Many New Orleans residents may have heard about the recent devastating truck accident that killed one comedian and injured “30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan. The wreck occurred when the semi-truck failed to slow for traffic in front of it, forcing it to swerve to avoid collision. However, when it did, the tractor-trailer slammed into the limo bus carrying Morgan and several others.

The accident has ignited a fire around the issue of truck driver fatigue. The trucker who caused the Morgan accident had not slept in more than 24 hours and had been working more than 13 and a half hours straight, just shy of the maximum legal work shift of 14 hours. However, though truckers are currently allowed to spend 70 hours per week behind the wheel, Congress is considering increasing the number of workable hours per week to 82 hours. The proposal has seen a backlash from safety advocates and politicians, and new legislation has been proposed to block the increase. Only time will tell how this issue will play out.

What is immediately apparent, however, is that truck driver fatigue is a real problem that affects many motorists, including those in Louisiana. A sleepy, over-worked truck driver can nod off, drift into oncoming traffic and cause a fatal accident in the blink of an eye. Perhaps most frightening is that there is little unsuspecting motorists can do to protect themselves from these often catastrophic accidents.

Those who suffer a serious injury in a truck wreck often face severe physical, emotional and financial hardship as a result. They may fear getting back on the road, be rendered immobile, suffer excruciating pain, incur costly medical bills and lose wages.

In many cases, the only way to recoup these losses and find a sense of closure and justice is to file a lawsuit. Understanding the legal remedies available could help in this fight to recover medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages, while at the same time further raising awareness of this dangerous issue.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “Tracy Morgan crash: NTSB says truck driver was speeding and had worked 13 hours straight,” Steve Strunsky, June 19, 2014