Our young client was extracted from her vehicle and taken for immediate surgery. The semi-truck driver testified that the accident was to due to our client’s distraction. We proved this testimony false by reconstructing a 16-camera video surveillance from the scene of the accident.

Truck driving is recognized as a difficult and isolating profession. Truckers are tasked with covering extensive distances each week to expedite deliveries for the major retail companies we rely on daily. To combat loneliness and fatigue, many truck drivers resort to drugs and alcohol.

We are well aware of the hazards associated with driving under the influence. However, the risks escalate significantly when you factor in an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer. If you or a loved one has been involved in a case involving substance abuse by a truck driver, it’s essential to contact a truck accident lawyer.

The attorneys at Stephenson Rife can advocate for you. We are committed to securing the financial settlement you rightfully deserve. Contact us at (317) 680-2350 for a free consultation.

Contact Stephenson Rife at (317) 680-2350 to book a free phone, video, or in-person consultation.

Why Choose Stephenson Rife?

When you or a loved one becomes a victim of a truck accident involving drugs or alcohol, the consequences can be devastating. In such difficult times, seeking legal counsel from a law firm with the expertise, experience, and dedication required to secure the compensation you deserve is imperative.

Stephenson Rife, an Indianapolis-based law firm, is a top choice for individuals seeking representation in drug and alcohol truck accident cases. Here are some compelling reasons to choose us.

Expertise and Specialization

Our focus on drug and alcohol-related truck accidents sets us apart. Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of state and federal trucking and transportation laws. This allows us to navigate the complexities of these cases with precision and insight, ensuring our clients receive the best possible representation.

Comprehensive Investigation and Resources

We are known for our thorough investigative approach. Our drug and alcohol truck accident lawyers employ a combination of expert witnesses, accident reconstructionists, and forensic specialists to gather crucial evidence. This meticulous process establishes liability and ensures that all responsible parties are held accountable.

Client-Centered Approach

One of our distinguishing features is our commitment to putting clients first. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that drug and alcohol-related truck accidents can take on victims and their families. The attorneys at Stephenson Rife prioritize open communication, ensuring clients are informed and involved throughout the legal process.

Aggressive Advocacy and Litigation Skills

We are renowned for our assertive advocacy on behalf of clients. We are not afraid to take cases to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation. Our trial experience and litigation skills are highly regarded within the legal community, which bolsters our ability to secure favorable outcomes.

Proven Success Record

With a history of successful outcomes in numerous drug- and alcohol-related truck accident cases, we have established ourselves as a leader in the field. Our attorneys have secured substantial client verdicts and settlements, consistently delivering results in even the most difficult cases.

Federal Laws Aimed At Reducing Impaired Driving by Truck Drivers

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have established standardized regulations governing drug and alcohol testing. These guidelines apply to commercial truck drivers and their employers, mandating adherence to specific testing protocols.

These regulations outline the following key provisions:

  • Frequency of Testing: The rules stipulate how often drug and alcohol tests must be conducted.
  • Test Substance Inclusion: They specify the substances that must be screened during these tests.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations on drug and alcohol usage can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, specifically in Part 382, or 49 CFR §382.

These regulations explicitly prohibit truck drivers from using the following substances while on duty:

  1. Any substance classified as Schedule 1 according to 21 CFR 1308.11
  2. Amphetamines or any of their forms (such as “pep pills” or “bennies”)
  3. Narcotic drugs or their derivatives
  4. Any other substance that impairs the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

To mitigate the occurrence of impaired truck driver accidents in the United States, several measures have been implemented:

  • Pre-Employment Drug Testing: Trucking companies are required to obtain negative drug test results from all drivers before permitting them to operate a truck.
  • Post-Accident Testing: In cases where a truck accident results in a fatality, injury, or vehicle disability, drivers must undergo a post-accident drug test within 32 hours and an alcohol test within eight hours.
  • Random Testing: Commercial truck drivers are subject to unannounced drug and alcohol testing at random intervals.
  • Supervisor Intervention: DOT-trained supervisors have the authority to order tests if they observe signs of drug or alcohol use by a truck driver.
  • Return-to-Duty Testing: When a company removes a truck driver due to drug or alcohol use, a return-to-duty test is mandatory.
  • Follow-Up Testing: Under specific circumstances, a truck driver may be required to undergo follow-up testing for up to five years.
  • Compliance with DOT Policies: All drug and alcohol tests must adhere to DOT policies and procedures.

Despite these stringent rules and procedures for commercial truck drivers, they do not entirely eliminate incidents of alcohol violations and drug use. Long-haul trucking can be mentally taxing, prompting some drivers to turn to substances like amphetamines and cocaine to combat fatigue and stay awake. However, these substances can lead to adverse effects such as hallucinations, agitation, hypertension, and erratic behavior, consequently increasing the risk of truck accidents, including rollovers and jackknife incidents.

What to Do if an Impaired Truck Driver Hits You

Here are the steps you should take after a truck accident:

  • Notify Law Enforcement: Immediately call 911 to report the truck accident. Law enforcement will document all pertinent details of the incident and determine if the truck driver violates alcohol limits or is under the influence of other substances.
  • Gather Evidence: Speak with witnesses and collect their contact information. Witnesses may provide crucial testimony in court to support your truck accident case. Additionally, take photographs of the accident scene, including images of vehicle damage and any injuries you sustained.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize your health and safety by promptly seeking medical care for your injuries. A medical professional will document all your injuries, creating valuable evidence for your personal injury claim.
  • Consult an Attorney: It’s essential to contact an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. It’s crucial to consult with a lawyer whose experience includes cases involving intoxicated truck drivers. Truck accident cases are complex, often involving multiple liable parties.

