Who's at Fault in Truck Driver DUI Accidents? –What Nashville Laws Say
Many trucking companies and drivers adhere to safety regulations and exercise the utmost care on the highway to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, some are negligent or reckless and cause crashes, putting other people's lives at risk.
The number of truck accidents reported each year is high. However, these cases are complex. Unlike other vehicle crashes, these incidents often involve several parties. Therefore, establishing liability to recover compensation for injuries and other damages is challenging.
Who is at fault for a truck accident? Is the driver liable if they are intoxicated when getting behind the wheel? Here's more information on what the laws say.
Understanding DUI Laws in Nashville, Tennessee
"DUI" stands for "driving under the influence," which means the person behind the wheel is drunk or using drugs. Both actions can impair their ability to operate vehicles safely to avoid accidents.
Whether they involve cars or commercial motor vehicles, all accidents can be serious enough to cause severe injury or death. Additionally, these incidents can affect the driver, passengers, and other road users.
Tennessee law establishes that the at-fault driver's insurance company must pay for the financial damages the injured person sustains. Therefore, determining if the liable party was drunk or under the influence of drugs is a crucial step in a truck accident.
This state sets a legal limit for alcohol consumption, which is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. People who get behind the wheel with a higher BAC can face harsh penalties, ranging from mandatory treatment programs and license revocation to huge fines and jail time.
However, federal laws are stricter. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set a 0.04% BAC limit on all truck drivers, which is quite lower than the limit for other road users.
Additionally, other federal regulations state that truck drivers can only perform safety-sensitive functions four hours after using alcohol. These tasks include operating a commercial motor vehicle.
In other words, a truck driver who gets behind the wheel while drunk or using drugs would be breaking both federal and state regulations.
Who Is Liable in Commercial Truck DUI Accidents?
As mentioned, truck accidents often involve multiple parties. Different individuals and entities can be held liable for commercial vehicle crashes, from drivers to tire manufacturers.
In cases involving people accused of drunk driving, the commercial trucking company could also be held liable for injuries and damages.
Can Victims Hold Trucking Companies Responsible for Truck DUI Accidents?
Truck owners or companies may be held accountable for these accidents due to vicarious liability. Under Tennessee law, it describes situations in which other parties may be responsible for a crash caused by a driver who was acting on their behalf.
Vicarious liability establishes that trucking companies, as employers, may be liable for accidents caused by their employees while performing business operations.
However, in these cases, the party hoping to impose vicarious liability must prove that the driver who caused the accident was acting on behalf of their employer and during working hours.
Trucking companies may also be liable for accidents resulting from drunk driving if they fail to perform proper background checks and hire a person with multiple DUI convictions. That may be considered negligence.
If they fail to report alcohol-related incidents on the job or don't perform periodic drug and alcohol screenings, trucking companies could also be liable for negligence and carelessness.
Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Victims' Medical Bills and Damages?
In most truck accidents involving drunk driving, drivers are responsible for victims' medical bills and damages.
Unfortunately, truck crashes often result in catastrophic injuries and losses. Therefore, victims experience financial hardship and have the right to seek compensation.
However, claimants must prove that the commercial truck driver was intoxicated when they caused the accident in order to recover compensation. This is the most difficult step of the legal process.
Luckily, an experienced Nashville truck accident attorney can help victims build a strong case and establish liability to hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions and recover the compensation they deserve.
Under Tennessee law, DUI violations are serious. Additionally, truck drivers are required to ensure that their operations are safe for other road users.
Therefore, a drunk truck driver must be held responsible and pay for the damages and injuries victims sustain if they cause an accident by driving under the influence.
Damages Victims May Recover If They Take Legal Action Against Trucking Companies or Drivers
While many truck crashes are just accidents, some are caused by companies' or drivers' negligence.
According to personal injury laws, these parties must be held accountable in order for victims to recover financial compensation.
Also known as tort law, personal injury law aims to restore victims to where they were before the accident occurred. That includes their financial status. They can also advise on who's at fault in spilled cargo accidents.
In this regard, these are the damages that truck accident victims can recover:
Other health-related expenses, including medical treatment costs
Additionally, in cases where the accident resulted in serious injuries or trauma, victims may also recover compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Surviving families of people who died in truck DUI accidents can also file a claim against at-fault parties to hold them accountable for their actions and recover compensation for loss of consortium and other damages.
In addition, courts can award punitive damages to victims in order to punish liable parties and deter other people from committing similar actions.
How Lawyers Can Help Victims in a Truck Accident Case
Commercial truck accidents are devastating and often result in severe injuries and losses. However, victims don't have to go through the legal process alone. Instead, injured parties can seek help from an experienced attorney.
An experienced truck accident lawyer knows the regulations on alcohol consumption set by the federal government and Tennessee authorities. Therefore, they can guide victims to devise the best legal strategy to establish liability, build a solid case, and recover fair compensation.
Seasoned attorneys have extensive experience handling drunk driving accidents and know all the tricks to help victims win their cases. They can also help answer questions like, "Do truck drivers get fired for accidents?"
Call Schuerger Shunnarah Attorneys and Find a Reliable Truck Accident Lawyer!
No matter how the accident happened. If large truck crashes involve alcohol consumption, drivers or their employers should be held accountable for their actions.
At Schuerger Shunnarah Attorneys, we have an experienced team of lawyers ready to help truck DUI accident victims fight for their rights. Call us today and get a free case consultation!