Over-the-Counter Drug Use and Truck Accidents
Most people think about illegal drugs or alcohol when they hear that a truck driver was impaired. However, over-the-counter drug use is a major cause of truck accidents in California. Often, truck drivers work punishing hours and take over-the-counter drugs to keep up with unreasonable work demands. Many over-the-counter drugs may impair a truck driver's ability to safely operate a heavy vehicle. Among other things, they may slow a driver's ability to respond appropriately to emergency situations, such as suddenly stopped traffic. The Los Angeles truck accident attorneys at Sharifi Firm can help investigate the situation surrounding your crash and bring a claim against any parties that may have been responsible.Over-the-Counter Drug Use and Truck Accidents
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tests drivers for illegal drugs like marijuana or methamphetamine, sometimes over-the-counter drugs may be just as dangerous. Sometimes the reason for taking the over-the-counter medication is innocuous. A driver might take dextromethorphan because of a cold. However, even in low doses, dextromethorphan may cause drowsiness or dizziness that could lead to a driver causing an accident. Similarly pseudoephedrine, found in Sudafed, might be consumed due to allergies or for its stimulant effect, but it may result in insomnia and increased fatigue.
If you suspect that a driver who caused a truck accident in which you were injured was under the influence of over-the-counter drugs, you may be able to recover damages for the driver's negligence. You should report your suspicions to the police when they respond to the scene. The police report may be a useful piece of evidence. It also may be possible to obtain an independent test to test for the presence of over-the-counter drugs. We can also investigate for other evidence of impairment, such as receipts for medication, and review the trucking company’s records to see if the company knew about a driver's propensity to use over-the-counter drugs when driving.
A trucking company may be found vicariously or directly liable when over-the-counter drug use results in injuries. The company may be vicariously liable if the driver negligently took these drugs and drove unsafely while in the course and scope of their employment. The company may be directly liable under theories of negligent hiring or negligent supervision if it knew or had reason to know that over-the-counter drugs were being abused. In some cases, trucking companies are aware of a drug problem but keep a driver employed because they are more concerned with the driver working long hours and meeting deadlines than with safety on the road. Federal motor carriers are required to maintain at least $750,000 in liability insurance, making it important to bring them into a lawsuit when appropriate.
In the case of interstate truck drivers, federal regulations require certain evidence to be kept for six months, but it is important to send a letter to the trucking company to tell them to preserve evidence. This letter must be sent so that if evidence does disappear, you can show that the company had notice of the lawsuit.Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in the Los Angeles Area
At Sharifi Firm, our experienced Los Angeles lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation if you were injured in a truck accident as a result of over-the-counter drug use. Our firm understands these types of cases and the necessity of an aggressive approach to gathering and preserving evidence to hold responsible parties liable. Contact us online or call us at (866) 422-7222 for a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision attorney. Our firm also represents victims in Temecula, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino, among other Southern California cities.