A drunk truck driver behind the wheel can cause a catastrophic or fatal accident. Trucks are difficult to control and require an intense focus to maneuver. When a driver drinks and gets behind the wheel, he may be incapable of maneuvering his vehicle in a safe manner. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Pennsylvania truck accident involving a drunk truck driver, you may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit for compensation.
For help with your claim, call the truck accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC.
Against whom can I file a claim?
In most cases, you would file a claim against the negligent driver himself; however, truck accidents are a bit more complicated due to vicarious liability. While there are some one-man trucking operations, most truck drivers on the road in Pennsylvania are under the employment of larger companies. If a truck driver causes an accident while working, the employer is usually liable. If you are able to provide evidence proving the driver was intoxicated, you may be able to hold the driver and the trucking company liable.
If the driver was acting outside the scope of his employment (i.e., he was on a break and went to the local bar), you may be unable to hold his employer liable.
Liability in a truck accident case is confusing and can be even more so when you are recovering or caring for someone recovering from severe injuries. For more information on whether you may be able to hold the driver or the trucking company liable for your drunk driving truck accident, call Cordisco & Saile LLC today.
What is the law on truck drivers driving under the influence?
It is illegal for any commercial to drive under the influence and it greatly increases the risk of an accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires trucking companies to test their drivers after any accident that results in:
- A citation
- Injury requiring immediate medical treatment
- Disabling damage to one or more vehicles
The law requires the driver’s employer to administer a blood alcohol test within two hours (the employer must administer a drug test with 32 hours). If the employer does not complete the test within two hours, the employer must create and save a document that explains why it did not administer the test.
Note: The legal limit for commercial drivers is .04, half the legal limit for other drivers.
Employers must also perform drug tests prior to employing drivers for their company. If a trucking company hires a driver after he tests positive for drugs or alcohol, victims can hold the employer liable for negligent hiring.
Failure to provide those tests and maintain the appropriate records could result in a finding of negligence by the court. After testing drivers and potential drivers, the trucking company must preserve any positive test results for a minimum of five years
How can I prove the driver was negligent?
In most cases you would be required to prove that the driver breached his duty of care to you by behaving negligently; however, drinking while driving, by nature, is negligent behavior. Some ways to prove drunk driving and negligence may include the following:
- Truck driver’s test results
- The police report and testimony (will contain any citations issued as well as the results of any field sobriety or breathalyzer tests)
- Police dashboard video evidence of field sobriety tests
- Eyewitness statements (e.g., an eyewitness can testify that she saw the driver weaving or driving erratically, another eyewitness could testify that the driver had bloodshot eyes or smelled of alcohol)
- Expert witness testimony (e.g., an expert witness can testify how alcohol would affect a driver’s ability to control his truck)
- The defendant’s own admission (e.g., the defendant may admit to being under the influence)
What damages am I eligible to recover?
A truck accident, due to its immense size and weight, will likely end in catastrophic injuries. If you are able to prove that the driver was operating his truck while he was under the influence, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Hired home help
- In-home nursing care
- Home renovations (i.e. widened doorways, wheelchair ramps)
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- And more
You may also be eligible to recover punitive damages. A jury typically only awards these damages in cases of extreme negligence or willful behavior, such as driving under the influence. Your attorney can give you more information on punitive damages.
Where can I get help filing a claim?
Filing a truck accident claim can be especially difficult, but the good news is that you do not need to do it alone. If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident and suspect that the other driver was under the influence of alcohol, you may be eligible to file a claim for damage compensation.
The first step in obtaining the compensation that you deserve is contacting a competent legal professional. The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC are specially trained and experienced in obtaining the best outcome for your personal injury case.
Give us a call today and let us handle your case while you focus on the most important thing — recovering.
Contact us today: 215-642-2335.