Due to their large size and heavy weight, truck accidents can cause devastating injuries, such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Life after a truck accident can be overwhelming. Many truck accident victims struggle with the pain caused by a truck accident injury. Victims may be unable to continue working and find it difficult to make ends meet while they watch their bills pile up. Moving forward can seem impossible.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault in Houston, Ceja Law Firm PLLC is prepared to advocate for your right to compensation. Our team of experienced litigation attorneys has a proven track record of recovering significant compensation in Houston truck accident cases involving catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. We represent clients in truck accident cases involving construction equipment, delivery trucks, 18-wheelers, and other commercial vehicles.
Why Are DWI Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Semi-trucks are more dangerous than passenger vehicles, and it’s crucial that truck drivers are alert, rested, and experienced when they get behind the wheel of a big rig. Any level of impairment due to drug or alcohol intoxication can lead to a truck accident that causes injury or death. When truck drivers are found to be driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, they can lose their commercial driver’s licenses.
As a result, drunk driving is among the least likely causes of commercial truck accident cases. Even so, devastating truck accidents involving intoxicated truck drivers happen in Houston and throughout the United States. When a truck driver has a single drink of alcohol, he or she may experience the following dangerous symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Worsened reaction time
- Inability to focus
- Unstable steering
- Heightened distractibility
- Poor judgment of speed and distance
Common Causes of DWI Truck Accidents
Intoxicated driving prohibits truck drivers from using reasonable care. While under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a truck driver may engage in one or more of the following risky behaviors, causing a devastating accident:
- Failure to brake
- Breaking too late
- Crossing the centerline
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Driving too fast or too slow for the conditions
- Failure to merge safely
- Dangerous turns
DWI Limits for Truck Drivers in Texas
Commercial truck drivers must follow strict regulations related to intoxicated driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires more stringent legal intoxication limits on drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) than on passenger vehicles. Under these regulations, a truck driver violates the law when he or she drives with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .04 percent or higher, rather than the usual .08 percent.
Similarly, Texas prohibits holders of commercial driver’s licenses from driving with a BAC of .04 percent or higher. The lower BAC requirement for truck drivers was established because it takes truck drivers more effort and concentration to operate a big rig than a smaller passenger vehicle safely.
Recovering Compensation After Being Injured in a DWI Truck Accident
Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are legally required to carry higher liability insurance due to the significant harm a large vehicle can cause in a crash. Victims of truck accidents caused by intoxicated drivers can pursue compensation through a claim with the truck driver or trucking company’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. Two types of damages are available in personal injury lawsuits in Texas: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are expenses a victim has lost or will lose because of their injuries. Medical expenses are a type of economic damage that include expenses resulting from doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, ambulance fees, the cost of caregivers, and other medical expenses. Plaintiffs can also pursue compensation for lost wages and the loss of future income if they can no longer work due to their disability. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and include damages for pain and suffering. In some cases, plaintiffs can pursue punitive damages.
Police Evidence Can Support Your Claim for Compensation
Truck drivers don’t have to be charged or convicted of a DWI for victims of truck accidents to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. However, a DWI conviction can be used by plaintiffs to support their claim that the truck driver was negligent. Evidence gathered by police officers at the scene showing that the truck driver was intoxicated can help plaintiffs prove the required elements:
- The truck driver and/or his employer owed you a duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances
- The truck driver or trucking company breached the duty of care owed to you
- The truck driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries
- Your injuries caused you economic and non-economic damages
If the truck driver is convicted of a DWI, you can use that conviction as evidence that the driver acted negligently. Even without a DWI conviction, plaintiffs may be able to provide evidence that the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol, such as slurred speech, swerving in and out of lanes, receipts for alcohol purchases, and other evidence.
The Benefits of Working with an Experienced Attorney
When a truck driver is suspected of drinking, police officers should administer a field sobriety test at the accident scene and be formally tested soon afterward. Anyone injured in a crash caused by an intoxicated driver will probably have a good chance of recovering compensation if they act properly to seek experienced legal help.
Commercial insurance companies often have teams of investigators and attorneys prepared to begin defending the trucking company immediately. When truck accident victims hire Ceja Law Firm PLLC, they level the playing field. Our team will begin gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and developing an effective strategy for recovering the maximum compensation possible in your case.
Schedule a Consultation with a Skilled Texas DWI Attorney
If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a DWI truck accident, you’ll benefit from working with an experienced truck accident attorney. Don’t hesitate to contact the Texas DWI attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.