We rely on trucks to get the goods we need from factory to warehouse to showrooms, but those same trucks interact with us the road daily with sometimes devastating consequences. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there is a range of reasons why big rig trucks pose a significant danger to the other motorists on the road.
The odds are stacked against you if you or a loved one is involved in a big-rig trucking accident. The sheer size and speed of an 18-wheeler determines the results of most roadside accidents, and according to 2017 data compiled by the Lone Star State’s department of transportation, that year witnessed more than 36,000 accidents involving commercial big-rigs resulting in more than 600 deaths and over 1,500 serious injuries.
Whether from driver fatigue, mechanical issues or outright negligence, survivors have the right to seek monetary recompence for their injuries, medical expenses, and punitive damages designed to cover lost of income and the like.
If it comes to light that the commercial driver got behind the wheel of one of these 18-wheel behemoths after drinking or doing drugs, the roadside results can be truly catastrophic, and may leave you wondering, “who is liable when a drunk trucker causes an accident?”
After speaking with a seasoned Texas personal injury attorney, you may be surprised to find that the defendants in such an action can quickly pile up beyond the individual driver.
Complex Machinery and Dexterous Driving Skills
Successfully driving an 18-wheeler requires mastering complex machinery while displaying dexterous driving skills. Additionally, long haul routes and the monotony of the road combine with the constant pressure of meeting important delivery deadlines.
Despite governmental regulations, driver training, and the professional experience based on years of driving a commercial truck, none of these safety factors matter if the driver chooses to drink and drive while in control of an 80,000-pound vehicle.
Obviously, this is a prescription for disaster, and anyone in the way of this disaster is in grave danger owing to that driver’s negligence.
Questions sometimes arise in the aftermath of such an accident however, when crashes involving large trucks with a clearly impaired driver, “Who is liable when a drunk trucker causes an accident?”
Who is Liable When a Drunk Trucker Causes an Accident?
Under the normal standards of commercial truck accidents, protections are afforded the victims through a legal principle known as respondeat superior. Under this caveat, the driver’s employer is held liable and responsible for any damages. This allows for the leveraging of the deeper pockets of commercial transportation companies to help compensate victims as they recover from the uneven odds resulting from crashes involving large trucks.
Unfortunately, the legal concept of respondeat superior only comes into play when the driver is operating under their scope of responsibilities for the transportation company. An impaired driver would certainly fall out of the scope of the principle’s parameters of “scope of responsibility.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the governing body responsible for ensuring the roadway safety of commercial trucks, vans, and busses. Regarding the consumption of alcohol, the agency’s regulate mandate that motor carriers may not use alcohol within four hours of operating a commercial vehicle. A driver involved in an accident while intoxicated has clearly violated this regulation.
Here in Texas, the legislature has passed what is referred to as Dram Shop Laws. Dram Shop Laws puts the legal onus on businesses and party hosts that supplied the driver alcohol while showing ‘obvious’ signs of inebriation that would appear a ‘clear danger’ to the larger public.
Proving these extant circumstances requires investigation into the accident. Beyond studying the police reports and reviewing witness testimonies as well as consulting photographs and consulting experts to help prove liability.
A great deal goes into the proving of liability when an accident occurs with a big-rig truck. Having qualified legal counsel by your side can be the difference between getting the medical and financial resources you need to recover. In the worst-case scenario, wrongful death suits can be filed to ensure family survivors receive their just compensation.
When Accidents Happen Call Houston Attorney Terry Bryant
If you or a family member are the victim of a large truck accident where the driver was found driving under the influence, you will need the services of an expert in personal injury cases. Proving liability is always difficult, and the negligent truck driver’s insurance company will do everything they can to limit or eliminate paying out on any claims, you will need an experienced attorney in your corner in court.
Houston-based attorney Terry Bryant has the experience, legal skills, and team to get the job done in the aftermath of crashes involving large trucks in Texas. Call today and schedule an appointment to discuss your case because you are entitled to compensation if another’s negligence led to your loved one’s