Truck Accident Caused by a Drunk Truck Driver
A commercial truck driver who is driving while impaired poses a danger to all motorists on the road. Impaired truck drivers cause hundreds of preventable crashes each year. Because of the serious risk of driving a semi-truck while impaired, truckers face the loss of their commercial license if convicted of driving while impaired. Drunk driving shows disregard for human life, and intoxicated truck drivers should be held accountable.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Charlottesville accident caused by a drunk truck driver, the truck accident lawyer at Kendall Law Firm are ready to help.
At Kendall Law Firm, we have everything to handle your case. From a full-service accident investigation team to an experienced legal team, we are prepared to fight for your rights. One call is all you need to handle your truck driver accident case. Check out the positive reviews from our past clients, and schedule a free consultation.
Who Can Be Held Liable After A Drunk Truck Driver Crash?
Truck drivers can be held responsible when they harm other people with their reckless actions. Truckers must adhere to multiple requirements that are much stricter than the conditions for regular drivers, such as age, rest, and health requirements. The laws regarding charges of drunk driving are tougher for truck drivers. A driver with a commercial driver’s license may be charged with driving while impaired if he or she has a BAC of .04 percent or higher.
Truck drivers may be disqualified from driving and permanently lose their commercial driver’s license if convicted of a major violation such as:
- Driving drunk
- Driving under the influence of a controlled substance
- Refusing a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test after an accident
Because truckers’ livelihoods depend on their ability to drive, most truckers avoid drinking and driving. The percentage of commercial truck drivers charged with driving while intoxicated is lower than in the general population. However, some truck drivers disregard these requirements. When they do, they can be held liable for their recklessness.
Some drivers take over-the-counter or prescription medications. Drivers may be charged with drugged driving if the medicine impairs their ability to drive.
Is The Trucking Company Liable?
Under certain circumstances, the truck driver’s employer may be held responsible for a drunk driving accident as well. An employer might be liable when their employee’s actions harm someone else if the employee was “on the clock” or acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
Federal law places commercial drivers out of service if the driver is found to have any alcohol in his or her system. Federal rules require that commercial carriers administer drug and alcohol tests to drivers before employment, after accidents and randomly throughout the year. Trucking companies should test any commercial driver suspected of abusing alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, some trucking companies fail to conduct proper alcohol or drug testing.
If the trucking company should have known the commercial driver was not fit to drive because of alcohol or substance abuse or lack of the proper license and let the driver stay on the road anyway, the company may have acted negligently and be liable for injuries caused by the truck driver in a drunk driving accident.
Some truck drivers with unsafe driving records try to move from truck company to trucking company. If the employer didn’t do a comprehensive check of the driver’s driving record and background, or ignored an unsafe driving record, the employer might be liable for negligent retention or hiring.
A person or store that served the driver might be partially responsible for a drunk truck driver crash. In many states, providers like bars, restaurants, and grocery stores can be held liable for overserving any patron who then negligently causes a crash while intoxicated.
How Can You Prove A Semi Truck Driver Is Drunk?
If police perform a field sobriety test and the driver fails, then this may be used as evidence to convict the driver of driving while impaired. A drunk driving conviction may support a separate civil lawsuit demanding compensation for injuries caused in a truck accident. However, if police don’t do a breathalyzer test or any chemical tests for intoxicants, then it’s more difficult to prove the trucker was drunk when the driver hit you.
Beyond police tests for sobriety, testimony from witnesses can serve as evidence of the driver’s condition. Witnesses at the scene might be able to testify that the driver smelled like alcohol or was acting erratically. Additionally, there might be people who can testify that they saw the driver drinking at a restaurant or bar before the wreck.
Medical evidence might be available as well. If the trucker went to the hospital after the crash, then blood tests done at the hospital might reveal that the driver was intoxicated.
What Should You Do If A Trucker Injures You While Drinking And Driving?
After a trucking accident, there are certain steps you can take to protect your legal rights:
- Call 911. Many trucking accidents are severe and require immediate attention. You may require emergency medical treatment. The police who investigate the accident will file an official report that is an important piece of evidence if you file a claim.
- Have your injuries evaluated. If you didn’t need emergency medical treatment after the accident, visit a doctor as soon as possible to have your injuries evaluated. Additionally, the physician’s medical report will be vital in helping you prove the extent and cause of your injuries.
- Gather evidence. In any accident with a commercial vehicle such as a tractor trailer, the trucking company’s insurance company will try to avoid paying damages. It’s critical to have solid evidence to prove that the trucker was drunk, and their negligence caused your injuries.
Evidence might include witness testimonies and pictures of your injuries and the accident scene. Testimony from medical professionals and accident re-creation specialists is also helpful in proving liability. This is especially helpful in crashes as devastating as those with drunk drivers, where victims are so injured they might not remember what happened.
- Call a Charlottesville truck accident lawyer. After an accident with a drunk truck driver, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney. Skilled truck accident lawyer understand how to battle against big businesses to get compensation for victims hurt by their employees’ negligence. They can handle the full scope of your case – everything from gathering evidence to negotiating on your behalf with insurance – so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Speak With A Charlottesville Truck Accident Attorney Today
Trucking accidents are devastating. It can be overwhelming trying to recover from serious injuries. Dealing with an uncooperative insurance company can be stressful at the time when you don’t need added stress. However, you don’t have to go through this alone. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a drunk truck driver in Charlottesville or elsewhere in Virginia, the attorney at Kendall Law Firm will make sure your legal rights are protected.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident where you think the driver may have been under the influence, contact our experienced truck accident attorney. The initial consultation is free of charge. We handle truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we won’t charge you a dime unless we help you win your case.