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DUI Truck Accident Lawyers

State and federal laws require truck drivers to act with a higher level of responsibility on the roads than other drivers. There is no excuse for anyone to drive drunk, but it’s even more intolerable for commercial truck drivers.

If you or someone you love was injured or killed by an intoxicated truck driver, you can sue the driver and his company for damages. The experienced DUI truck accident lawyers at Nix Patterson can help you hold the negligent party accountable by working to establish liability in a personal injury lawsuit.

Drunk Driving Laws for Truck Drivers in the U.S.

Most motorists know it’s illegal to get behind the wheel when intoxicated. Still, some drivers disregard the risks and drive drunk, leading to thousands of serious and fatal accidents annually. For commercial truck drivers, the consequences of a drunk driving truck accident can be even more catastrophic, which is why stricter drunk driving laws exist for those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

The federal government sets the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level for commercial truck drivers at .04%. This is 50% of what is legally intoxicated in most of the country – .08%. This means that just one or two beers can put a commercial truck driver over the limit and put them at risk of an accident. They can also have their CDL suspended and even go to jail if pulled over.

The reasoning behind a lower drunk driving limit is that large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers and passenger buses, require more training, skill, and judgment than regular vehicles. The risk of operating a commercial vehicle when intoxicated is much more significant because of its weight and size. So, truck drivers must follow lower BAC rules to ensure public safety. Even one drink can affect a truck driver’s fine motor skills, judgment, and reaction time, all essential to safely operating a commercial vehicle.

Drunk Driving Statistics

There are many restrictions, tests, and consequences for getting a DUI as a truck driver, so you would think it would hardly ever happen. But you’d be wrong. In a recent report about commercial truck accidents in 2019, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) said there were 4,657 commercial drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2017. Among those, 3.6% had a BAC of .01% or higher, and 2.5% had a BAC of .08% or higher.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2018 that the number of fatal DUI accidents was lowest among CDL holders. Of 3,180 tractor-trailer drivers in fatal accidents in 2018, about 2% had a BAC of .08% or higher. While the number of DUI truck accidents is relatively small, the ones that happen are more catastrophic when they happen because of the truck’s weight and size.

What to Do After a Crash With an Intoxicated Truck Driver

If you are hit and injured by what you believe was a truck driver under the influence, there are things you can do to increase the chances of a successful case outcome. They are:

Get Medical Help

After any truck accident, your well-being and safety are the priority, so you should go to the doctor or Emergency Room immediately. Many accident injuries will not be readily apparent, so you should call 911 and have a medical professional look you over. Truck accidents can be especially violent and damaging to the body, so checking is essential. Furthermore, if you file a claim later, you can be assured that the trucking company’s insurance provider will check if you got medical attention promptly.

Call Law Enforcement

Find somewhere safe out of traffic and call the police. Law enforcement should always be called to a trucking accident scene, especially when alcohol may be involved. The police can test the trucker’s BAC, and you also can file a police report detailing what happened.

Gather Relevant Parties’ Contact Information

Collect the names and contact information of anyone involved or who witnessed the accident. Your attorney may contact these individuals as part of the accident investigation process.

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

You should always report a truck accident to your insurance company. Your attorney can sort out later who was responsible, and your insurance company can be reimbursed as needed. Refrain from speaking to any truck insurance company that tries to contact you. If the trucker or carrier is at fault, they will attempt to have you sign a quick, small settlement to limit their financial exposure. Let your attorney handle all communications with the other party’s insurance company.

Contact a DUI Truck Accident Lawyer

An experienced attorney should handle all accidents involving a tractor-trailer. Truck accident cases are complicated, and skilled attorneys will represent the defendant. You should be, too.

Damages From a Drunk Driving Truck Accident

If you were in a DUI truck accident, our Nix Patterson truck injury attorneys are committed to getting you maximum compensation for your losses. We can help you receive compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost earnings. Many truck accident injury victims suffer permanent disabilities and can no longer do the work they once did, so lost future income can be a significant part of the damages.

To get you fair compensation, our DUI truck accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate the accident and obtain all relevant documentation, including police reports, tickets, and test results from alcohol and drug tests given to the truck driver.

Other evidence might be surveillance, security, or cell phone footage of the accident and black box information taken from the rig’s event data recorder. We will make a record of your statement of events and the statements from witnesses. We also maintain a careful record of your medical bills and other costs and losses.

A common issue to investigate in a DUI truck accident is the trucker’s driving history. If the carrier put a trucker behind the wheel they knew or should have known had a drunk driving history, the company can be liable for negligence.

Obtaining a settlement or favorable verdict in a DUI truck accident requires proving these factors:

  • The trucker or employer was responsible for the accident because of negligence
  • The truck accident led to your injuries and damages
  • Your injuries led to damages that resulted in monetary damages

Remember, the truck driver doesn’t need to receive a DUI conviction for you to win your personal injury claim. However, a DUI conviction would be helpful to evidence in your civil claim. Your attorney will typically also show evidence that because the trucker was intoxicated, they caused the accident by doing something negligent, such as not braking, crossing the centerline, not yielding, etc.

Our truck accident attorneys are experienced in building robust, fact-based cases that we can use with the goal of obtaining significant settlements. We don’t hesitate to take our clients’ cases to trial when needed. In many cases, trucking companies want to avoid taking a DUI case to a jury, so a fair settlement is a possibility. Insurance companies know that a sympathetic jury could award a DUI truck accident victim a higher award at the end of an emotional trial.

Contact an Experienced DUI Truck Accident Lawyer Today

It’s hard to imagine that a truck driver would be so irresponsible to drink alcohol and then climb behind the wheel of a huge commercial truck, but it happens more than many think. If you were hit and injured by a drunk truck driver, you could receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

In addition to potentially facing criminal charges, the trucker and his employer may have to pay for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Our DUI truck accident lawyers at Nix Patterson will do their best to hold the driver and his employer accountable. Please contact us for a free consultation, and remember that you don’t pay us unless we win.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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