Sharing Louisiana roadways with semi-trucks can make many drivers nervous under the best of circumstances. When a truck driver is overtired, he or she puts everyone on the road at risk of an 18-wheeler accident. Injuries suffered in these crashes are often more serious than those between passenger vehicles and frequently result in fatalities.
The demands of the trucking industry often compels drivers to push themselves beyond what is considered reasonable by federal and Louisiana law. Some drivers fail to take the rest breaks they are required to take and may take stimulants in an attempt to stay alert. In either case, the driver’s capacity to control his or her vehicle is diminished.
Every truck driver is required to keep a logbook. Rest breaks, driving time and fuel receipts are just some of the information contained in the logbook. If a trucker is driving for longer than he or she should, it is possible that the logbook may be falsified.
A review of this logbook could reveal important evidence in any civil action filed as the result of an accident involving a fatigued driver. Any discrepancies found could point to the fact that the driver was negligent. Proving negligence is required in order to recover damages in a wrongful death or personal injury claim.
If you or a family member was involved in an 18-wheeler accident, and it is suspected that the driver was tired and/or taking stimulants, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible in order to gather the evidence required to prove negligence. Moreover, the driver’s employer may also be joined in the claim based on the legal theory of respondeat superior wherein an employer can be held liable for the actions of the driver. A successfully litigated claim may lead to an award of damages that could help defray the financial losses typically seen in these accidents.