Truck Driver Fatigue
Because of the significant difference in the weight between a passenger vehicle and a tractor trailer, truck accidents can have a devastating effect. Based in Bowling Green, the Kentucky truck accident lawyers of English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP have been helping clients with their legal problems since 1973. If you have been injured in a truck wreck, we can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled.Truck Drivers Must Abide by Laws that Limit Driving Time
Kentucky’s location in the middle of the country makes it a hub for commercial vehicles. In 2012, there were more than 162,000 commercial trucks registered in the state, according to a report by the Kentucky State Police. In an attempt to limit the number of accidents caused by fatigued drivers, federal law limits the number of hours a truck driver can legally drive. Truckers and their employers can face significant fines and civil liability if they break these laws.Kentucky Law Protects Tractor Trailer Accident Victims
Although there are several legal theories that may apply in a tractor trailer accident case, most truck accident victims who file a lawsuit allege negligence on the part of the driver or the trucking company. To prevail in a truck accident negligence case, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of evidence that:
- The truck driver or trucking company owed a duty to the plaintiff;
- The driver or company breached that duty; and
- The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the driver’s or the company’s actions.
All drivers on Kentucky roads owe a duty to other drivers to behave reasonably behind the wheel. Truck drivers are required by law to limit the number of hours they drive, and one who drives in excess of those limits has breached his duty. Even if the trucker has not exceeded the legal hours limit but is too tired to drive, he has breached his duty to drive reasonably. If such a driver causes an injury accident, the trucker, and likely his employer, could be held liable for damages.
Because of the unique circumstances of tractor trailer accidents, it is important to contact an attorney as soon after the accident as possible. This will provide the best chance for important evidence to be preserved and collected.Negligent Defendants are Liable for Damages
If a truck accident plaintiff successfully proves her case, the truck driver or trucking company will have to pay compensatory damages. Economic compensatory damages cover the plaintiff’s easily calculable damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle damage. A plaintiff may also recover noneconomic damages to compensate for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or disfigurement.
In some cases, plaintiffs may also seek punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant. In Kentucky, the bar for proving punitive damages is high. It requires that the plaintiff prove this part of his case by clear and convincing evidence — a higher standard than other portions of his case. Ask a knowledgeable attorney if you are unsure whether you may be entitled to punitive damages for your tractor trailer accident case.Have an Experienced Lawyer on Your Side
Litigating tractor trailer accidents requires knowledge and experience that other types of cases do not. English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP is comprised of Kentucky truck accident attorneys with years of experience helping victims of tractor trailer accidents. If you have been injured in a truck accident, call (270) 781-6500 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. We proudly serve clients in a number of communities, including Owensboro, Franklin, and Warren County. Our firm also represents clients in Nashville and throughout Tennessee.