When a commercial semi-truck crashes into a passenger car, the results can be devastating. Innocent victims can suffer catastrophic and even fatal injuries. When the trucker or trucking company is responsible for the crash, they should have to pay.
Driver error and mechanical failures are common causes of semi-truck crashes; however, our Houston truck accident lawyer explains, sometimes truck accidents are caused by a medical condition on the part of the truck driver. When this happens, who is responsible for compensating you?
Medical Conditions That Can Impair Drivers
While there are many medical conditions that can impair any sort of worker, there are some specific concerns for truck drivers, who are required to drive for long hours while being on high alert. A few of these conditions include:
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Diabetes requiring insulin use
Unanticipated medical issues such as undiagnosed sleep apnea or a sudden heart attack can also cause a truck driver to crash.
Trucking companies are required by federal law to conduct physical exams to prevent accidents from happening due to physical impairments. Sometimes, in a rush to fill vacancies, a company might skip steps, including checking for physical ailments. So, who is responsible when a medical condition causes a crash—the driver or their employer? It depends.
If a trucking company genuinely did their homework and adequately completed all paperwork and hiring processes, the driver might be considered at fault. If the driver did not disclose dangerous health conditions or lied about why they were let go from a prior job, they can be held responsible. They can also be held responsible if the trucking company has made reasonable accommodations for them but they do not uphold their portion of the responsibility.
Some examples of this would be failing to take prescribed medication or not wearing glasses if needed. If the trucking company turned the other way from facts that were known, then they would likely be liable as well.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Trying to take on a trucking company alone would be a big mistake. An experienced attorney can assist greatly with a truck accident case where liability is in question. Attorneys can access employment and medical records that a typical citizen could not. A qualified injury lawyer will also know how to professionally approach the trucking company in a way that yields results. It is more difficult for a business to give the run around to a lawyer and honest, straightforward information will be gathered more quickly and efficiently.