest breaks, delivery timelines often conflict with these guidelines. Additionally, the monotony of the road can exacerbate fatigue.

Sleeping in their truck

Many semis are equipped with sleeping berths for drivers to rest in. However, these areas may be inadequate for them to wake up feeling refreshed.

Medical conditions

Diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, insomnia, and other diseases can cause sleep problems which contribute to a trucker’s tiredness while driving.

The Dangers of Operating a Vehicle While Fatigued 

Many people don’t realize this, but drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving due to:  

  • Slower reaction time. Fatigue impedes reflexes, making it harder for a truck driver to respond quickly to dangers on the road.
  • Reduced judgment. When tired, a trucker's judgment is diminished, and they’re more likely to make poor decisions and drive more recklessly.
  • Attention lapses. It can be much more difficult for a drowsy truck operator to stay focused on all the skills necessary for safe driving. They may experience moments of zoning out, increasing the likelihood they’ll cause a tragic wreck. 
  • Falling asleep. Fatigued truckers can fight to stay awake or may even nod off at the wheel. Consequently, they don’t realize they’ve veered over the center line into oncoming traffic or are about to rear-end an automobile before it’s too late.

6 Essential Steps to Take After a Semi Collision in Washington 

If you suffered injuries in a drowsy driving truck accident, take immediate action to protect your well-being and legal rights. Here are six crucial steps to follow after the crash:  

  1. Call the police. Contact emergency services and report the accident. Law enforcement officers will document the scene, gather information from all parties involved, and create a police report, which can provide valuable evidence about the cause of the wreck.
  2. Get prompt medical care. Even if you don't feel seriously injured, seek medical attention immediately. You may have suffered an injury but not experience symptoms right away. Being examined by a doctor soon after the crash identifies hidden injuries and ensures you receive timely treatment. 
  3. Obtain the trucker's contact information. Exchange contact and insurance details with each other, and for the trucking company, too, as you’ll need it to file your insurance claim. 
  4. Take photos. If you’re able to, capture vehicle damage, skid marks, road conditions, and any visible injuries you suffered. These photos will be important evidence to support your claim and can help our experienced truck accident legal team work with experts to determine the cause of the crash.
  5. Collect eyewitness contact information. If there are bystanders who witnessed the truck accident, get their names and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can corroborate your account of the events and strengthen your case.
  6. Retain an attorney. As soon as possible, enlist the services of Max Meyers Law. We’ll explain the process of filing a claim, protect your rights, and work ardently to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses.

How the Skilled Professionals at Max Meyers Law Determine If Drowsy Driving Caused Your Semi-Truck Crash

If you suspect the trucker's drowsy driving caused your accident, it’s crucial to seek legal guidance right away. The trucking company could have much of the evidence you need to prove this and won’t give it to you without attorney representation. Here are ways my legal team and I can help you prove the trucker was too fatigued to drive:

  • Investigate the cause. We conduct a comprehensive investigation into the crash to establish if it was the result of trucker negligence and lack of sleep. If necessary, we’ll hire an expert witness, such as an accident reconstruction expert, to detail why the semi-truck collision occurred.
  • Send the trucking company a spoliation letter. Another important step we take is to send a spoliation letter, which is a legal document that notifies the trucker’s employer of your claim and that they must preserve all relevant evidence. This action prevents crucial information from being tampered with or destroyed.
  • Collect evidence. This includes witness statements, dashcam footage, the driver's log book, electronic onboard recording device data, cellphone records, and the trucker’s receipts to support your claim. This evidence helps establish that the trucker failed to take required rest breaks under federal regulations and was too drowsy to drive safely.

Compensation You May Recover in a Washington Drowsy Driving Truck Accident

If it’s proven that the trucker's fatigue caused the collision accident and you suffered injuries as a result, there are different types of economic and non-economic damages you may receive in a settlement. We’ll provide a thorough assessment of accident-related costs, such as:  

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and lost earning capacity damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damages

If you lost a loved one due to a trucker’s negligence, your family might also be entitled to wrongful death damages.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.