Drunk Driving Truck Accident Lawyer in Houston
The number of truck drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs involved in deadly traffic accidents is rising. Over 3 percent of the 4,786 truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in one recent year had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). That percentage of truck drivers was just 1.5 percent 20 years earlier.
Drunk driving is negligent driving, plain and simple. Being intoxicated while operating a large commercial vehicle is such a serious issue that a BAC of 0.04 percent or above is considered to be intoxicated for truck drivers, according to the FMCSA. This is half the amount that has been widely established for regular motorists.
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a drunk truck driver, the Houston truck accident lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm are here for you. We have more than 25 years of experience helping clients throughout Texas with personal injury claims. With our assistance, our clients have recovered millions in compensation for their injuries.
If you want to know more about how we can help you with a drunk driving truck accident claim, contact us, and let’s talk about your options. Get a free initial consultation by calling our Houston office or visiting our contact page.
How Can a Houston Drunk Driving Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
Pursuing compensation from an intoxicated truck driver or the company that employed them can be challenging. You will need to prove that the driver was not only intoxicated but also that their driving caused the crash and your injuries. In addition, there may be other parties that share responsibility for the crash, such as the trucking company that employed the driver, the shipper, the broker, and possibly others, which can make your case more complicated.
To give yourself the best possible chance to maximize compensation for your injuries, you’ll want to get help from a Texas drunk driving truck accident attorney. A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to find the evidence necessary to prove the truck driver and possibly others were at fault for the crash and your injuries.
Your attorney will gather evidence such as the police report, the police officer’s investigation file, the truck driver’s BAC test results, as well as the truck driver’s driving records which will show whether the driver has a history of DUI or otherwise reckless driving. The attorney will also work to collect evidence from the scene of the crash including photos, measurements, and surveillance videos. Many times an accident reconstruction expert will be retained to recreate the crash and provide other analysis.
Your attorney will also handle all the necessary settlement negotiations on your behalf, as well as all communication with the trucking company and insurance companies involved. You don’t want to say anything that might jeopardize your case. If the liable parties refuse to fairly compensate you for your injuries, your attorney will file a lawsuit, develop the case through depositions and other discovery, and then present your case at trial.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drunk Truck Driver Crash in Houston?
The truck driver is likely the primary party responsible for your injuries in a drunk driving truck accident, given that it was ultimately their decision to drink and drive. However, there may be other parties whose negligence contributed to the crash, and they could be held responsible for their actions as well.
Potentially liable parties in a drunk driving truck crash may include:
- The truck driver – The driver will likely bear the majority of fault for the crash and the harm caused as it was their choice to drink and drive.
- The truck driver’s employer – Trucking companies have a responsibility to hire drivers that are qualified, competent and safe. Trucking companies must perform background checks on their drivers to make sure the driver has a safe driving record and to determine whether the driver has a history of prior accidents, DUI convictions, or other red flags. If the trucking company failed to do due diligence when vetting a driver or ignored a driver’s prior history, that is known as negligent hiring and/or negligent retention. When a truck driver operates a commercial motor vehicle under a trucking company’s U.S. Department of Transportation number, that driver is considered an employee of the trucking company under federal and Texas regulations. All too often trucking companies will try to say that the truck driver was not their employee, but rather was an “independent contractor” and therefore the trucking company is not responsible for the truck driver’s negligence. This is a standard defense in trucking cases that are easily overcome when you have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side.
- The manufacturer of the truck – Even if the driver chose to drink and drive, mechanical defects could exacerbate the seriousness of a crash. If a truck’s steering system, brakes, tires, or other critical components caused or contributed to the crash, that should be understood and addressed as well.
- Maintenance personnel – Tractors and trailers are required to be inspected before and after they are driven, and they must be maintained in a safe condition. This responsibility falls not only on the truck driver but also on the trucking company and maintenance personnel. In addition, a truck’s cargo must be properly loaded and secured, and if it is not, the load can come off the trailer, shift or otherwise cause the truck driver to lose control of the rig.
Compensation for a Truck Accident Caused by an Impaired Driver
Texas law allows the victim of drunk driving truck accidents to recover compensation for injuries and losses they sustain in a crash. This includes both economic and non-economic damages. Among other things, you can be compensated for:
- Your lost wages
- The cost of any medical care you need, including both past and future treatments
- Your reduced ability to earn a living, depending on the severity of your injuries
- Property damages
- Your physical pain and suffering
- Your mental anguish
- The loss of emotional or financial support from family members injured in the crash
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Claim?
Texas law gives personal injury victims a strict deadline to seek compensation for their injuries. For a truck crash that happened in the state of Texas, an injured person has two years from the date of the crash to either settle their claims for negligence or file a lawsuit. There are exceptions that can apply. In sum, if you wait too long, you’ll lose your right to make a claim and receive compensation for injuries and damages sustained in a Texas truck crash. That’s why it is so important to talk to an experienced truck crash lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected.
Laws Against Drunk Driving for Truckers in Texas
While the legal limit for most drunk drivers is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent, truck drivers are held to a higher standard. Both Texas law and federal regulations state that the legal limit is 0.04 percent or half of the standard legal limit.
If a truck accident results in injury, law enforcement will investigate and if warranted, test the truck driver to see if they’re at or above the legal limit. The FMCSA requires that truck drivers be tested for alcohol and drugs after an accident when someone is injured and receives emergency medical treatment if a vehicle is towed from the scene, and in other instances. Your lawyer can obtain the police report and the police investigation file which often includes photographs, videos, measurements, and witness statements, all of which can be used to support your case.
Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys Today
Given the complexity of truck accidents, getting the right legal team to represent you is essential. With our knowledge, experience, and resources, the legal team at The Callahan Law Firm has what it takes to win. We’re committed to providing high-quality legal representation to drunk driving truck accident victims. That’s why when you hire our firm, you won’t owe us any fees unless you make a financial recovery, or in other words, unless you win.
Ready to learn more? Contact us for a free case review by calling our Houston office or visiting our contact page.