If truck driver impairment was the cause of your crash, you may be able to file a claim against the trucker. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be able to file a claim against the employer. To learn more about the legal rights you have, contact a truck injury attorney in Clarksburg, WV.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010 there were 3,675 fatalities involving large trucks and an estimated 80,000 injuries. Accidents may be caused by the truck driver or the passenger vehicle, and the causes can vary but may include impairment in some cases.
A study published in 2007 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that both prescription drug use and over-the-counter drug use were among the top 10 factors associated with truck crashes involving large trucks. Alcohol or illegal drug impairment were not on the list, but the NHTSA found that 2 percent of truckers who were involved in a fatal crash had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher.
What are the rules for truck driver impairment?
Truckers with a commercial drivers license (CDL) are required to undergo drug and alcohol testing, which is regulated by FMCSA. These rules also must be followed by the trucking company that employs the drivers.
If there is an accident and the driver is thought to have contributed to it or caused it to happen, an alcohol test will be administered. A test also will be given for any accident involving a death. In any circumstance, the driver doesn’t have to be cited for impairment in order to be tested.
There are other times when a truck driver should be tested; for instance, if the employer has reasonable suspicion. Tests also should be administered before hiring and at random intervals.
Drug testing is done under the same circumstances. Urine tests look for PCP, amphetamines, marijuana, opiates and cocaine. These drugs are prohibited, but some other legally prescribed drugs also are prohibited, including morphine and barbiturates.
If truck driver impairment is shown through testing, he or she must be removed from driving duties. Failure to do so could result in the employer being held liable if the driver crashes.
Gathering Evidence of Truck Driver Impairment
In order to establish trucker negligence, you will need adequate evidence. If the responding police officer issues a field sobriety test at the scene of the accident, the results could be used.
Witness statements might help build a case. For instance, they may indicate seeing the truck driver stumble or hearing slurred speech.
A truck injury attorney in Clarksburg, WV may request the results of drug or alcohol tests the employer gave. Truck accident claims tend to be complicated, so legal assistance is often helpful to build a strong case.
Damages Available in a Truck Accident Claim
Whether due to truck driver impairment or not, injuries from a truck accident tend to be severe. You could recover your medical costs, such as emergency medical services, hospitalization, surgery, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy, and other types of care and treatment.
If you were unable to work while recovering, you may be compensated for your lost wages. Or if you are expected to be out of work for an extended period of time or indefinitely due to disability, potential lost earnings may be recovered. Other damages could include pain and suffering, disfigurement, reduced quality of life, and more.
Miley Legal Group: Speak with a Truck Injury Attorney in Clarksburg, WV
For help navigating the complex claims process, contact a truck injury attorney at the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg, WV. We can explain the options that may be available and how you can protect your rights if you were seriously injured as a result of truck driver impairment.