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Who Pays When a Truck Crash Is Caused by a Trucker’s Prescription Drug Use?

An older man swallows prescription medicationIt is easy to empathize with a trucker who needs to drive to earn a living and who is advised to take medication prescribed by his doctor to manage his pain or to maintain his health. Yet many prescription drugs have significant side effects that can interfere with a trucker’s ability to drive safely, and serious accidents can result from a trucker’s prescription drug use.

If you have been hurt or a loved one has been killed by a truck collision, then it is important to learn whether prescription drugs may have been a factor in the accident, to hold the right people accountable for the crash, and to protect your right to a fair recovery.

What Kinds of Medications Can Be Dangerous?

The prescription drugs taken by truckers may be legal, but they can also make a trucker dangerous behind the wheel. Consider, for example, what could happen if a trucker takes:

  • Allergy medication.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Anxiety medication.
  • Blood pressure medication.
  • Cholesterol medication.
  • Decongestants.
  • Sleep medication.

The side effects of these medications may include:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Confusion or difficulty making decisions.
  • Anxiety.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Delayed reaction time.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Light sensitivity.

Additionally, some prescription medications are so dangerous that truckers are assumed to be medically unqualified to drive unless they have a written statement from their doctor stating that they are safe to be commercial drivers while on the medication. These medications include:

  • Anti-seizure medications.
  • Methadone.
  • Amphetamines.
  • Narcotics.
  • Any habit-forming drug.

At the time of an accident, you may not know whether the trucker was on prescription medication. However, a full investigation can determine what drugs were in the driver’s system at the time of the crash and who is responsible for your truck accident injuries.

Who Is Liable for Your Truck Accident Injuries?

You can recover damages even if the trucker that caused your crash was taking medication legally and as prescribed. Potential defendants in your truck accident case may include the trucker and the trucking company.

A trucking company may be liable if it knew, or should have known, about the danger and did not stop it. For example, a trucking company could be liable for your injuries if it:

  • Knew trucker was taking medication and didn’t consider side effects.
  • Was told by the trucker of the side effects and did not require the trucker to get off the road.
  • Did not have policies and procedures in place to address this known risk.
  • Did not adhere to its own safety policies.
  • Did not respond appropriately to Department of Transportation (DOT) testing.

Additionally, a trucker may be liable if the trucker:

  • Failed to consider how the potential side effects of a prescription medication would impact his ability to drive safely.
  • Failed to tell his doctor that he drove a commercial vehicle for a living.
  • Failed to take immediate steps to get off the road when a side effect occurred.

It is important to identify the right defendant(s) so that you can recover damages for your medical expenses, lost income, out of pocket costs, pain, and suffering.

What Should You Do to Protect Your Rights?

Immediately after an accident, you will not know if the trucker was taking prescription drugs. That will require an in-depth investigation that includes testimony from the driver, drug test results, and medical records. The trucking company’s attorneys may try to avoid providing you with this information, but an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you get the evidence that you need. We can find out what really happened to you and we can hold the trucker and trucking company accountable while we recover fair damages for your injuries.

It is important to act quickly so that any drug testing can be performed, so that all evidence can be preserved, and so that you can make the fair recovery that you deserve as soon as possible. To learn more, please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your rights and potential recovery.