Checking the Truck Driver’s Medical Background
San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyers » Checking the Truck Driver’s Medical Background
Obtaining the Defendant Truck Driver’s Prior Medical Records May Help Bolster Your Claim
San Antonio Texas 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer
One investigative technique that too few attorneys employ is that of conducting research into the truck driver’s background. Such probative research is required in most truck accident cases as a way of countering some of the available defenses.
For example, if a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel and kills a person, the defense attorneys who represent the trucking company will attempt to mitigate their losses by claiming that the truck driver was required to follow regulations in regard to hours of service, and that such a violation, or any other contributing factor that caused him to fall asleep, was beyond the control of the company.
Such a defense can be very effective if your attorney does not know how to counter it. In many of the cases that our attorneys have litigated at ourLaw Offices, these defenses were overcome by showing that the truck driver did not simply “fall asleep,” but other health issues arose instead which caused him to lose consciousness. By showing that the truck driver had a history of health problems that the parent company was, indeed, aware of, you will be able to cast doubt on the defendant’s assertions that they had no way of predicting such an outcome.
There are myriad ways in which a truck driver can cause an accident; most of the time they make traffic-related mistakes, but other times the cause is health-related. If you sustained an injury in an accident caused by a truck driver who had a health issue, and that issue led directly to the accident taking place, you need to know so that you can have the strongest possible case in order to have the best chance of winning.
Health Issues that Can Affect Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are susceptible to the same kinds of maladies as anyone else. They are under a great deal of stress, so high blood pressure is common. Obesity from a lack of movement is another issue; according to a 2007 study conducted by the Journal of the American Diabetic Association, 86 percent of the nation’s 3.2 million truck drivers were classified as overweight or obese. Since truck drivers are rarely in the same place for more than a day or two, hitting the gym is typically not an option. Usually, the most exercise a truck driver will get in any given day is pushing his or her gas pedal.
Another problem, obviously, is the stress these professionals encounter because they are trying to meet extremely taxing deadlines set by their employers. Truck drivers do not exactly have a varied range of eating options while they are on the road; since they are under such pressing time constraints, they often have to rely on fast food. When you combine the stress associated with their job with their often unhealthy eating practices, and then you add the fact that smoking is prevalent among truck drivers, you can see how heart issues can be a major problem affecting members of the profession.
Sleep apnea is another problem that is common among truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that about one in four truckers has the condition, which can lead to daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration. Many truck drivers spend incredible numbers of hours behind the wheel of their vehicles, ignoring federal mandates that require them to take rest breaks on a periodic basis. They press on and remain on the road because they are either trying to meet an often realistic employer-imposed deadline, or trying to make a potentially lucrative mileage bonus.
These issues can strike suddenly in the form of a heart attack or a sudden loss of consciousness that can result in a catastrophic accident.
Why Obtaining Information on the Truck Driver’s Health Issues is so Important
Determining the health issue that may have affected the truck driver involved in your accident is not what is really germane to your case; proving that the trucking company was aware of that problem is highly important. If the driver who caused your accident had a heart attack behind the wheel and had a history of heart issues, that is a very strong indicator the trucking company knew of those issues. And if you can prove the trucking company’s knowledge of the problem, that can substantially increase the strength of your case.
If you are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in order to obtain compensation for the injury you have sustained in your trucking accident, you will first have to show the court unassailable evidence that the truck driver was to blame. But you will not just be pursuing compensation from that driver; you will also pursue restitution from the company that hired the driver. And in order to build a solid case against the company, you will have to show its negligence.
If you can prove the trucking company was aware of the truck driver’s health problems and did nothing to take that driver off of the road to treat those problems, then you can prove that company’s negligence. However, you will need the help of a skilled attorney in order to do so.
At the Carabin Shaw Law Offices, our lawyers have litigated truck accident cases for the past two decades. During that time we have helped thousands of our clients secure equitable restitution for their suffering. In nearly every truck accident case that we accept, we immediately launch an investigation. In addition to investigatory tasks at the crash site, such as taking physical measurements, conducting forensic tests and interviewing witnesses, we can also take a detailed look into any of the truck driver’s health problems that may have either been an underlying cause of the accident or its direct cause. We can obtain the medical records needed in order to prove the truck driver’s health issues led directly to the accident and the resulting injury you sustained.
The Responsibilities of a Trucking Company
Just as a trucking company has a responsibility to other drivers sharing the road with their rigs to make sure those rigs are in proper working order, they also have the responsibility to not allow drivers with health risks to remain behind the wheel. A driver who is at risk of suffering a health problem that could directly lead to an accident is just as dangerous as defective brakes or worn tires. When a trucking company fails to perform its due diligence to ensure that its drivers are not a danger to themselves and the motorists around them, that company can be targeted with legal action for its negligence.
Again, however, you will need hard evidence to prove that negligence, and it takes an experienced attorney to be able to uncover that evidence. At our Law Offices, our attorneys have two decades of experience litigating truck accident cases. We have the knowledge and skill you will need in order to prove the negligence of a trucking company and obtain fair compensation. To learn more or to receive a confidential and free consultation, please call us today!