When truck drivers are under the influence do they cause accidents? Many commercial trucks, like big rigs, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers, are huge and heavy. When a crash occurs between a large truck and a smaller passenger vehicle, the passenger vehicle occupants are usually the ones who become injured and require the most medical treatment.
Accidents that result from truck-driver DUIs are usually severe. This is because alcohol and other drugs can seriously affect a driver’s depth perception, vision, and reaction time. A drunk truck driver might quickly lose control of their vehicle, causing it to strike a pedestrian or a smaller vehicle nearby.
There is no possible excuse for commercial truck drivers to drink and drive. Therefore, if you suffered injuries in a recent accident that resulted from a truck driver’s recklessness, you should retain experienced legal counsel to assist you in your case as soon as possible. Generally speaking, the sooner you retain a truck accident lawyer to represent you, the better the results you will likely achieve in your case.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can evaluate your accident circumstances and determine if you can file a personal injury claim for damages. If you are eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can file it with the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s insurer, help you secure favourable settlement compensation from the insurance company adjuster, and if appropriate, finalize your settlement and bring your case to an efficient conclusion.
If the insurance company does not offer you fair monetary damages that fully compensate you for your truck-accident-related injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court, continue settlement negotiations, and, if necessary, take your case to a binding arbitration hearing or civil jury trial. At one of these litigation proceedings, your lawyer will aggressively advocate on your behalf by presenting evidence and arguments that support your version of events.
What Does It Mean to Drive Under the Influence?
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a severe criminal offence that can lead to both criminal and civil penalties upon conviction. Police officers and investigators typically use a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine their intoxication level. To ascertain a driver’s BAC, a police officer will usually administer a breathalyzer test or ask the driver to blow into a portable breathalyzer device at the scene of the traffic stop.
Passenger vehicle drivers are legally under the influence if they have a minimum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent and higher. However, commercial truck drivers must follow stricter standards of care than those applicable to ordinary passenger drivers. A commercial truck driver with a BAC of at least 0.04 percent is legally intoxicated, and a police officer can arrest them for DUI.
A criminal conviction for DUI can lead to significant penalties, including required alcohol and drug rehabilitation, payment of hefty monetary fines, lengthy jail time, and required installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the driver’s vehicle. The driver may also lose their license for a specified period.
Moreover, if the truck driver causes an accident that leads to others’ injuries, either the responsible truck driver, the employer trucking company, or their insurer may have to pay civil damages to compensate the accident victim. The types and amounts of these civil damages will depend upon the extent of the accident victim’s injuries, the extent of their medical treatment, their pain and suffering, and other related factors.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can help you investigate your accident circumstances and ascertain all potentially responsible parties, given your accident scenario. Your lawyer can then assist you with filing an insurance claim and negotiating an efficient resolution with the settlement adjuster. If necessary, we can involve the court system by filing a lawsuit in your case and taking your case to a mediation, civil trial or binding arbitration proceeding.
Injuries in Drunk Driving Truck Accidents
Truck drivers who operate their vehicles while intoxicated often lose control and speed. Consequently, these accidents are usually forceful and result in severe injuries for all of the involved drivers and passengers. The force of a truck accident may cause the smaller vehicle on the receiving end to spin around rapidly, overturn, or end up on the side of the road, leaving the occupants severely injured.
Some of the most common truck-accident injuries include:
- Traumatic head and brain damage, including concussions and coma
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue contusions, including whiplash injuries to the neck and back
- Spinal cord injuries, including full and partial paralysis
- Internal injuries, including those involving damage to bodily organs
- Bruises, cuts, and other abrasions
Accident victims who suffer injuries after a truck crash should report to a local urgent care center or hospital as soon as possible for initial medical treatment. In cases where a truck accident victim suffered a fatal injury, surviving family members may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the responsible truck driver or trucking company’s insurer.
As part of a wrongful death claim, surviving family members can recover monetary compensation for burial and funeral expenses, loss of the deceased individual’s care and companionship, and future lost wages, if surviving family members depend upon the deceased financially.
Types of Crashes that Result From Intoxicated Truck Driving
Drug and alcohol intoxication severely limits a truck driver’s ability to operate their vehicle carefully and safely. As a result, serious accidents may occur when a truck driver gets behind the wheel after drinking too much. These common accidents can include truck jackknife accidents, rear-end crashes, sideswipe collisions, overturn accidents, head-on crashes, and T-bone accidents.
Many truck drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol speed up and experience delayed reaction time. Consequently, they may be unable to react quickly to an emergency situation that arises while driving. Moreover, affected drivers may be unable to slow down their vehicles quickly. As a result, their truck might jackknife.
