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How to Prove an Hours of Service Violation Following a Truck Accident

September 17, 2019

by Donaldson & Weston

personal injury lawyer

A sleep-deprived trucker is one of the deadliest hazards on Florida roads. Fatigue can affect response time, coordination, and decision-making—all of which are essential faculties for someone who’s behind the wheel of a big rig.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration introduced the Hours of Service (HoS) Regulations to deter commercial truckers from driving while drowsy. These rules limit the amount of time commercial drivers can spend on the road before stopping to rest. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for truckers to violate the HoS Regulations to boost their income or make up for lost time.

If you were hurt in a truck accident and the at-fault driver appeared to be drowsy or admitted to being sleep-deprived, he or she may have violated the Hours of Service Regulations. Any evidence demonstrating this violation could contribute to the strength of your personal injury claim. Such evidence might include:

  • Data from the vehicle’s black box;
  • Records from the different weigh stations on the trucker’s route;
  • The trucker’s Hours of Service logs;
  • Bills of lading that are dated and time-stamped;
  • GPS data detailing the vehicle’s speeds and locations;
  • Maintenance records that indicate the vehicle could not have traveled as far as it did without the trucker violating the Hours of Service Regulations; and
  • Receipts for tolls, food, drinks, and gas.

What Should I do if I was Hurt in a Collision With a Drowsy Trucker?

If you were hurt in a truck accident—no matter the cause—it’s important that you take immediate steps to strengthen your claim. Besides gathering evidence at the scene such as witness statements, photographs of property damage, and insurance details from the other drivers involved, you may be able to increase your claim’s chances of success by:

  • Visiting a Doctor Right Away: Undergoing a prompt medical evaluation can help your attorney tie your injuries to the crash and prove their severity.
  • Contacting an Attorney: Your lawyer can handle all correspondence with the insurance company and gather time-sensitive evidence while it’s still available.
  • Not Providing Recorded Statements: You never know how your statements to the insurance adjuster might be misrepresented. Direct all such correspondence to your lawyer.
  • Disabling Your Social Media Profiles: Insurance adjusters often review the social media accounts of claimants and their friends and family. Their goal is to find photos, videos, and text posts that can be used to challenge liability or damages. To prevent such a dispute, disable your accounts until your claim has been resolved.