Large truck accidents are terrifying. When trucks that weigh in the ballpark of 20,000 pounds tips over, jackknife, or crash into another vehicle, person, or object, the damages can be devastating. The amount of force involved in large truck collisions is magnitudes greater than the amount of force involved in accidents only involving passenger vehicles due to the sheer size of the trucks. 

Truck accidents are caused by numerous factors, with truck driver fatigue being a primary one. If you have been involved in a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, it’s important to understand your rights and legal options. Call Tetzel Law today to learn more. 

Drowsy Driving Leads to Deaths

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), data shows that approximately 30-40 percent of all heavy truck accidents are contributed to by truck driver fatigue. Truck drivers are often more fatigued than drivers of passenger cars due to the long hours that they drive, often without proper rest along the way. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that truck drivers take designated rest periods, sometimes, drivers are under pressure to meet deadlines and do not adhere to these requirements. What’s more, drivers may use substances—both legal and illegal—to help themselves stay awake, which can ultimately increase the risk of a crash.

Who’s Liable for a Truck Accident?

Liability for a truck accident in Massachusetts is based on fault. Following a truck accident, an investigation must occur to determine how the accident happened, how it could have been avoided, and who should be held responsible. In a truck accident caused by truck driver fatigue, liable parties might include:

  • The truck driver. If the truck driver knowingly acted outside of the course of their employment while operating the truck, leading to fatigue and ultimately a crash, they could be held liable for the accident independent of the trucking company. However, in most cases, the trucking company will be held liable for a truck driver’s actions based on the theory of vicarious liability.
  • The trucking company. As mentioned above, the trucking company may be held liable for the actions of the trucking company. But the trucking company could also be held responsible if there is evidence that it pressured a driver to violate Hours of Service requirements, leading to the crash. 

Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident Caused By Truck Driver Fatigue

If you are involved in a truck accident, knowing what steps to take can help to protect your rights and ability to recover your full compensation amount. After a crash, you should seek medical care, report the accident to the police, gather evidence at the scene (if your injuries do not preclude you from doing so), report the accident to your insurance company, and hire an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney.

Get the Help You Need Today

At Tetzel Law, our motor vehicle accident attorneys have years of experience representing those who have been involved in truck accidents, including accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call our law firm today or send us a message online at your convenience. You can get in touch at (617) 742-1700.