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Untreated sleep apnea may result in truck accidents

The trucking industry has played a pivotal role in our economic development. By moving goods across the country, these massive vehicles allow consumers to have access to a plethora of goods at an affordable price. However, these trucks, when driven negligently, can pose a significant danger to other motorists in Evansville and nationwide. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented regulations in an attempt to ensure trucking safety, but even these regulations and the penalties they impose are not enough to prevent injurious and fatal truck accidents.

Trucking negligence can take many forms. Truckers can fail to abide by traffic laws, drive while distracted or operate their trucks while intoxicated. They can also fail to properly secure their cargo and maintain their vehicle's functionality. Truck companies can also contribute to truck accidents by failing to adequately repair trucks and properly training their employees. Another way negligence can occur is when a trucker drives when he or she suffers from an untreated medical condition.

Sleep apnea, for example, can turn an otherwise safe trucker into an extremely dangerous one. This medical condition causes breathing disruptions during sleep, causing the sufferer to wake as many as 400 times in a single night. The resulting fatigue can reduce a trucker's attentiveness and reaction time, thereby putting other motorists at risk of harm.

These truckers are, of course, able to operate their vehicles if they can show that their medical condition has been successfully treated. This should require the submission of medical evidence that is reliable and conclusive. If a trucker who has sleep apnea has not been medically cleared to driver and he or she caused a truck accident, then a personal injury lawsuit may be pursued.

A successful personal injury lawsuit could bring an accident victim much needed compensation. Recoveries can be used to help pay hospital expenses and recoup lost wages, as well as give a victim a sense of closure. Those who wish to learn more about how to competently pursue a personal injury lawsuit should consider speaking with a legal professional of their choosing.

Source: FMCSA, "Driving When You Have Sleep Apnea," accessed on March 12, 2017

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