If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident involving a drunk driver, you have the right to collect compensation. Contact Burg Simpson for a free case evaluation.

Due to the fact that commercial trucks are larger, heavier, and far more dangerous than standard passenger vehicles, it is important that truck drivers are alert, well-rested, and capable of performing their jobs to the best of their abilities whenever they get behind the wheel. Any degree of driver impairment, especially one brought on by drug or alcohol consumption, can result in a serious drunk driving truck accident that causes serious injuries and even death.

Primarily because of random testing and strict rules and regulations, drunk driving is actually one of the least common causes of commercial truck accidents. If a truck driver is caught operating their vehicle while under the influence, they run the risk of losing their commercial driver’s license and being unable to work, not to mention potential criminal charges. Even with this threat hanging over them, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that fatal drunk driving truck accidents take place several hundred times every year across the United States. Truck drivers and trucking companies are mandated to carry larger amounts of liability insurance due to the degree of harm a commercial truck can cause during an accident.

If a trucker who has been involved in an accident is suspected of being under the influence, they will generally be given a field sobriety test at the crash scene and a blood test shortly after. Anybody who sustains injuries in a truck accident caused by an intoxicated truck driver is most likely eligible to recover financial compensation for their injuries and other damages if they act quickly and seek experienced legal representation.

A drunk driving truck accident lawyer from Burg Simpson can fully investigate your commercial truck accident and help you pursue full and fair financial compensation. We have outstanding resources, such as a dedicated trucking accident investigation team, to achieve a successful outcome for your truck accident case.

Common Types Of Commercial Trucks

Commercial trucks serve a lot of different functions. Some haul and deliver consumer products and other goods to retail outlets. Others transport toxic and hazardous chemicals to and from oil refineries and manufacturing plants. Truck drivers are tasked with carrying goods and materials across the state and across the country safely and on schedule. The kind of vehicle a trucker drives will depend on the load they are hauling.

Some of the more common kinds of commercial trucks are:

  • Heavy haulers
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Sanitation/garbage trucks
  • Dump trucks
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Freight trucks
  • Delivery trucks/Box trucks
  • Refrigerated truck
  • Tow trucks/Wreckers
  • Cement mixers
  • Tanker trucks
  • Logging trucks
  • Auto Haulers
  • Hydrovacs

If you were seriously injured in a truck accident, no matter what type of truck was involved, a truck accident lawyer from Burg Simpson can review the details of your case and outline all legal options available to you. We can help establish liability for your injuries and seek appropriate financial compensation. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

How is Driving Under The Influence Defined for Truck Drivers?

Commercial truck drivers are considered “under the influence” if they operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.04% or more, or if they are under the influence of a controlled substance or any combination of the two.

Alcohol and drugs, even legal prescription or over-the-counter drugs, can impair someone's ability to safely operate any kind of motor vehicle. They also often cause side effects such as:

  • Poor decision-making skills
  • A reduction in motor skills
  • Altering sensory perception
  • Blurred vision
  • Sleepiness
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Decreased coordination
  • Lack of depth perception
  • Inability to concentrate

Surprisingly, many people do not stop to consider that the drugs capable of impairing your ability to drive extend beyond your run of the mill illegal narcotics, like cocaine. A truck driver, or any driver, can be impaired from taking over-the-counter medicines, like antihistamines, sleeping pills, cold medicine, and caffeine pills.

Commercial truck drivers are prohibited from consuming alcohol within four hours of driving their trucks or even going on duty. They are not allowed to have any measurable blood alcohol or to be under the influence while they are on duty, operating, or in physical control of a commercial vehicle.

Any commercial truck driver determined to be in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s alcohol misuse regulations is to be put out of service immediately and barred from driving for 24 hours. A commercial truck driver who is guilty of operating their truck with a blood alcohol level of .04% or more, who is convicted of drunk driving, or who refused a breathalyzer test, could lose their CDL for a period of time, even on their first offense.

Commercial truck drivers are routinely subjected to alcohol and drug testing. In fact, commercial truck drivers are tested when:

  • Applying for a commercial driving job: Along with presenting the proper certifications, this is a routine part of the hiring process.
  • An accident has caused injury, death, vehicle disablement, or a traffic citation: A test for the presence of alcohol must be administered within eight hours, and a test for the presence of drugs must be administered within 32 hours.
  • Unannounced random testing: After being notified, the trucker must report directly to the testing site. A late arrival could be considered the same as a refusal or testing positive.
  • Under reasonable suspicion: A supervisor has the authority to order a driver to be tested for alcohol or drugs anytime they show symptoms that could indicate their use. The determination to test has to be based on observations about the driver's behavior, appearance, speech, body odors, or performance.
  • Upon return to duty: Testing is required anytime a truck driver has concluded their “return-to-duty” process after a suspension and before they return to work.
  • As a follow-up: Follow-up alcohol and drugs tests are mandatory as outlined by the substance abuse specialist who signed the truck driver’s return-to-duty statement. They must consist of a minimum of six unannounced, random, directly observed tests that must be administered within the first 12 months of their return to duty.

