If you’ve been involved in a collision with a commercial truck, you may be wondering about how you can go about receiving compensation for your injuries and other damages. It’s not always clear who is legally responsible for covering your expenses. Is it the driver or the company that pays?
Even in situations where the truck driver was intoxicated and found to be at fault for the accident, they are not always legally liable. In this article, we’ll discuss your options if you’ve been hit by a truck driver who was charged with a DUI.
Laws Regarding Truck Drivers and Alcohol
Like anyone else operating a motor vehicle, it is illegal for truck drivers to drive while drunk. Although this may seem obvious, DUIs among truck drivers still happen. Trucking companies in Maine are required to monitor their employees by conducting random tests for drug and alcohol use while on the job.
Federal laws for commercial truck drivers state that driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of, at minimum, 0.04 percent qualifies as driving while intoxicated and is an arrestable offense. Other federal regulations prohibit truck drivers from performing “safety-sensitive functions” like operating a vehicle within four hours after using alcohol.
Therefore, if a commercial truck driver has consumed alcohol, operated a vehicle and caused an accident, several federal regulations have been broken. Following the accident, the truck driver is also required to submit to a post-accident test, according to regulations.
Who is Liable in Commercial Truck DUI Accidents?
In accidents where the truck driver was deemed at fault and accused of drunk driving, the commercial truck company may be liable. “Vicarious liability” describes situations when an employer is responsible for accidents caused by their employees during normal business operations.
This liability may be proved in several ways. For example, hiring a driver with 4 previous DUI convictions without performing a proper background check is considered negligence on the employer’s part. Also, failing to report other incidents of drinking on the job or a lack of periodic drug and alcohol screenings may support a negligence case against the commercial trucking company.
Under most other circumstances, the truck driver will be responsible for covering your medical bills and damages, which can be catastrophic in these kinds of accidents. Proving that the truck driver was intoxicated is the most difficult step in the process of receiving the compensation you deserve, so it’s important that you seek adequate representation for your case.
DUI violations are taken very seriously in the state of Maine and across the nation. Thus, if it’s suspected that a commercial truck driver, whose central responsibility is to safely transport goods and materials throughout the states, was operating a vehicle while drunk, they should be held responsible.
Hire a Qualified Attorney
Our lawyers at Lowry & Associates have familiarized themselves with state and federal commercial truck driving regulations and DUI laws. If you or someone you know was hurt in an accident involving a drunk truck driver, give us a call at 207-775-3819 or fill out our free case review form. We will determine who is liable to recover your expenses.