Both federal and state laws require all drivers on the road to act responsibly. It is the mandate of every driver to exercise their best judgment while on the road to ensure all road users are safe.
There is no excuse for intoxicated driving, especially if you drive a truck weighing nearly 80,000 pounds. A drunk truck driver can lose control of their truck at any time, causing serious harm or even death.
If you or someone you care about has been involved in a truck accident, you should know that you may have legal recourse against the driver. You may sue the truck driver for damages after a truck collision. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can help you establish liability in your personal injury case.
Who is Liable in a Drunk Driving Truck Accident?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a commercial truck driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at or above 0.04% is considered under the influence of alcohol. Such drivers may be subject to sanctions in accordance with federal and state trucking regulations.
A truck driver with a BAC of 0.04% or higher may lose their license and face fines and penalties whether or not they caused a drunk driving accident. They may also face criminal charges for endangering the lives of other road users.
After a truck accident, you may sustain severe injuries and extensive damages. A truck collision may result in permanent disfigurement or the death of your loved one. Such a painful experience may leave you wondering, "Can I sue a drunk truck driver?" The answer to this question is "Yes." You can sue a drunk truck driver if their reckless actions lead to your injuries.
Depending on the facts of your drunk driving accident, there are various parties you may sue in a personal injury case.
Truck drivers are, in most cases, the main liable parties in drunk-driving lawsuits. After all, they are the ones involved in drinking and driving. Driving a commercial truck while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. When a driver decides to drive their truck while drunk, they breach their duty of care.
Alcohol reduces brain function. It can impair a truck driver's thinking and reasoning. It may also affect muscle coordination, making it harder for a truck driver to operate their vehicle safely.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a driver with a BAC of over 0.05% may have difficulty focusing their eyes, exhibit exaggerated behavior, or experience impaired judgment while driving. Such a driver may find it hard to respond to emergencies. For example, it may be nearly impossible for them to quickly react if a five-year-old child runs across the freeway.
During a drunk driving lawsuit, you — the plaintiff — should prove that the truck driver's BAC was above the set legal limit. Truck drivers in Maryland can be charged if their BAC is 0.04% or higher during drunk driving accidents. Once the police arrive at the scene of your accident, a breathalyzer test can be used to prove the driver's BAC level was above the legal limit.
In some drunk driving accidents, you may be able to sue the trucking company for your damages. The legal doctrine of vicarious liability holds that you can hold a party liable for the reckless actions of a third party.
If the truck driver was on shift when your drunk driving accident occurred, their employer might be vicariously liable for your injuries and damages. The trucking company may be held responsible for their employee's negligent conduct since the accident happened during working hours. Vicarious liability applies when an accident is considered a company accident.
A trucking company may also be held liable if their practices contributed to your drunk driving accident. For instance, a company that employs a driver with a history of drunk driving may be liable for their driver's behavior. Still, a trucking company that doesn't fire a driver with a history of drunk driving may be held accountable for their actions.
What Can a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Help With?
After a drunk driving accident, a drunk driving victim attorney can protect your legal rights. A lawyer can help you prove your injuries and damages were caused by the defendant's reckless actions. To do this, a drunk driving victim's attorney must consider four elements.
Legal Duty of Care
Experienced DWI injury lawyers must show that it is the responsibility of a truck driver to operate their commercial vehicle safely without endangering the lives of other road users.
Breach of Legal Duty
Once this duty has been established, a DUI accident victim attorney must prove that the defendant violated it by drinking and driving. A police report, videos of a staggering truck driver, or photos of beer bottles in the truck can help to prove this element.
A DWI injury attorney must then show that the actions or inactions of the drunk driver led to your injuries. For example, medical records can prove that their recklessness led to traumatic injuries.
Lastly, an attorney can help prove that you sustained damages — such as medical bills, lost income, or repair bills — as a result of the truck accident.
Do I Have a Truck Accident Case? Find Out Today
After drunk driving accidents, victims often feel overwhelmed. The defendant's insurance carrier may try to settle your claim as soon as possible. They may offer you a lowball settlement soon after the accident. It is advisable to consult a DUI accident attorney before signing anything from insurance adjusters.
The DUI accident lawyers at D'Amore Personal Injury Law are ready to protect your rights and interests if you have been involved in a truck accident. You can book your free case review today to find out if you have a valid personal injury claim. Get started now before it's too late to file your case.