The test for drugs is a five-panel test for:

  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates, codeine derivatives, and opium
  • Methamphetamines and amphetamines
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

A blood alcohol level of .04% or more, a positive drug test, or declining to take either test means that the driver will be barred from operating any commercial motor vehicle on public roadways. The driver in question will then have to satisfy the return-to-duty requirements, which includes counseling and a substance abuse assessment. On their return to duty, they will undergo further testing. In many instances, the truck driver will simply find himself unemployed.

If you suspect that the truck driver who caused your accident was intoxicated at the time, you should hire a truck accident lawyer from Burg Simpson right away so we can start investigating and collecting important evidence. We will work hard to show that the trucker should not have been driving and is liable for your injuries and damages.

Who Is Liable for My Drunk Driving Truck Accident?

The laws governing fault and liability will depend on where your accident took place and many other factors pertaining to your unique case. Generally speaking, most people who were involved in a truck accident through no fault of their own, and sustained injuries from that accident, should be able to seek financial compensation from the insurance carrier of the truck driver who caused their accident. Depending on your specific case, there could be additional liable parties identified as well.

All commercial truck drivers have a legal requirement to carry liability insurance. Their minimum coverage depends on how much their truck weighs and the kind of freight they are transporting. The classifications for liability limits are broken down into four parts:

  • Less than 10,001 pounds and non-hazardous freight
  • More than 10,000 pounds and non-hazardous freight
  • Hazardous substances and oil
  • Other hazardous cargo

When you file a claim, you might be eligible for different forms of compensation depending on the damages you sustained in the accident. Some of the most common forms of damages in drunk driving truck accident cases include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent scarring, deformity, or disfigurement
  • Emotional trauma
  • Motor vehicle replacement or repair expenses
  • Other out-of-pocket expenditures
  • Lost wages
  • Lost or diminished earning capacity

The liability limits for a commercial truck driver are significantly higher than those of someone driving a standard passenger vehicle. This is due to the fact that oversized commercial vehicles are capable of causing considerably more harm to the occupants of smaller automobiles. Serious injuries and deaths are commonplace in commercial truck accidents. The people who get injured in accidents involving commercial trucks often need costly and continuing medical treatments, which can lead to exorbitant medical expenses they are unable to pay because their injuries prevent them from going back to work. Any settlement you accept needs to adequately reflect your current and anticipated losses.

Having a skilled truck accident lawyer representing you will give you a distinct advantage during the insurance claims process. Insurance carriers try to increase their profit margins by saving money in any way they can, including undervaluing or devaluing legitimate claims. It is important to remember that they do not have your best interests in mind. Their objective is to find a reason to reject your claim or get you to accept an insufficient settlement offer.

At the law firm of Burg Simpson, we are familiar with the underhanded tactics that insurance providers use to bully claimants into settling for much less financial compensation than they deserve and are entitled to. Your drunk driving accident lawyer will make sure that the insurance company does not take advantage of you. If necessary, we will bring a suit against the drunk truck driver and their insurance provider in order to compel a settlement award that fully compensates you for your lost wages, medical bills, and the suffering you have experienced because of someone else’s negligence.

Seek Representation Immediately After Your Accident

Ideally, it is best to hire an attorney as soon as possible after your truck accident occurs. If you, like most people, are unfamiliar with federal trucking rules and regulations, state laws, and the deadlines that apply to your claim or lawsuit, you will most likely wind up losing your case or only receiving a very small settlement offer if you attempt to resolve your claim without legal representation.

Instead, choose a drunk driving truck accident lawyer from Burg Simpson to represent you. You can focus on recovery and moving on with your life while we handle the legal aspect of fighting for the compensation you deserve.

As long as you seek immediate medical attention after your truck accident, we can take care of everything else. We will conduct an investigation into your crash, determine the cause, what party or parties may be liable, and how much total insurance coverage is available.

We will also collect important evidence, including:

  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Security video or dashcam footage of the incident
  • Estimates for vehicle repairs or replacements
  • The driver’s urine, breath, and blood test results
  • Receipts that prove the driver had been drinking before getting behind the wheel
  • Pictures of the accident scene
  • A copy of the police crash report
  • Driving, safety, and employment records from the trucking company

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

The drunk driving truck accident lawyers from Burg Simpson are laser focused on ensuring that injured victims and their families receive the maximum amount of compensation available according to the law. We offer knowledgeable and dependable legal representation that makes it possible for our clients to move on with their lives with the best possible outcome after enduring something as terrible as an auto accident involving a commercial vehicle.

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a truck driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we are prepared to help you secure equitable compensation for your damages. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our law firm today at (888) 895-2080 or fill out the form on our website.
phone-handset linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram