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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Fatigue and Truck Accidents

Fatigue and Truck Accidents


Overwork, in one form or another, often causes truck accidents. Fatigued truck drivers cause almost 20 percent of the large truck crashes in South Carolina. Fatigued driver impairment ranges from clouded judgment and slow motor skills to literally falling asleep at the wheel. Both ends of the spectrum are dangerous. Large trucks are so difficult to control that even a slight impairment could cause a serious crash.

The economy depends on large trucks timely delivering their cargo. Personal safety depends on these drivers fulfilling their duty of care. If a breach of duty causes injury, a Columbia personal injury attorney can obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Analog Evidence in Drowsy Truck Driver Cases

HOS violations, which are outlined below, cause many drowsy driver truck accidents. Circadian rhythm fatigue causes even more crashes.

No matter how much sleep they had the previous night, most people are naturally drowsy at certain times, such as late at night or early in the morning. Recent radical schedule changes exacerbate circadian rhythm fatigue. Unfortunately for victims, radical schedule changes are weekly events for most truck drivers. Truckers usually spend several days on the road followed by several days at home. Then, the disruptive cycle repeats.

The clock isn’t the only analog evidence of truck driver fatigue. A Columbia personal injury lawyer can also use medical records.

Many drivers sit most of the day. As a result, they often develop sleep apnea. Mild sleep apnea, or snoring, is simply annoying, mostly for sleeping partners. Severe sleep apnea could be life threatening, because the patient’s primary airway closes.

Either form significantly interrupts sleep. Frequently, when one partner tells another one to “roll over,” that partner unintentionally deprives the other one of deep, restful sleep. In more severe cases, patients wake themselves up and deprive themselves of needed rest.

Substance abuse and fatigue are often related. Many truck drivers admit they use amphetamines to stay awake. These drugs don’t address the aforementioned effects of fatigue. They just help people feel more alert. Additionally, when these drugs wear off, users often crash fast and hard.

Electronic Evidence

State and federal laws restrict the number of hours truckers can drive in a day or week. Until recently, truckers used paper log books to record their own hours of service (HOS). Now, an Electronic Logging Device, an onboard computer, automatically tracks these hours. An ELD is much stronger evidence of fatigue than a paper log book.

This critical evidence is unavailable unless an attorney acts quickly and decisively. Attorneys must send spoliation letters to ensure that the insurance company doesn’t “accidentally” destroy the ELD. Furthermore, South Carolina has very strict vehicle information privacy laws. Unless a lawyer convinces a judge to issue a court order, the ELD will probably be off limits, even if it physically exists.

Recently, federal authorities have watered down some HOS requirements. Therefore, staying behind the wheel longer than normal might be technically legal. However, such behavior still violates a truck driver’s duty of care. This duty is the foundation of a negligence case.

Drivers are individually responsible for the wrecks they cause. The shipping, transportation, or other company that owned the truck or cargo is financially responsible for damages, at least in most cases.

Count on a Tough-Minded Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.


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Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

A Personable & Dedicated South Carolina Attorney

As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

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Choosing an attorney is a very important decision, but it can be difficult. When you choose the Marc Brown Law Firm, we do everything we can to keep you informed, put your needs first, and to make sure justice is served. Here are just a few reasons to choose us:

The Right Experience

Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

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After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

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At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we choose to put our clients first. Our clients are more than just a case number. We think of each of our clients as extended members of the family. We make sure to inform our clients of all their legal options and provide timely updates throughout the life their case.

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We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront cost to clients. You only pay lawyer fees when we win your case. This also means that your attorney is only paid a percentage of what is recovered for you. The Marc Brown Law Firm has a vested interest in ensuring that each of our clients receive the maximum recovery available to them. We are determined to fight tirelessly to recover for you.

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