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My relatives were killed by a truck driver that fell asleep. Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit on the basis of negligence?

Question:  My sister and brother-in-law were killedwhen a trailer truck rear-ended their car. The investigators say the driver fell asleep. They left two daughters behind, and I'vebeen appointed their legal guardian.  Iwant to know whether I can bring a suit against the driver on their behalf eventhough they were not in the car.

Response: If the truck driver is foundto have been negligent, as your nieces' guardian, you can definitely bring asuit for monetary damages on their behalf as they are considered survivingfamily members.   The laws that governwill be those of the state where the accident occurred.  Since the driver fell asleep in this case,you can also seek to prove liability under Title 49 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation, specifically Section 395 whichcovers safety issues such as the driver's hours of operations and maximum hourson duty and off duty.  Unfortunately,given the industry-wide violation of this code, sometimes companies force theirdrivers to drive for long periods of time, ignoring the fact that drivers mustsleep for a prescribed number of hours between shifts.  Consult with a truck accident attorney todetermine your nieces' rights in this case.

Answered by Sharon Cullars

Additional Resources:

  • FMCSA- Company-related Regulations

    http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrguide.aspx?section_type=C

  • FMCSA- Driver-related Regulations

    http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrguide.aspx?section_type=D

 

The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you need help with a Truck Accident claim, consult an experienced trucking accident attorney from the law offices of Gordon Elias & Seely, L.L.P. by calling TOLL FREE: 800 - 773 - 6770 OR by filling out the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.
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