Beltway Accidents Caused by Commercial Truck Driver Fatigue
As hard as it is to say in this era of advanced technology and automotive safety, everyday occurrences such as fatal traffic accidents can still be an unavoidable consequence of living in a mobile society. And while we may believe ourselves to be immune to the effects of another individual’s driving error or negligent act, the odds are quite high that anyone reading this sentence may eventually be involved in a random and unpredictable car, truck or motorcycle wreck at some point in his or her life.
As automobile and commercial trucking accident attorneys, Lebowitz & Mhzen, LLC, is a law firm dedicated to helping victims of negligence-based roadway collisions recover the damages due them under the laws of the State of Maryland. We know that each year tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children are either badly injured or killed as a result of an automotive-related traffic accident. Particularly dangerous are those collisions between very large 18-wheelers and much smaller passenger cars, SUVs and family minivans.
Whether a crash involves a semi tractor-trailer, box-style delivery truck, dump truck, auto transporter, or tanker truck hauling volatile liquids, the results for all involved can be devastating. Property damage is almost a given, but bodily injuries may be numerous and severe depending on the circumstances surrounding the collision. Cuts, lacerations and contusions can be the least of the injuries sustained by victims of a commercial truck-passenger car wreck. Broken bones, internal bleeding and closed-head trauma are also possible in medium- to high-speed beltway and interstate crashes.
The legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen knows that recovering physically from a bad traffic accident with a semi tractor-trailer or other large commercial motor vehicle could take weeks or months in serious cases. Victims of Maryland automobile and trucking-related road accidents have enough to worry about without thinking of the thousands of dollars in medical bills that inevitably flood in following a bad accident.
Some of the more deadly collisions between cars and large commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) involve driver fatigue on the part of the trucker. As one of the primary causes of trucking-related traffic accidents, the effects of driver fatigue -- namely excessive hours behind the wheel and lack of rest away from the road -- are addressed in both federal and state safety regulations. In fact, rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) specify the maximum Hours of Service (HOS) that a driver may operate his rig, but the rules are not always followed.
As experienced personal injury lawyers and professional trial attorneys, Lebowitz & Mzhen knows that there are some commercial truckers that routinely do not abide by the federal HOS requirements. Similarly, trucking companies themselves have been known to reward drivers who deliver their cargo on-time or ahead of schedule regardless of whether the driver violates the over-hours limitations established by the FMCSA.
Despite the fact that trucking industry experts have known for decades that drowsy driving or fatigued operation of large CMVs is a serious and potentially deadly problem on our roadways, violations of the HOS regulations (FMCSA Part 395.1-15) still continue here in Maryland and across the U.S. Even though commercial truckers are required to keep log books documenting their time behind the wheel, many individuals have been known to falsify those records.
Regardless of the reasons, drowsy driving by a commercial driver is one of the most dangerous situations that one can come upon. When an 18-wheeler, such as a tanker truck carrying gasoline or other volatile or caustic substance, goes out of control due to its operator nodding off behind the wheel, the potential for serious injury or death affects every person in the immediate vicinity of that vehicle.
Truck driver negligence is something that the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen look for when a commercial trucking victim considers a personal injury lawsuit. In cases of fatal trucking-related highway collisions, the family of the victim may also wish to file a claim against the driver and/or the trucking company in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit. If the trucker is found to have violated federal rules regulating his or her hours of service, which can be tied to a personal injury accident or fatal crash, there may be strong grounds for a claim.
In the course of building a strong case against a driver or trucking company, our legal staff gathers all the facts available including statements from drivers and other witnesses to the accident, reviewing any black box data, looking into the truckers past driving record, examining the accident scene and reviewing police reports. By evaluating the effect that the accident had on a victim -- including the injuries sustained as a result -- our team can realistically estimate the cost of that particular crash to the victim and his family.
Lebowitz & Mzhen has the legal training and courtroom experience that can be brought to bear on the negligent parties of a commercial trucking injury accident. We understand how an event like a drowsy driving-related commercial truck collision can leave a victim with life-altering injuries and an uncertain future. We know the human toll of these kinds of road wrecks, and we work diligently to recover damages related to medical expenses, surgical costs, rehab bills and even lost income due to the inability to return to work following the event.
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a traffic accident involving an 18-wheeler, city bus or other CMV, our firm provides victims with a free, no-obligation consultation to help individuals better understand their rights under the law. Please contact our offices to make an appointment to discuss your automobile or trucking accident-related injuries. We will help you understand the steps toward filing a personal claim against the responsible party(s). Call our toll-free number at (800) 654-1949; or send an email to either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to set up an initial meeting.