Drivers who make the choice to get behind the wheel while intoxicated put everyone on the road at risk. When these reckless drivers are getting behind the wheel of a commercial truck, though, the consequences can be far more devastating.
The impact of a large commercial truck slamming into a much smaller passenger vehicle can leave victims with life-threatening injuries. In some cases involving drunk truck drivers, victims are killed on impact, and their families are left to cope with a horrific loss.
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a crash involving a drunk truck driver, you need a legal advocate who will fight fiercely to hold the at-fault part accountable. At the Cain Law Office, our Oklahoma drunk truck driving attorney has the experience and the resources necessary to demand justice for you and your family. Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can help you.
What to Do After a Crash with an Intoxicated Truck Driver
There are so many thoughts running through your mind after a serious accident. Am I going to be OK? Is my car totaled? How am I going to cover my expenses if I can’t work? Who is going to pay for all this?
In the chaos that follows a crash, you may not know the answers to these questions immediately. However, there are some steps you should take to protect yourself and your legal right to compensation, even in the face of an uncertain future.
Call the police. The officers who respond to the crash scene will talk to the truck driver and likely perform field sobriety tests and chemical tests, such as tests of breath, blood, or urine, to determine that the driver is intoxicated. The officers will likely arrest the truck driver. They will also file a crash report detailing all other evidence they collected at the scene. You should request a copy of that report.
Seek medical help. Getting treatment for your injuries should take top priority. Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders, including setting up appointments with specialists if necessary. Save all your medical records and receipts, and start a diary to document how your injuries are affecting you on a daily basis.
Get information about the drunk driver. While you are at the scene or in speaking with police later, get the name, driver’s license number, insurance information, and trucking company information for the drunk driver.
Collect evidence. If you or someone else at the scene is able, take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles, their positioning, and your injuries. Also be sure to get the names and contact information for witnesses.
Save all paperwork. It can help to start a file to keep all your paperwork and receipts related to the drunk driving truck accident in one place. You should keep a copy of the police accident report, medical records and other paperwork from the doctor, any receipts related to your treatment, etc.
Contact a drunk driving truck accident attorney. Accidents involving drunk drivers are complicated, and that is especially true when the driver is behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle. You should speak with one of our attorneys as soon as possible so we can work quickly to preserve evidence and begin work on your claim.
Drunk Driving Laws in Oklahoma for Commercial Drivers
Commercial truck drivers must adhere to strict federal and state standards to ensure they are operating their massive vehicles in the safest manner possible. In fact, these drivers are held to a different standard than traditional passenger car drivers when it comes to intoxication.
- In Oklahoma, as well as under federal law, a driver of a commercial motor vehicle is considered intoxicated when he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or more. That compares with a BAC limit of 0.08 percent for passenger car drivers.
- Under the law, drivers of large commercial trucks must consent to alcohol testing when pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving. If the driver refuses to take the test, his or her commercial driver’s license (CDL) can be suspended for a year.
- Although truck drivers accused of DUI may request a hearing over their license suspension with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, they will not be able to get a CDL hardship license or work permit. The only possibility is a modified non-commercial license.
Oklahoma is tough on drunk truck drivers, and drivers can face severe criminal penalties if convicted of a DUI charge. However, in addition to holding drivers accountable in criminal court, crash victims may pursue justice through a civil claim. A personal injury claim allows victims of drunk truck driving accidents to demand financial compensation from the driver, trucking company, and any other liable parties.
How Large Truck Crashes Are Different
Any type of car accident injury claim can be difficult, but personal injury claims involving large commercial trucks are much more complicated. There are several reasons for this:
There are many more potentially liable parties, including the truck driver, the company that owns the truck, the company that employs the driver, the cargo loaders, the company that maintains the truck, etc. With so many parties involved in a truck’s operation, you can count on a lot of finger-pointing when it comes to determining liability.
The injuries are much more serious. The force of a large truck smashing into a smaller car can leave the car occupants with catastrophic and costly injuries such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and more.
There are higher policy limits when it comes to insurance. This means that there is more money on the line, and insurance companies will fight fiercely to keep from paying it out.
Contact an Oklahoma Truck Accident Attorney Now
Truck drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in the safest manner possible. When they decide to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, the consequences can be grave.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a crash with a drunk trucker, please contact the Cain Law Office now to talk about your legal options. Our dedicated truck accident lawyers have the experience and the resources to take on these tough cases, and we will fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today.