Stephenson Rife will identify all responsible parties and vigorously advocate for your compensation rights. Call us today at (317) 680-2350.

Who Is Liable for Damages Caused by an Impaired Truck Accident?

The responsibility for a truck accident involving a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol extends to the driver and the trucking company. If the company fails to adhere to drug and alcohol testing and treatment regulations, it may also bear liability for resulting damages. Negligent hiring and supervision practices often lead to trucking companies’ being held accountable for their actions.

Establishing liability in such cases can be a complex endeavor. Factors like causation, liability, and negligence in trucking accident lawsuits often involve intricate legal principles. As the plaintiff in a truck accident lawsuit, you bear the burden of proof.

Fortunately, our legal team is equipped to handle the investigation and all legal aspects of your injury claim. This allows you to focus solely on your recovery from your injuries, relieving you of the legal complexities involved.

Proving Drunk Driving in a Truck Accident

Our team of truck accident attorneys possesses extensive expertise in handling claims related to truck accidents. We are committed to securing the highest possible compensation for you, and to achieve this, we will diligently collect compelling evidence supporting your case. Key pieces of evidence we will actively seek include:

  • Photographs and videos capturing the accident scene or its aftermath
  • The official accident report
  • Statements from eyewitnesses who observed the incident
  • Medical or legal documents demonstrating any signs of intoxication or impairment
  • Employment records relevant to the truck driver
  • Data from the truck’s black box
  • Surveillance footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras
  • Driver logs detailing the trucker’s activities leading up to the accident
  • Statements provided by both you and the truck driver.

Additionally, drug tests undergone by truckers play a crucial role in your case. These tests screen for substances like marijuana, cocaine, PCP, opiates, and amphetamines; their results serve as pivotal evidence. We will promptly request and leverage these test results in building a robust case on your behalf.

How Do We Investigate a Truck Accident Due to Drug and Alcohol Abuse?

When you partner with a Stephenson Rife truck accident attorney, your primary focus will be on your recovery while we dedicate ourselves to securing your case. This involves a systematic approach:

  • Establishing Liability: Truck accidents often involve multiple parties at fault. While the truck driver bears responsibility, their employer may also be accountable. We conduct a thorough investigation to determine all liable parties and pursue damages accordingly.
  • Evidence Gathering: Substance-related accidents involving truck drivers are prevalent. To build a strong case, we obtain the police report, interview eyewitnesses, and collaborate with accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts to demonstrate the driver’s negligence in causing your injuries. Additionally, we scrutinize medical and police reports related to the driver’s drug and alcohol testing.
  • Filing the Claim: Time constraints apply to filing truck accident claims in Indiana. Victims have two years to file a personal injury claim. Given the swift accrual of medical bills, timely filing is crucial. Our attorneys ensure accurate and prompt claim submission.
  • Negotiating With Insurers: Insurance companies have a reputation for offering inadequate settlements. They employ tactics to minimize payouts. Our attorneys are adept negotiators with extensive knowledge of various insurance policies. We persist until a settlement favorable to you is reached.
  • Proceeding to Trial: We are prepared to pursue your claim in court when insurance companies resist providing fair compensation. We have the financial resources to see your case through until you get the compensation you deserve.

Possible Compensation for Truck Accidents

Following a truck accident in Indiana, you can seek financial compensation for your losses. These losses include both current and future expenses stemming from the accident. Our team of truck accident attorneys is dedicated to pursuing compensation that covers the following:

  • Medical expenses directly related to the truck accident
  • Costs associated with repairing or replacing your vehicle
  • Lost income during the period you were unable to work due to injury treatment
  • Projected future income loss if you are unable to return to work
  • Damages for pain and suffering.

A personalized evaluation of your case is essential to ascertain which of these or any other losses apply to your situation. We have the resources and expertise needed to assess the value of your case accurately.

Drug and Alcohol Truck Accident FAQs

What are the legal implications for a truck driver found under the influence of drugs or alcohol after an accident?

When a truck driver is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol following an accident, they can face criminal charges, fines, suspension or revocation of their commercial driver’s license (CDL), and potential imprisonment. Additionally, they may be held liable for civil damages.

Can the trucking company be held liable for a drug or alcohol-related accident in Indiana? 

If it can be proven that the trucking company was negligent in its hiring practices or failed to monitor and enforce drug and alcohol policies adequately, they may be held partially liable for the accident.

How is drug and alcohol testing conducted for truck drivers?

Truck drivers are subject to pre-employment, random, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing. These tests may include urine, breath, or blood tests.

Contact a Drug And Alcohol Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drug or alcohol-related truck accident, don’t wait to seek legal representation. Contact Stephenson Rife today for a free consultation. Our compassionate and skilled legal team is here to help you navigate the path to justice and recovery. Contact us at (317) 680-2350 for a free consultation.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, just to name a few. Mike is a proven advocate and trial attorney. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and has handled litigation in 18 states. [ Attorney Bio ]