When truck drivers abuse drugs and get behind the wheel, they endanger everyone else on the road. According to the Journal of Forensic Science, the use of drugs and alcohol among truck drivers involved in fatal accidents is disturbing. In 67% of truck drivers tested following a fatal truck accident, the presence of drugs was detected in their blood. Another 33% of truck drivers had measurable amounts of psychoactive drugs or alcohol in their systems. Alcohol and cannabis were the two most often detected drugs, according to the study. What this means is that drunk driving or the abuse of illegal drugs is a major contributing factor in fatal truck accidents. Even when these types of truck accidents don’t result in fatalities, they can result in serious injuries for victims.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a truck accident where the use of illegal drugs may have been a factor, consider speaking to the Cooper Law Firm, Texas truck accident lawyers today. Our attorneys may be able to help you with pursuing a lawsuit or we may be able to negotiate with insurance companies to help you get the settlement you may deserve. You don’t have to navigate the claims process alone. Contact the Cooper Law Firm today to learn more. When truck drivers abuse drugs and alcohol, they should be held accountable. Let our lawyers fight for your rights.
Drug Abuse and Punitive Damages in Texas
In the aftermath of most truck accidents involving truck driver negligence, victims might be entitled to receive damages to cover their medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages due to missed time from work, and pain and suffering damages. However, when truck drivers abuse drugs and alcohol and then get behind the wheel, victims may be entitled to receive punitive damages as well. What are punitive damages?
Recovery amounts for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages are designed to make victims and their families “whole” again. These amounts are meant to compensate victims for their losses. When an accident occurs due to another person’s unintentional negligence, usually the damages victims are entitled to receive are limited to compensatory damages.
However, punitive damages are amounts of money awarded to victims to punish someone for certain extreme acts of negligence, including intentional negligence. Drug abuse and alcohol use before driving might be seen by the courts as intentional negligence. We know that drunk driving and drugged driving endangers others on the road. Some courts might view drunk or drugged driving as intentional disregard for another person’s life or safety. Truck drivers have a special responsibility to exercise caution and to take steps to drive safely. After all, truck drivers are operating multi-ton vehicles.
If you have been hurt in a truck accident due to a driver’s use of drugs or alcohol, you and your family may be entitled to collect both punitive damages and compensatory damages. Contact the truck accident lawyers at the Cooper Law Firm in Texas today to learn more. Our attorneys can review your truck accident case and help you understand your rights and options under the law.
Are Truck Drivers More at Risk for Drug or Alcohol Abuse?
Research has indicated that truck drivers may be at risk for substance abuse. In fact, the trucking lifestyle may make truckers more prone to substance abuse. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, risk factors that make truck drivers more likely to take drugs include when drivers are required to take longer trips, younger drivers, drivers who drive during the night shift, drivers who drive interstate routes, those who get fewer hours of sleep, and those who experience financial difficulty due to not being paid a fair or living wage. These risk factors can often be addressed by truck companies. For example, younger and inexperienced drivers could be assigned to day routes or be provided with additional support. Truck companies can pay drivers a fair living wage to lower stress levels. Truck companies also have a responsibility to assign drivers routes that are reasonable and that can be completed within the limits of the law. When truck companies put unreasonable pressure on drivers to complete routes, drivers may abuse stimulants to stay awake, endangering others on the road. Furthermore, companies could also ensure that those who drive longer routes or that those on interstate routes have sufficient time off to get rest and to spend time with their families. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, risk factors for substance abuse includes poverty, social isolation, or having a peer group that also uses drugs. The trucking lifestyle can lead to social isolation and can put drivers at risk of drug abuse. Truck companies have a responsibility to educate drivers about the risks, provide preventative support, and should also have strict no tolerance policies in place. Support for substance abuse, regular testing for substance abuse and use, and addressing driver risk factors should all be part of each truck company’s drug abuse prevention plan.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a truck accident in Texas, the Cooper Law Firm are truck accident lawyers who can take the time to investigate the circumstances of your accident. If drug use or abuse was a factor, you may be entitled to seek both compensatory and punitive damages. Contact the Cooper Law Firm today to learn more.
Seek Justice Today
Truck companies have a responsibility to prevent drug abuse and use among truck drivers on the job, and truck drivers have a responsibility to drive sober. If you have been hurt due to a truck driver’s actions behind the wheel, or due to truck driver drug abuse or drunk driving, you may have the right to seek damages under the law. The Cooper Law Firm are truck accident attorneys in Texas who fight for the rights of truck accident victims. You may only have a limited amount of time to pursue a lawsuit. Contact the Cooper Law Firm today.