Fatigued Truck Drivers in Texas City

Nothing in road safety is more important than staying alert, but every day many truck drivers make the dangerous decision to drive fatigued. Truck drivers are under immense pressure to make their deliveries on time, leading many to drive without proper rest—placing everyone else on the road in extreme danger. Accidents caused by truck driver fatigue are so frequent and serious that the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) imposes a rest schedule on commercial drivers. Nevertheless, fatigued truck drivers in Texas City continue to fill the roads, endangering everyone with whom these roads are shared.

Negligence Per Se and Truck Wrecks

Because of the dangers posed by fatigued truck drivers—in Texas City and across the county—the USDOT imposes maximum driving times and mandatory breaks on commercial drivers. Per these rules, a truck driver cannot:

  • Begin a shift without first taking ten hours off
  • Spend more than fourteen consecutive hours on duty in a day
  • Drive more than eleven total hours in a shift
  • Drive more than eight hours at a time without taking a thirty-minute break
  • Drive more than 70 hours in a week

These administrative rules are relevant to civil lawsuits because Texas follows the doctrine of negligence per se, which can provide a shortcut to establishing negligence when the defendant violates a statute or regulation. Usually, negligence is established by proving that the defendant 1) had a duty, 2) breached that duty, 3) the breach caused injury, and 4) the plaintiff suffered damages because of that injury. But, if the plaintiff proves that the other driver was violating a statute or regulation intended to protect against the type of harm that resulted, duty and breach are presumed established, and the injured person can move directly to proving causation and damages (which are often self-evident). This makes it much easier for an injured person to bring a claim, and often encourages the defendant to settle for a larger amount than they otherwise would have.

Damages in Fatigued Driver Accidents

Once liability is established, the next step is determining the appropriate measure of damages. The most common form of damages are compensatory damages, which seek to compensate the injured person for their losses. The two types of compensatory damages are economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover specific financial losses, like medical bills, pharmaceuticals, and lost wages. The calculation of economic damages tends to be relatively straightforward so long as records are available, so it is important to keep medical records, bills, and invoices (and to keep them organized). Noneconomic damages cover subjective losses to which a dollar value is not easily assigned. These include losses for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost enjoyment of life. Because of their subjective nature, and because these damages often run much higher than economic damages, their calculation may be the subject of vigorous dispute.

Comparative Fault

Commonly, the other side will admit to some liability, but argue that the injured person shares responsibility for the accident. But even when a person injured in a Texas City truck accident shares responsibility, they may still recover damages if their share of fault was less than the fatigued driver’s. This is because Texas follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault, meaning when an injured person is found to share a percentage of the negligence resulting in their injury, their recovery is reduced by that amount; but they are entirely prevented from recovery if they are found more than 50% at fault.

For example, imagine a motorist enters an intersection illegally and is t-boned by a fatigued and speeding truck driver, causing the car driver $10,000 in damages. The jury might find they were both negligent, and if so, they will be tasked with assigning percentages of liability. If the jury finds the car driver 40% responsible and the truck driver 60% responsible, the car driver will be allowed to recover 60% of his damages, or $6,000. If, on the other hand, the car driver is found 60% responsible and the truck driver is found 40% responsible, the car driver will recover nothing, because he was found more than 50% liable.

Statute of Limitations

Texas imposes a two-year statute of limitations in personal injury cases. This means an injured person generally has two years from the date of injury to commence a lawsuit, or else it is barred permanently. Though the results may seem harsh, the statute of limitations is strictly applied. Exceptions exist, but they are uncommon.  As such, anyone injured in Texas City by a collision with a fatigued truck driver should seek the advice of counsel as soon as possible.

Rely on Our Texas City Attorneys After a Fatigued Truck Driver Collision

Fatigued truck drivers present a major hazard on our roads and highways. Unfortunately, despite federal efforts to curtail the problem, many injuries are still caused by fatigued truck drivers in Texas City. If you have been injured by a fatigued truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The first step is contacting an attorney, who could review your case and clarify your options. Call today for an initial consultation.

Lone Star Injury Attorneys, PLLC

Lone Star Injury Attorneys, PLLC N/a
Suite 117 , 2000 25th Ave N
Texas City
TX 77590
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