Although trucks provide an invaluable service to our economy and thus our everyday lives, they can prove enormously dangerous when improperly driven. The massive size of these rigs can crush passenger vehicles, causing devastation to those inside. Oftentimes, these victims have to deal with catastrophic injuries that upend their lives and redefine their future. This is unfair and unacceptable.
These victims do have options to try to alleviate their damages, though. One option is to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. In order to succeed on one of these claims, a victim has to show that the trucker in question acted negligently and that negligence caused the accident and injuries in question. While intoxication, distraction, and fatigue can all play a role in truck accidents, there’s another all too common issue: untreated medical conditions.
Under federal regulations, truckers are not allowed to drive if a medical condition affects their ability to safely operate their vehicles. Yet, there are not regulations that speak directly to specific medical conditions. Instead, the regulations appear to operate on some sort of honor system.
Take sleep apnea as an example. This medical condition obstructs an individual’s airway during sleep, causing him or her to wake up as many as 400 times a night. This can lead to extreme drowsiness, which can be deadly when paired with driving a truck. But truckers don’t have to undergo any testing for sleep apnea, and they only need to provide medical documentation that they are being treated for the condition before they can be cleared to drive.
There are a number of medical conditions that can render a trucker unsafe for driving purposes. If one of these truckers climbs behind the wheel of his or her rig and causes a truck accident, then victims may be able to use evidence of the medical condition to impose liability and hopefully recover compensation. The process is often aggressively contested, though, which is why it is often best to address these matters with a skilled legal advocate by one’s side.