Over-the-Counter Drug Use and Truck Accidents
Over-the-counter drug use is a leading cause of truck collisions throughout North Carolina and the U.S. Impaired truck drivers who operate a heavy commercial vehicle and cause a collision may be held legally responsible for the resulting harm. In some situations, their employer may also be liable. At Nagle & Associates, Raleigh truck accident lawyer Carl Nagle brings decades of experience to his victim advocacy. By relying on documented evidence of wrongdoing, we have successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of injured individuals and their families statewide, including in Winston-Salem, Wilmington, and Asheville.
Mr. Nagle formerly worked as an insurance claims adjuster and insurance defense attorney, and he understands the importance of presenting a strong case for compensation on behalf of truck accident victims. Our approach to catastrophic injury lawsuits centers on comprehensive medical and vocational evidence. We document the impact of a truck accident upon a victim in all forms, including the emotional and physical repercussions that extend into the future.
Over-the-Counter Drug Use May Cause Negligent Driving and Lead to Truck Accidents
Over-the-counter drugs may seriously impair a trucker’s ability to safely operate a fully loaded semi-truck, which may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Commercial drivers are required to submit to drug testing as part of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards. However, this drug testing program fails to account for over-the-counter medications, focusing instead on illicit methamphetamines and amphetamines, as well as cocaine, opiates, marijuana and other illegal drugs.
As a contributing factor of truck crashes involving passenger vehicles, over-the-counter drug use is not necessarily more benign than using illicit drugs. Many over-the-counter medications are taken for unintended purposes and in doses that exceed the instructions. For example, an active ingredient in cold and cough medicines, dextromethorphan, when taken in doses above those prescribed, may cause lightheadedness and other disorientation. Dextromethorphan is often used to achieve a high, and is intentionally taken in high doses.
To fight fatigue caused by strict delivery schedules, some truck drivers combine over-the-counter medicine with energy-boosting pills or energy drinks. The chemicals in these products may lead to adverse effects when taken in high doses or combined with other medications. Even commonly used prescriptions, such as opioid pain-relievers, may cause drowsiness, which may impair a truck driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
Victims of truck collisions who suspect over-the-counter drug use have a right to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver. Additionally, the trucking company may be legally responsible for failing to address a driver’s substance abuse problem. However, it is critical for victims to prove that the accident was entirely the fault of the driver or the trucking company. Under North Carolina law, if the collision was partly caused by the plaintiff’s conduct, theywill not recover damages in their personal injury claim.
As part of an investigation into a trucker’s reckless drug use, the victim may request that the truck driver be tested for over-the-counter drugs. In some cases, a court order may be required to check for the presence of drugs. Further, a properly conducted deposition coupled with a request for production of the truck driver’s personal medical records can unearth proof that the truck driver was taking some combination of over-the-counter or prescribed medication which impaired driving ability. The trucking company may also be ordered to preserve its drug and alcohol records for the defendant driver in a personal injury claim, since these records may point to prior substance abuse. Investigating evidence of over-the-counter drug impairment may also involve looking at medication receipts.
If a driver’s use of over-the-counter medications impaired their ability to safely operate the vehicle and led to an accident, the victim may recover damages. These damages are monetary compensation designed to put the victim in the position in which they would be had the accident not occurred. Expenses for medical bills and anticipated future medical care may be recovered from an at-fault driver. If a victim can no longer earn their pre-accident wages, they may recover these missed earnings from work.
Explore Your Legal Options with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Raleigh or Beyond
At Nagle & Associates, we investigate truck accidents to determine their cause and then help clients pursue maximum compensation from any responsible parties. When a driver’s over-the-counter drug use affected their ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle and ultimately led to a crash, we can hold them legally accountable. As a Raleigh truck accident attorney, Mr. Nagle is skilled in negotiation tactics and can demonstrate the true extent of harm on behalf of injured individuals. If needed, Mr. Nagle has the crisp litigation skills necessary to advance a victim’s arguments in court and seek compensation from commercial truck drivers and companies. Since we prioritize the needs of our clients, Nagle & Associates charges a reduced legal fee that allows our clients to walk away with a larger share of their recovery. Our team has helped people in Raleigh, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Asheville, Hickory, Greensboro, Charlotte, and other areas of Forsyth, Wake, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Durham, Cumberland, Catawba, and New Hanover Counties. To begin discussing your situation with a tractor-trailer crash attorney, contact us online or call (800) 411-1583 to set up a free consultation.