Family Awarded Massive Judgment Following Crash Caused by Sleepy Truck Driver
The family of a man who was killed while riding his motorcycle was awarded nearly $15 million as the result of a wrongful death lawsuit. The motorcyclist was killed when his motorcycle collided with a truck. This is one of the largest judgments ever awarded for a motorcycle accident in the state of Florida. The driver of the truck was found to be negligent because he had driven longer than 11 hours in a row, the legal limit in the state of Florida. His previous break had also been shorter than the 10-hour legal minimum. Because of the trucker’s negligence, his employer was required to compensate the victim’s family under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior.
When can you sue an employer because of the negligence of an employee?
The legal doctrine of respondeat superior provides that an employer is responsible for the actions of his or her employee if those actions are in the “course of employment.” In order for the actions of the employee to be within the course of employment, the employee’s conduct must bear some relationship to the work that is usually considered within the scope of employment. For example, a truck driver who causes an accident is clearly within the course of employment if he is actually performing his job duties when the accident occurred. This doctrine will oftentimes provide a better chance for an injured individual to actually recover damages because the company who employs the negligent employee is more likely to have the financial means to compensate victims for their injuries.
The Dangers of Driving While Sleepy
The laws that require truck drivers to get a certain amount of rest serve a very important purpose: it is very dangerous to drive if you are sleepy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 100,000 crashes each year that are a direct result of driver fatigue. This results in about 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These findings possibly understate the dangers of sleepy driving because there is no test to determine sleepiness like there is for intoxication, such as a Breathalyzer. Additionally, state reporting practices are inconsistent so some states do not make a record of which crashes are a result of driver fatigue. According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, adult men between the ages of 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy compared to any other demographic group. Adults with children in the household and shift workers are also more likely to be driving without enough rest.
If you or anyone in your family has been involved in a car accident and has sustained injuries, you can call Pike & Lustig, LLP to speak to experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys who can help you fight to be compensated for your injuries.