Driving under the influence (DUI) plagues our roads, endangering lives and causing untold damage. The problem increases when accidents involve individuals operating large commercial trucks. When intoxicated truck drivers get behind the wheel, the potential consequences grow exponentially more disastrous due to the size and weight of their vehicles.
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we understand the dangers presented by truck drivers under the influence and the havoc they can cause to accident victims and their families. Our truck accident lawyers are dedicated to offering victims of these accidents the support they need to seek compensation for their injuries and damages.
When Truck Drivers Under the Influence Cause Accidents
Truck drivers under the influence pose a significant risk to others on the road. Large trucks, also known as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, or big rigs, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making them much larger and heavier than the average passenger vehicle. This size disparity means that accidents involving large trucks are more likely to result in severe injuries or fatalities, especially for occupants of passenger vehicles and motorcycles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired accidents involving large trucks increased by 24 percent between 2020 and 2021. During the same year, fatalities of other vehicle occupants in these accidents increased by 19 percent.
This data, while disheartening, is not surprising when we consider the types of catastrophic accidents that large trucks can create. When combined with negligent behavior, such as drunk driving, the result is that other motorists are much more likely to sustain severe or fatal injuries than the truck drivers themselves.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that in one recent year, large trucks were in 10 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. Life-changing injuries or the loss of a family member to an unexpected accident is something that no one should have to face alone. If you have been personally affected by a truck driver under the influence, our attorneys are here to offer compassionate support and legal advocacy.
Seeking Compensation for a Truck Driver DUI Accident
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident caused by a driver under the influence, hire a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
A qualified lawyer with ample experience in handling these claims can obtain compensation for your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Permanent disability
- Wrongful death
While uncommon, in some cases, victims may demand punitive damages. A court might to award these damages to deter the at-fault party and others from future reckless actions. A Bakersfield personal injury attorney can determine what compensation you may recover and develop a strategy to pursue it.
The Law Offices of Mickey Fine have represented victims of truck accidents in Bakersfield, California, for over two decades. Our team has the knowledge, resources, and dedication to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
The Legal Consequences for Drunk Truck Driver Accidents
Due to the increased risk that their occupational duties imply, the law holds truck drivers to a higher standard than drivers of passenger vehicles when it comes to operational guidelines concerning alcohol. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations that govern the operation of commercial vehicles, including large trucks. These regulations set the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for commercial drivers at 0.04 percent, which is half the limit of 0.08 percent for drivers of non-commercial vehicles.
In addition to criminal DUI charges, truck drivers can also face liability for damages and injuries resulting from accidents they cause, including drunk driving accidents. This liability can also extend to their employers, who you may hold responsible for negligent hiring, training, or supervision if they knowingly allowed an intoxicated driver to operate a commercial vehicle.
Mickey Fine and his legal team are well-versed in the complexities of commercial trucking regulations and can help you determine who is responsible for your accident and injuries. They will take the necessary steps to help you seek compensation from the applicable parties after sustaining severe losses.
Federal Regulations on Narcotics and Controlled Substances
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strictly regulates the use of controlled substances by commercial drivers. It is illegal for truck drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles while using amphetamines, narcotics, or other habit-forming drugs. Additionally, truck drivers are prohibited from using prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs that may adversely affect their ability to operate their vehicles safely. However, the law may exempt a driver whose prescribing doctor gives their written approval stating that it is safe to operate a commercial vehicle while taking the prescribed drug.
To ensure compliance with these regulations, the FMCSA mandates regular drug testing for all commercial drivers, including pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty testing.
Truck drivers who choose to violate these regulations and operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs and alcohol are putting countless lives at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by a drug-impaired truck driver, it is crucial to work with an experienced truck accident attorney. Your dedicated lawyer will ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.
Proving Liability in DUI Truck Accidents
As with other personal injury cases, liability in motor vehicle accident claims involves establishing the elements of negligence. In truck accident cases involving alcohol, narcotics, or other controlled substances, proving liability requires demonstrating that the driver was impaired due to drug use and that this impairment directly contributed to the accident.
A truck accident lawyer can accomplish this by investigating the accident and may use several types of evidence to support your claim.
- Positive drug tests, especially those conducted immediately after the accident, can provide compelling evidence of the truck driver’s impairment.
- Police reports may include signs of drug use or impairment, such as the driver’s appearance, behavior, or statements made at the scene.
- Testimony from other drivers, passengers, or bystanders who observed the truck driver’s erratic behavior or signs of impairment can be valuable information used to support your claim.
- Expert testimony from medical professionals and toxicology experts can provide insight into how the driver’s drug use likely contributed to the accident and the impact it had on their ability to operate the vehicle safely.
- Employer records from the trucking company may be necessary to demonstrate employer negligence in hiring, training, or supervising the driver.
- Breathalyzer or blood test results can provide definitive proof of the driver’s intoxication at the time of the accident.
- Video evidence is not always available after a crash. However, when discoverable, it can be invaluable in showing a truck driver’s erratic behavior and the events that led up to the accident.
In addition to the evidence that your attorney uncovers during the investigation of your case, you will also need a strategy that supports your damages. Our truck accident attorneys will use all available information to build a comprehensive plan of action.
Working With a Truck Accident Attorney
A serious accident with a drunk driver can overwhelm victims and their families. Car crashes involving commercial trucking vehicles and their employers can involve an even more complex legal landscape.
Our experienced truck accident attorneys know how accident victims must access the resources they require as quickly as possible. While we cannot guarantee your case’s timeline or outcome, our lawyers can guide you through each step of the process and keep you informed about your rights and options.
In addition, your truck accident attorney can provide the following services:
- Investigating the incident of your injury
- Recovering evidence
- Building a strong claim for you
- Identifying liable parties
- Negotiating toward a fair settlement
- If necessary, litigating for you in court
- Protecting your rights
At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we understand the unique challenges and intricacies of DUI truck accident cases. Our team is committed to providing personalized attention, aggressive representation, and compassionate support to every client we serve. With our extensive experience and track record of success, you can trust that your case is in capable hands.
Our No Win, No Fee Promise
Truck drivers under the influence pose a grave threat to the safety of everyone on the road. When these negligent individuals cause accidents, the resulting injuries and damages can be catastrophic. It is crucial for victims of DUI truck accidents to understand their rights and seek the help of an experienced attorney to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
When you work with Mickey Fine and his legal team, you will never have to put yourself at financial risk to pursue the compensation you deserve. Our personal injury attorneys in Bakersfield work on a contingency fee basis, so your lawyer will not collect a fee unless we resolve your case and obtain compensation or an award for you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a driver under the influence, contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine today for a free consultation. Let our experienced legal team help you navigate the complexities of your case and fight for the justice you deserve.