Big trucking companies often expect a lot from their drivers, and that could include putting in long hours as they drive their haul a long distance. There are, however, rules and regulations in many states, and at the federal level, that puts limits on just how long a truck driver can remain behind the wheel without getting a break. If you were recently struck by a big truck and you have reason to believe that the driver was asleep immediately prior to the accident, you might be able to hold not just the driver but the company they work for financially responsible for your injuries and suffering. Here are some tips to keep in mind following an accident with a large truck in which the driver might have been asleep.
Witnesses Could Be Key
You'll of course want to start out by following all usual protocol for what you should do following an accident. Seek medical attention if necessary, contact the authorities and exchange information with the driver of the truck if possible. You can also take photos or otherwise document what happened. But if you suspect the driver was asleep at the wheel, you may also want to seek out witnesses in the area. Did anyone else see the truck clearly drifting back and forth before it hit you? Did a nearby security camera actually film the driver appearing to nod off behind the wheel? Hopefully, the driver will be honest and tell the police they fell asleep because they were working long hours, but you should be prepared to collect evidence if necessary.
Look Into the Law
If it's clear the driver of the truck was asleep, they can likely be held liable for negligence. But what if they fell asleep because the truck driver was forced to keep working by their company and was not in compliance with state or federal laws regarding trucking? If a company forces their drivers to continue working when they should not be, you may be able to hold not just the driver but the entire company responsible for the accident. In order to do this though, you'll need to research the applicable laws and regulations.
Contact an Attorney
A big trucking company is likely to do everything within its power to defend itself after an accident; at the very least, you can expect a seasoned lawyer or two to show up at the negotiating table. If you want to get a payout or settlement, you need your own legal counsel on your side. Contact a truck accident lawyer today for more information