Operating a commercial truck requires a truck driver’s full attention at all times. Truck drivers must remain awake and alert to ever-changing traffic and weather conditions. Unfortunately, some truck drivers turn to alcohol or drugs to help them cope with long hours and the loneliness of the job. A truck driver operating a vehicle under the influence poses a serious risk of causing an accident that could result in severe, catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Have you been involved in a DUI truck accident in Michigan? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages, including medical bills, lost wages and income, and pain and suffering.
Contact Christensen Law today for a free initial case evaluation. You can learn about your legal rights and options following your accident. Call us or contact us online now.
How to Prove Fault After a DUI Truck Accident
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident and you suspect the truck driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may wonder how to prove you were in a DUI truck accident. Evidence you might use to establish the truck driver’s intoxication includes:
- The results of a field sobriety test – Officers who respond to the accident scene may have the truck driver perform a field sobriety test if they suspect the driver was operating under the influence. The officers will note in their police reports whether the driver passed or failed the field sobriety tests.
- The results of a preliminary breath test – Officers may also conduct a preliminary breath test on a truck driver suspected of intoxication. That would give the truck driver’s bodily alcohol content.
- The results of a tox screen – In truck accidents involving serious property damage or bodily injury, the truck driver is required to undergo a blood test for alcohol and drugs. A positive tox screen may serve as conclusive evidence of the truck driver’s intoxication at the time of the accident.
- Eyewitness testimony – Testimony from people who saw the crash may help establish that the truck driver who caused your accident may have been under the influence. Witnesses may testify that the driver showed signs of intoxication, such as an unsteady gait, slurred speech and the inability to maintain a steady speed or weaving across traffic lines while driving.
How a Lawyer Can Help After a DUI Truck Crash
If you have been involved in a truck crash where the truck driver was operating under the influence, an attorney from Christensen Law can help you pursue your claim for compensation by:
- Investigating your accident and securing evidence of DUI, including police reports and the truck driver’s tox screen results.
- Working with experts to prove the truck driver was operating under the influence at the time of the accident.
- Aggressively negotiating with the trucking and insurance companies to get you a settlement that provides you with full and fair compensation.
- Preparing to take your claim to court or your case to trial, if necessary.
Drunk Driving Laws for Truck Drivers
Michigan has extremely strict drunk driving laws that apply to truck drivers. For example, truck drivers will be immediately placed out of service for a 24-hour period (pending further investigation and penalties) if they:
- Refuse to take a preliminary breath test.
- Consume alcohol within four hours prior to driving a commercial truck.
- Consume alcohol while operating a commercial truck.
- Have a bodily alcohol content of 0.015 or more (the legal limit for regular motorists is 0.08).
A truck driver who consumes alcohol and gets behind the wheel of a truck can be charged with various offenses, including:
- Operating with an unlawful bodily alcohol level (BAC) of 0.10 or more.
- Operating under the influence of liquor or other drugs.
- Operating while impaired (BAC of 0.07 to 0.10).
- Operating with a BAC of 0.04 to 0.07.
- Operating under the influence while causing death or serious injury.
A truck driver who is convicted of any of the above offenses or who refuses to submit to a blood alcohol or drug test will have his or her commercial driver’s license suspended for one year for his or her first offense (three years if transporting hazardous materials), or revoked for at least 10 years for a second or subsequent offense.
Understanding the Difference Between a Criminal and Civil DUI Case
When an accident is caused by an intoxicated truck driver, it may trigger both criminal and civil DUI cases. If you have been injured by an intoxicated truck driver, you should understand the differences between criminal and civil DUI cases. Although both cases arise from the same incident, the criminal case and civil case will be heard in different courts, by different judges, before different juries (if the cases go to trial).
A criminal case will be filed by prosecutors working for the state of Michigan. If you wish to pursue a civil case to recover compensation for your injuries and damages, you must do so with your own attorney.
In the criminal case, the prosecutors will be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the truck driver was operating a vehicle under the influence. In your civil case, you need only prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the truck driver caused your accident by being intoxicated and that you were injured and damaged as a result.
If the criminal case results in a conviction, you may be entitled to use that criminal conviction in your civil case as evidence of the truck driver’s negligent behavior.
Talk to a Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer Now
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident by a truck driver who may have been operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need to move quickly to secure the evidence you will need to support your legal claim for compensation.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Michigan truck accident attorney at Christensen Law today. We’ll discuss your case and you can learn more about how our experienced truck accident attorney can help you prove fault in a DUI truck accident case.
Our goal is to seek the maximum financial recovery you deserve. You can reach us by phone or online now.