When a distracted truck driver runs into a car and seriously injures a family, everyone who is hurt may have the legal right to sue that driver for compensation. Even children, through a parent or guardian, has rights.
A lawsuit against a truck driver is at fault may also include a claim for punitive damages, an amount meant to punish the driver and the company for which he worked when there is extremely bad behavior, for example a drunk truck driver injuring someone. In other words, punitive damages can be awarded if the behavior was extremely negligent, so much so that the perpetrator and those legally responsible should be punished. An accident caused by distraction may lead to punitive damages if, for example, the truck driver was texting on his or her cell phone at the time of the crash. (Cell phone use by commercial drivers of big rigs is unlawful.)
Driver distraction can be defined as the voluntary or involuntary diversion of attention from primary driving tasks due to an object, event, or person, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Categories of driver distraction include the following:
- visual (taking one’s eyes off the road)
- manual (taking one’s hands off the wheel)
- cognitive (thinking about something other than the road/driving)
- auditory (listening to the radio or someone talking).
Research by the FMCSA shows that using a cell phone while driving may pose a higher safety risk than other activities because it involves all four types of driver distraction. For this reason, the FMCSA has recently banned cell phone use by commercial motor vehicle drivers (with a few exceptions).
If personal injury or wrongful death is caused by a distracted truck driver, that driver should be held accountable, as should the trucking company that hired him. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact me for a free consultation.
Additional Information about Distracted Truck Drivers
- Rear-ended and killed by a distracted driver, in this case a truck driver who was suspected of being distracted by his cell phone.
- A woman from Hudson, Wisconsin, was killed in Minnesota by a suspected distracted driver.
- As three children were crossing the street to get onto a school bus, they were hit by a truck.
- A semitrailer driver failed to stop for slowed traffic because he was distracted, according to the state patrol. The inattentive semi-truck driver may have caused a fatal crash.