Tractor-Trailer Accidents – Asleep Behind the Wheel

This past August, Indiana saw a horrific accident on Interstate 65 that took the lives of seven individuals. The semi, for reasons as yet unknown, crashed into the back of the rear of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The impact crashed the Jeep and sandwiched it into the semi in-front of the Jeep. Tragically, first responders recovered seven bodies. sunset-run-1427546-m.jpg

A few states away, an Indiana resident has filed a lawsuit in West Virginia for injuries stemming from an accident involving an allegedly negligent tractor trailer driver on Aug 8, 2011.

While driving along Interstate 68 in West Virgina, plaintiff Sharon Edwards-Toy’s tractor-trailer was struck by the defendant’s tractor-trailer. The defendant, Lyle R. Parrott, was, according to the complaint, asleep behind the wheel at the time of the accident.

The suit has named Parrott, D&T Trucking Co. Inc., and Double J Transport LLC, as defendants, claiming negligence as the cause of action. The case has been removed out of the Circuit Court of Monongalia County to the Northern District of West Virginia as the amount in controversy exceeds the removal threshold of $75,000 and diversity jurisdiction exists (the parties are residents of different states).

The last reported amount sought by the plaintiff was $685,000 for the severe injuries she sustained.

Federal Limits on Truck Drivers
The original set of rules regulating the maximum number of hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel was set out in 1938. Over the years they have gone through several alterations, and the newest set of federal law limits, established this July 2013 by the Department of Transportation, implements a 30 minute rest requirement to be taken during the first eight hours of a drivers shift. Drivers are further limited to 11 continuous hours in a 14 hour work day. They are then required to suspend driving for a 10 hour rest period. Other limits and regulations exist to regulate the truck drivers’ work week, and fines can be imposed for those not abiding by such regulations.

The federal and state laws also allow for vicarious liability in the case of commercial tractor-trailers. Liability in a suit may need to extend to all possible parties in the cases for getting necessary compensation for property and medical costs. Furthermore, aside from the company being potentially liable, commercial carriers typically have multiple insurance providers intended to limit liability. These parties may also become parties in a negligence suit for recovery.

A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimate that truck accidents claim the lives of 3,000 – 4,000 people per year and approximately 13% of these accidents are the result of fatigued truck drivers.

The Indiana personal injury attorneys at Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson are committed to providing professional and knowledgeable advocacy to those who have suffered as a result of negligent drivers. We assist victims of trucking accidents and their families find the justice they deserve and the compensation they are entitled to for their damages.

Contact us today online or at (888) 532-7766 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers.

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