Lanes can fill up quickly along popular routes through Spokane. Busy thoroughfares like I-90 and Trent Avenue carry a lot of vehicles in and out of the city each day. The traffic will include vehicles that can take up more than their share of the lanes at times. Those are the giant trucks that travel our roads.
Truck drivers handling heavy loads must plan for longer distances to brake and seek out more room to make turns. But what if the judgment needed to drive a large truck is impaired by drugs or alcohol? Suddenly, a big rig, or tanker or box truck becomes a dangerous weapon with a driver under the influence behind the wheel.
You might be in front of a semi-truck or alongside when a truck driver who has had too much to drink loses control and sends you into a powerful collision. Motorists and their passengers could require expensive medical care and it will be challenging to figure out just who is responsible for paying for the costs of recovery.
Spokane Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Tests
Because of the serious consequences that often come along with an accident involving a large truck, truck drivers face more stringent testing in order to stay in the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, these tests don’t prevent truck accidents from occurring each year. However, drivers must avoid several safety measures in order to put others at risk by continuing to use drugs or alcohol.
When it comes to alcohol consumption, truck drivers face even stricter guidelines than the normal motorist. Professional truck drivers have to remain below a blood alcohol content of .04% or they can be arrested and charged with DUI. The drivers of passenger vehicles and motorcycles are in violation for a BAC of .08% or over.
Truck drivers must also submit to drug tests throughout the year. CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) drivers take mandatory tests when they begin a new job. They also get randomly tested during the year. Some trucking companies test even more often according to their corporate policies.
These tests are often 5-panel drug tests. They are used to screen for THC, amphetamines, opiates, PCP, and cocaine.
Truck Accident Liability In Washington DUI Accidents
Victims in truck accidents can suffer severe injuries that require weeks, months, and even years of medical treatment. The care of things like broken bones, head trauma, and a spinal cord injury often require thousands of dollars in hospital stays and rehabilitation treatment.
Victims and their families can be in need of a lot of support, especially if the injured person is held out of work and can’t earn a paycheck while healing.
Unfortunately, the varied nature of the trucking industry makes it difficult to figure out who should be held accountable for an accident. Truck drivers may be working for themselves and carry their own commercial insurance coverage. If they work for a local trucking company, the employer may pay for this insurance or provide further insurance covering drivers and their victims.
In some cases, a truck’s manufacturer must be held accountable when a defect in the design of the truck is to blame for an accident. Of course, a DUI charge may change how an accident claim is handled. Some businesses may try to avoid blame when their employees violate company rules while driving.
This isn’t fair to you if you’re the victim of a serious injury. A personal injury lawyer is an expert in these types of confusing and sometimes purposely unhelpful instances. Your attorney can help you hold multiple parties and insurance companies responsible to make sure your entire physical and financial recovery is covered.
Your truck accident lawyer will be gathering evidence on the accident scene and securing witness testimony in order to build a strong case to keep insurance companies from wriggling out of responsibility. They might seek to avoid taking the blame for a DUI driver, but there are ways to turn up the heat on insurance adjusters to force them to do what’s right.
Looking into the behavior of the driver and the company involved can prove negligence in a collision:
- Truck Driver’s Record – Has the driver had prior DUI violations or reckless driving violations in the past? Should the driver have had a driver’s license?
- Hiring Practices – Investigating to see if proper background checks were made by the company employing the driver. Were problems missed or overlooked? Should the company have hired this driver?
- Company Records – Has this driver been reprimanded before or violated company policy in the past?
- Trucking Company Safety – Were the proper drug tests administered? Does the company provide enough safety and hazard prevention training?
All of these factors and more can put pressure on a negligent company or corporation to support the victims of an impaired truck driver.
Truck Driving DUI Charges and Insurance Claims
The victims of a truck accident involving drugs or alcohol may worry that they must wait for criminal proceedings to conclude before they can file an insurance claim. This isn’t the case.
The driver will likely be facing criminal charges, but that won’t delay your right to file a civil claim. Accident victims can file an insurance claim or a lawsuit at any time. This civil claim proceeds separately from the criminal trial.
In Washington, personal injury victims have up to three years from the date of an accident to file a claim or lawsuit. However, it is in the best interest of victims not to wait years to start the filing process. Bringing your case to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can makes it easier for him or her to find evidence, secure documents, and keep tabs on the whereabouts of witnesses.
Contact a Spokane Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one are the victims of a serious accident involving a truck, you should speak with a skilled Spokane Truck Accident Attorney at CCD Law. It’s important to know about everything that’s available to you and your family after a truck accident involving drugs or alcohol.
Contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will help you determine the best path forward and only offer you advice that is in your family’s best interest.