A truck jackknife accident happens when the trailer and cab portions of a large truck fold inward on one another, taking the shape of a jackknife tool. When this happens, the tractor and trailer might skid forward or down a nearby hill, crashing with one or more other vehicles and causing numerous collisions, one after the other. In this type of accident scenario, many drivers and passengers find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and sustain severe injuries due to the negligent truck driver’s intoxication.
Other truck accidents that result from intoxicated driving include rear-end crashes. In a rear-end accident scenario, the tractor portion of a large truck hits the back of another vehicle. When that happens, drivers and passengers in the front vehicle might experience whiplash injuries to their neck or back due to the abrupt movement forwards and backward. These accidents usually happen when an intoxicated truck driver fails to slow their vehicle down promptly.
Similarly, sideswipe accidents happen when distracted or intoxicated truck drivers negligently veer off into another lane of travel, sometimes pushing other vehicles entirely off the road. These accidents may occur when the truck driver’s vision becomes distorted, and they weave back and forth in their travel lane.
Also, when intoxicated truck drivers negligently violate speed limits, they may cause the tractor or trailer portion of their vehicle to overturn. This often happens when the truck’s center of balance becomes offset due to the vehicle’s high speed. An overturned truck accident, like a jackknife accident, may lead to a massive vehicle pile-up in which many drivers and passengers become injured.
Head-on crashes frequently occur when an intoxicated truck driver experiences blurred vision—or an inability to operate their vehicle in a straight line while proceeding forward. Consequently, an intoxicated truck driver might cause their truck to veer across the double line on a dual highway or roadway and hit the front of an oncoming vehicle. In a high-speed, head-on vehicle crash, severe injuries and fatalities may occur to drivers and passengers in the other vehicle.
Finally, a truck T-bone accident, or broadside collision, can occur when an intoxicated truck driver fails to see or appreciate a traffic control device at an intersection. For example, the truck driver may not see a yield sign, stop sign, or red traffic light in the vicinity, run the intersection, and broadside an oncoming vehicle. This may cause the vehicle on the receiving end to overturn, spin around quickly, and sustain severe damage. Moreover, the vehicle occupants may suffer debilitating and sometimes deadly injuries in the crash.
A truck accident lawyer in your area can help you file a personal injury claim after any one of these accidents that resulted from truck driver intoxication. If your case goes to a mediation, trial or arbitration hearing, you can testify as to your version of events, and your lawyer can introduce medical records and other evidence in support of your damage claim.
Who is Responsible for a Drunk Driving Truck Accident?
Both truck drivers and trucking companies owe other drivers a high duty of care. Truck drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely at all times. Moreover, they must never operate their vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, like drugs or alcohol. When they operate their vehicles while intoxicated—and they cause an accident—they or their insurance companies may have to pay the resulting personal injury and property damages.
Similarly, trucking companies are responsible for hiring and retaining only skilled, capable, and responsible drivers who will operate their vehicles safely. When an intoxicated truck driver causes a crash in which others sustain injuries, the trucking company that employs the intoxicated driver may share in the liability.
In many instances, trucking companies and their employee truck drivers have the same motor vehicle insurance companies. When that happens, a skilled truck accident lawyer can file a personal injury claim with that insurance company after the accident. The lawyer can then take over all settlement negotiations and work to recover favourable monetary damages on the accident victim’s behalf.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Near You Today
Many truck accident victims are so busy treating their injuries that they forget to take care of their legal matters in a timely manner. In fact, as soon as your truck accident happens, the time clock starts to tick on the statute of limitations applicable to personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Truck accident victims only have two years from their accident date to take legal action in their case. This means that they must file a formal truck accident lawsuit in the court system within that two-year time period. Whenever a truck accident victim fails to take the necessary legal action promptly, their claim becomes time-barred, and they are no longer eligible to recover monetary damages for their pain, suffering, inconvenience, lost wages, and injuries.
To prevent the statute of limitations time clock from running in your case, you should retain experienced legal counsel to represent you as quickly as possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer in your area can assist you with investigating the claim circumstances and can determine your eligibility for taking legal action.
If you can initiate the claims-filing process, your lawyer can assist you during all settlement negotiations and help you evaluate various settlement offers that an insurance company adjuster might place on the table. A good monetary settlement should reasonably compensate you for all of your lost earnings, inconvenience, pain and suffering, mental distress, loss of life enjoyment, and permanent disfigurement, if any.
Finally, if litigation becomes necessary in your truck accident case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court, assist you during the discovery process, and aggressively advocate for you during all court proceedings—including your mediation, civil trial or arbitration hearing.
A truck accident lawyer in your case can help you make informed, intelligent decisions about how best to proceed with your case and obtain the most amount of compensation available to you so you get the justice you deserve. Your lawyer can do this for you while you focus on the most important thing, recovering from your injuries.