Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a reckless decision that can have devastating consequences. Unfortunately, it is all too common for impaired drivers to cause catastrophic and often fatal accidents. This is especially true of truck drivers who operate their vehicles while intoxicated, as collisions with heavy commercial vehicles often result in traumatic damages for those involved.
Filing a lawsuit with the help of a skilled tractor-trailer crash attorney, such as Scott Distasio, may be the best path forward for those who suffer losses in drunk driving truck accidents in Wesley Chapel.
Drinking and Driving Laws for Commercial Truck Drivers in Florida
In Florida, the definition of an intoxicated truck driver differs from that of a regular driver. While the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for most drivers is 0.08 percent, commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard due to the potentially hazardous nature of their vehicles. Therefore, a truck driver is considered to be driving under the influence if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher.
Identifying Whether a Trucker Is Intoxicated
In Wesley Chapel truck accidents, one of the key factors our seasoned attorneys investigate is whether alcohol or other substances were involved in causing the wreck.
Typically after a crash, the truck driver undergoes a breathalyzer test to determine their BAC; however, these tests may not be helpful if they are conducted by the truck driver’s employer and performed too long after the accident. If law enforcement officers observe that the trucker is slurring their speech or not moving normally, they may conduct a breathalyzer test at the scene, which provides more accurate readings. If the BAC is higher than 0.04 percent, the truck driver is considered to be intoxicated.
Drug Use by Truck Drivers in Wesley Chapel
Alcohol is not the only substance that can affect how truck drivers operate their vehicles. Some truckers take stimulant medications to stay awake and help them drive for longer hours, but these drugs do not improve their reaction times. In addition, some truck drivers with chronic pain may take opioids, impairing their driving ability. Marijuana use while driving is also becoming more common. All of these drugs can impact a trucker’s ability to operate their vehicle safely.
The use of any substance that impairs a truck driver’s ability to react and drive can be seen as negligence and, therefore, an aggravating factor. This not only helps to prove wrongdoing in the context of a personal injury lawsuit, but it can also lead to higher compensation for victims. If a driver’s use of substances is proven, a proactive drunk driving truck crash attorney in Wesley Chapel can request the court to order punitive damages to punish the driver for their negligent actions. In addition, if it is found that the trucking company knew or should have known about the trucker’s substance use and condoned it, they can also be held responsible for paying punitive damages to the victim.
Compensation for Victims of Drunk Driving 18-Wheeler Collisions
The types of damages that may be recoverable in a Wesley Chapel drunk driving tractor-trailer accident case include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Monetary damages include:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Property damages
- Future medical care
- Future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are for more subjective losses such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental pain and anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
As previously mentioned, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the truck driver or trucking company for especially egregious or reckless behavior.
Call a Wesley Chapel Drunk Driving Truck Accident Attorney
When you are involved in a collision with an intoxicated truck driver, you should hire a local attorney with experience handling such cases. Drunk driving truck accidents in Wesley Chapel are often complex, and these cases involve different rules compared to regular personal injury lawsuits. Thus, it is essential to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the Federal Motor Carrier Act and understands the requirements of truck drivers to be drug and alcohol tested regularly by their employers.
At Distasio Law Firm, we have handled many claims involving drunk truck drivers and are intimately familiar with the federal trucking regulations and how they apply in these cases. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our capable legal professionals.