Fatigued tractor trailer drivers have been hot news recently. The accident involving well known comedians allegedly caused by a Wal-Mart tractor trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike last week has initiated calls for the installing of black boxes which would record the track of the big rigs.
New York Democratic senator Charles Schumer, has requested that the federal Department of Transportation takes measures to ensure that hours driven by truck drivers register on an electronic log and not recorded in writing as is presently the case.
Current regulations insist drivers should not drive above 11 hours in any 24 hour period and accumulating on a weekly basis no more than 70 hours. 30 minutes rest is part of the 11 hours.
The collision last week which killed Jimmy McNair, a comedian, and caused injuries to other comedians, which included Tracy Morgan, was allegedly caused by a Wal-Mart truck which swerved on the Turnpike when the driver seemed to be attempting to avert an accident. Kevin Roper, the driver from Georgia was taken into custody and subsequently charged with death by auto and 4 counts of assault by auto. It has been alleged that he had remained awake for the 24 hours preceding the crash. Roper has entered a not guilty plea to the charges.
Injured victims of automobile accidents and their families usually file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death case against the driver to recover damages. They normally have to pay for medical expenses and funeral expenses as well as trying to come to terms with the sudden loss of support, companionship and income.
In the meantime while waiting for a lawsuit to reach settlement, plaintiffs can encounter financial strain due to medical expenses and/or inability to work. Bills need to be paid. And a loss in monthly cash flow can put a household under severe financial strain.
Under these circumstances, plaintiffs may be able to ease this condition by securing lawsuit funding. Lawsuit funding is a financial transaction which is basically a contract between a plaintiff in a lawsuit and a “lender”, who provides instant cash to the client, often within 24 hours. The plaintiff pledges a portion of the proceeds of the lawsuit, if the case reaches a settlement or other recovery. Basically, with lawsuit funding the money is advanced now and repaid only when the case settles.
Lawsuit funding, also known as a lawsuit loan, is available for personal injury cases such as motor vehicle accidents and slips and falls. There are pre settlement loan companies who will consider any lawsuit for funding as long as the client has an attorney.
Until state and federal governments realize how important it is to put into action black box legislation, more injuries and fatalities and the hardships that go with them are likely to occur. Black box legislation has been implemented slowly even though the law requiring their use has been in place for several years. Schumer wants the black boxes mandatory in the next two months. He also wants the DOT to increase truck insurance to cover damages caused by these types of accidents.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and estimated 13% of serious truck accidents are caused by truck driver fatigue. If the black boxes really do cut down the number of exhausted drivers, then their speedy installation is a good idea.
A victim of any type of accident on our highways can never truly be compensated for their losses. Lawsuit funding however, is always available for eligible clients to help relieve financial stress while a personal injury lawsuit is being settled.