How Can I Prove an Hours of Service Violation Following a Truck Accident?
Commercial trucking is an inherently demanding profession. Operating a big rig in traffic for hours at a time is as physically draining as it is mentally exhausting.
What’s more, truckers face considerable pressure to meet tight deadlines, regardless of any unanticipated delays or heavy traffic that adds to their travel time. As such, commercial drivers are often incentivized to remain behind the wheel long after they should have pulled over to rest.
Driving while drowsy is never a good idea, but it can be especially dangerous for truckers. In the event of a collision, 18-wheelers can do far more damage than standard cars, pickup trucks, or SUVs.
To mitigate fatigue-related wrecks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits how long commercial drivers can spend on the road before stopping to rest. Called hours of service regulations, these rules aim to prioritize the safety of everyone on the road without being prohibitive to the transportation industry.
If you were hurt in a truck accident and you think fatigue played a role, proving an hours of service violation could bolster your claim. If you’re unsure how to go about doing so, a resourceful personal injury attorney can help.
A seasoned lawyer can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the crash to determine what kinds of evidence you’ll have to obtain to prove liability. When trying to corroborate an hours of service violation, you may need:
- GPS data;
- Black box data;
- Weigh station receipts;
- Driver’s log entries;
- Cellular data;
- Toll booth tickets;
- Receipts from food and fuel stops; and
- Maintenance records.
Since the motor carrier is unlikely to release records that implicate one of their drivers simply because you asked, it may be necessary to apply pressure—by filing subpoenas, for example—in order to acquire them. Thankfully, as long as you turn to a reputable firm, your truck accident attorney should be able to compile all of the above on your behalf.
You can support your legal team’s efforts by preserving any and all documentation that corresponds to your injury-related expenses. While Florida allows for the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages, claimants must prove that they did, in fact, incur such losses before they can include them in the settlement negotiations.
Documents worth saving for your lawyer to review include:
- Hospital bills;
- Diagnostic images;
- Medical records;
- Insurance statements;
- Pay stubs detailing any missed work; and
- Receipts or invoices for reasonably necessary replacement services.
You should also start a journal as soon as possible. Entries about the ways in which your condition is hurting your quality of life will help demonstrate the extent of non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Discuss Your Case with a Truck Accident Attorney in Stuart
If you were struck by a drowsy trucker, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine how best to proceed. From the day you call our office to the day your case is resolved, you’ll be treated with the utmost compassion, respect, and professionalism. Call 772-266-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Stuart.