Across the United States, truck drivers spend long hours on the road and away from their families. Spending all day on the road can raise stress levels considerably, adding to the sense of loneliness or regret when missing life events at home. Truck drivers, to alleviate that loneliness, may turn to drinking. Around the world, as many as 91 percent of truck drivers admit to abusing alcohol on the job.
When drug tested, a study found that 12.5 percent of American truck drivers tested positive for alcohol. Unsurprisingly, those truck drivers may have a substantially higher accident risk than their sober counterparts. If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident with a truck driver, contact a truck accident lawyer.
How Alcohol Increases Accident Risk
Every year, more than 10,000 people die and thousands more suffer severe injuries as a result of accidents related to drinking and driving. Even a seemingly low blood alcohol content can impact a truck driver’s ability to drive safely, inhibiting decision-making skills and leading to poor choices on the road.
As alcohol use increases, driving use can decrease along with it. Drunk drivers may:
- Experience severe loss of motor control. Many drunk drivers, especially truck drivers, struggle with the motor skills needed to successfully navigate on the road.
- Suffer decreased reaction time. Drinking and driving can slow reactions substantially. As blood alcohol content increases, truck drivers may struggle to control their vehicles, especially as they need to respond to the actions of other drivers on the road.
- Impaired decision-making skills. Drunk drivers have a higher likelihood of speeding, running red lights, or failing to follow other traffic rules. They may also experience an increased likelihood of road rage.
- Narrowed field of vision. After consuming high quantities of alcohol, the driver’s eyes may not focus as effectively. Poor focus can make it harder to judge the road and other vehicles on it.
Drinking on a regular basis can create a false sense of security, especially for truckers who regularly drink and drive. Over time, the trucker may grow overconfident, increasing alcohol consumption without regard for how it impacts his or her ability to safely navigate on the road. For truck drivers, who drive extremely large vehicles that require more coordination and skill to maneuver, this may substantially increase accident risk and the severity of the injuries associated with those accidents.
Common Injuries from Drunk Truck Driver Accidents
Drunk truck drivers plus large vehicles amount to a dangerous combination on the road. Not only can drunk truck drivers face more challenges navigating the road safely, but also big trucks often cause more serious injuries when involved in an accident.
Injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord damage
- Burns, including chemical burns from tanker truck cargo and friction burns
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue damage
Filing a Claim After a Drunk Truck Driver Accident
Serious injuries after an accident with a drunk truck driver can leave you with heavy financial burdens. Filing a personal injury claim can help you seek compensation for those injuries.
Who bears legal liability for an accident with a drunk truck driver?
Typically, in a drunk driving accident, including one involving a truck, the drunk driver and trucking company bears liability for the accident. Drunk drivers may also face serious criminal penalties in addition to the civil damages that they may end up owing any victims. In some cases, however, factors other than driver error can contribute to drunk driving accidents, changing the balance of liability.
Consider the following:
- Mechanical failures that caused or contributed to the accident
- Improperly-loaded cargo
- A trucking company that required the driver to drive in spite of inebriation or had other unrealistic requirements for the driver
Consult with an attorney if you believe other factors may have contributed to your drunk truck driver accident. An attorney can help you identify all parties who bear liability for your accident and, therefore, help maximize the compensation you may receive for your injuries. Keep in mind, however, that each case turns on its specific circumstances, and no one can guarantee you a favorable result in your case.
How much compensation should I expect from a drunk truck driver accident?
Your compensation after a drunk truck driver accident will vary. Truck drivers and trucking companies usually carry substantial insurance coverage to help protect accident victims.
Most people, when filing a personal injury claim after a truck driving accident, include the following:
- All medical expenses related to injuries sustained in the accident, including emergency treatment, ongoing medical care, therapy, and the cost of durable medical equipment
- Payment for wages lost due to the accident, including time hospitalized or unable to work during recovery
- Lost earning potential if your injuries permanently prevent you from returning to work
- Compensation for pain and suffering resulting from the accident
Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before pursuing compensation for your drunk truck driver accident. An attorney can help provide you with a full breakdown of the compensation you should expect for your injuries.
Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?
Some insurance companies may contact you shortly after you suffer injuries in an accident with one of the drivers the company covers, especially if the driver showed signs of inebriation at the time of the accident. Do not accept this offer without consulting an attorney first. Often, insurance companies will attempt to minimize the compensation that they offer, especially in the early days after an accident. Instead, consult with an attorney to learn what compensation you should expect, including when to accept an offer.
Do You Need an Attorney After a Drunk Driving Accident with a Truck?
Yes. You will need legal assistance to help you seek the compensation you deserve after an accident with a drunk truck driver. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide valuable legal advice, help you understand the compensation you deserve after an accident, and fight for you if your claim needs to go to court.
Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602