Texas Truck Driver DUI CasesLast updated on: July 19, 2012
INJURED BY A DRUNK TRUCK DRIVER? CALL (800) 863-5312 AND SPEAK WITH DUI INJURY ATTORNEYS IN TEXAS FOR FREE
A truck driving accident can cause serious harm because of the large size of the truck and its heavy weight. An accident with a truck driver who has been drinking can be even more severe.
Truck driving accidents are complicated and may involve several parties. Accidents caused by driving while under the influence (DUI) may give rise to criminal charges as well as civil claims.
DRIVING UNDER the INFLUENCE LAWS in TEXAS
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can severely impair your ability to drive carefully. Not only is it irresponsible, but it is illegal as well. You are legally intoxicated in Texas when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08%. Your driving abilities can be impaired even before you reach the limit of .08% if you have had any amount of alcohol to drink.
HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS DRIVING ABILITY
The higher the BAC percentage, the more your driving will be affected. Even with a small amount of alcohol consumption, driving abilities can become delayed or impaired. Some effects include loss of judgment, loss of small muscle control such as your eyes, lowered alertness, and a reduced inhibition. At higher BAC percentages, these effects are increased and may be associated with more serious impairments. These may include loss of muscle coordination such as balance and reaction time, deterioration of control, delayed thinking, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.
Consequences of Driving Under the Influence
Drunk driving is extremely dangerous. It puts not only the driver at risk, but innocent drivers and pedestrians on the road at risk for serious bodily injuries or death. Drunk driving is a crime which can range from a misdemeanor charge to a felony offense. Driving under the influence may also cost the offender thousands of dollars in legal fees.
In Texas, the first DUI offense is subject to a $2000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, and revocation of a driver’s license for up to one year.
Why Truck Driver Accidents are More Dangerous
Accidents with trucks are more dangerous because of the large size and heavy weight of trucks. Truck accidents can be more damaging to a smaller vehicle and may even be deadly. Trucks cannot slow or stop as easily as a car can. This can sometimes lead to more catastrophic accidents that may involve multiple vehicles.
Accidents caused by driving under the influence can be even more dangerous. This is because drivers who are impaired may have a delayed reaction time. A delayed reaction time coupled with a truck’s inability to stop quickly can lead to an accident that is more destructive. If you have been injured by a drunk truck driver, you may have a claim for damages.
What Should You Do After a Drunk Truck Driver Accident?
In order to obtain full compensation for your damages, it is important to follow these steps to preserve your claim. The early stages immediately following a truck crash are the most important.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible to document any injuries.
- Collect evidence at the scene by taking contact information and pictures.
- Do not admit fault to the other driver or your insurance adjuster.
- Seek legal assistance immediately. Contact our Texas drunk truck accident lawyers.
Who is Responsible in a Truck Accident?
Trucking companies are regulated by state laws as well as federal laws, which can make handling claims difficult without an experienced attorney. Trucking companies usually have a lot of insurance coverage and will have strict driving compliance requirements for drivers to reduce the amount of accidents.
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which provides regulations for truck weight and hours on the road. Each truck driver is expected to know these regulations, but they may not always follow them.
Choosing to drive while drunk is a decision that is made outside the scope of an employee’s duties while on the job. If the driver was driving the truck for work and was suspected of a DUI, the employer might not be liable to you for your damages.
Knowing who to sue can be confusing and complex. A Zinda Law Group DUI truck driver lawyer may be able to assist in determining who might be liable to you for damages. Potentially liable parties may include the truck company, the employer, or just the individual who caused the accident.
Can I Sue a Drunk Truck Driver Who Hit Me?
Yes. A person who is responsible for your injuries may be liable to you for damages. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol may be both a criminal and a civil offense. When a person is charged with a DUI, this is a criminal charge. However, an individual may be able to bring a lawsuit against the drunk driver for a civil claim for personal injury. Even if a driver is found not guilty of DUI criminal charges, they may still be held liable to you in a civil court.
Texas Laws on Negligence
Most personal injury claims, such as drunk truck driver accident claims, will be filed using the legal theory of negligence. Negligence requires that the plaintiff, the victim, prove each element of negligence in order to be successful.
In order to have a successful claim of negligence, there must have been a duty owed to the plaintiff by the other driver. The duty must have been breached, and because of this breach, the plaintiff was harmed. In drunk driving cases, there is a duty to drive as a responsible driver by following the laws of the road. Driving drunk breaches that duty.
If you are able to show that you were injured by a drunk truck driver and all the elements are met, you likely have a strong case for negligence.
Time Limit for Filing a Claim
Most states have a time limit for filing a claim for personal injury. This time limit is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim for being in a car accident with a drunk truck driver is two years. In the event of the wrongful death of a family member, the statute of limitations is also two years.
It is important to contact a Texas car accident attorney immediately following an accident with a drunk truck driver to preserve your claim. Waiting too long to file a claim could cause your case to be dismissed by the courts. If you wait until after the two years to file a personal injury claim, it will automatically be dismissed.
What Damages Might be Available to Me If a Drunk Truck Driver Hits Me?
Drunk truck driving accidents may cause catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death. Depending on the damages sustained, damages fall under one of two categories. You may have damages recoverable under one or both.
You may be able to recover for any medical bills associated with your injuries. This includes future treatment, rehabilitation, in-home care, and prescriptions. If your injuries prevent you from working, your lost wages may be recovered. If you lost a loved one due to the actions of a drunk truck driver, you may be able to recover funeral costs and medical bills leading up to the death.
You may also be able to receive compensation for property damage to your vehicle. This includes repairs. You may still be able to recover compensation even if you have insurance or if your insurance does not cover everything.
Economic damages can be calculated and can usually be proven by bill statements and receipts. You may be able to recover for any economic damages that cost you out-of-pocket expenses as a result of your injury from the crash.
You may be able to recover for mental health counseling in dealing with the emotional trauma of the accident. Non-economic damages can help compensate you for any pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, or long-lasting disabilities or diminished functioning.
Non-economic damages are not as easily calculated because they will be more subjective to what the victim experiences. These types of damages are calculated based on the severity of the injury, length of recovery, and extent of medical treatment.
GET HELP FROM TEXAS TRUCK DRIVER DUI ATTORNEYS
At Zinda Law Group, our lawyers are prepared to evaluate your claims and may assist in recovering for any harm you may have experienced from being injured by a truck driver with a DUI. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.