Past Medical Conditions of the Truck Driver
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An Explanation on How Identifying the Truck Driver’s Past Medical Conditions Can Help Your Accident Claim or Lawsuit
The impression that many people have about 18-wheeler accidents in San Antonio, or the rest of South Texas, or for that matter the rest of the country is that they are caused strictly by a single momentary act of negligence of the trucker at the accident scene. However, we typically find that there are a variety of problems that culminate in an accident. If you have read many of our articles, you should know that the trucking company that employs the driver is capable of considerable negligence on its own part, as well. From the creation of a culture of negligence to ignoring basic matters, these outfits are more than capable of exacerbating or outright causing harm.
One way that trucking companies can fail in this regard is to ignore or neglect the past medical conditions of their employees. Sometimes, an otherwise competent big rig driver can succumb to health issues and may lose control of their vehicle. The driver could then lose control and hit another motorist’s car, killing or maiming that person in the process. Such negligence was completely avoidable if only the trucking company acted, so it is clear that not identifying past medical conditions can be hugely detrimental to the safety of every motorist on the road.
In this article, the attorney at our Law Offices would like to continue our series of discussing investigative techniques by going through the process of identifying prior medical conditions. There are many possible health issues, but the most major causes include:
Regarding issues relating to the whole range of conditions like these, we will examine not only what must be done to find out about how past medical conditions affect the driver, but ultimately how this research benefits your claim against a trucking company. Knowing about the circumstances behind your tragic personal injury or wrongful death claim is essential to victory, and will better prepare you for the tasks ahead.
Investigating the Past Medical History of a Trucker
In order for a legal representative to manage a case effectively, he or she must adequately dig into the medical past of the trucker involved in your Laredotrucking accident claim. When a trucking company hires a truck driver, it is required to conduct a background check on the driver, which includes speaking with the trucker’s previous employers. In the event that the driver was fired from a previous job due to health concerns, this phase of the current employer’s search should make this known to the employer. However, many trucking companies fail to do any type of background check at all.
In one case we litigated, a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a car, causing serious injuries to the vehicle’s occupants. As it turned out, the reason that the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel was because he suffered from sleep apnea, stemming from obesity. What ultimately led to his employer’s legal downfall was that we were able to prove that the defendant never bothered to ask why he was fired from his previous job. If they had, then they would have learned that he was fired because he had fallen asleep at the wheel several times in the past!
Since trucking companies are usually required to keep a record of both their attempts and successes at contacting these old bosses, your attorney should receive a healthy amount of contact information during discovery, which is the information-exchanging phase in a lawsuit. At this point, attorney will reach the former employers, claiming all relevant materials that could help their advocacy of your San Antonio 18-wheeler trucking accident lawsuit.
18 wheeler accident attorney in San Antonio and Laredo, Texas
From there, the investigation truly unfolds. Lawyers such as our own will be looking for the most necessary pieces of data, such as physicals. If it turns out that the driver had a documented history of poor health, as well as any pre-existing conditions, then it is clear that something major was overlooked by the trucking company. For more information, please read our discussion of DOT-mandated physicals.
Additionally, there may also be written correspondence between the past employer and another entity testifying to the driver’s unfitness to manage a large commercial vehicle. In your case, any “smoking gun” such as this could prove highly beneficial, but you will only be able to make the case for a failure to identify a past medical condition if this notice was about a trucker’s health. In one of our Law Offices’ past suits, we actually obtained a letter to the trucking company itself, explicitly warning them about the employee’s past. Because this was ignored, we were able to make a satisfying argument of negligence.
Even if neither of these identify negligence, then perhaps other pieces of information will. For example, if a truck driver has ever been taken to the hospital for a heart attack when he was simply sitting in the office of a motor carrier company, then why would his fitness to drive not be reevaluated? How could any business justify putting an epileptic in charge of a truck if he was observed as a frequent sufferer of seizures? In such instances, there are witnesses; and of these witnesses, we will do what we can to find them. The possibilities are endless, and the scenarios, many.
Finally, we should also gain access to records of any previous accidents, as well as their stated causes. If a past medical condition is included among these, then your claim will be much easier to win. For example, if the truck driver in question is an epileptic who had a known past of seizures while managing a carrier, it is all but required for the most current employer of that individual to take action.
How This Investigation Benefits Your San Antonio 18-Wheeler Lawsuit
Of course, any documentable information can be useful. For one, it is all too common for employers to let truckers with previous medical conditions drive on the road, posing a significant risk to every other motorist. Under the regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucking companies must make thorough background checks into the histories of their prospective employees. These demand inquiries into a trucker’s driving records in states where he or she was previously employed, as well as obtaining information from past employers. Should it be found that the trucking company involved in your San Antonio 18-wheeler accident lawsuit allowed a person with a history of physical unfitness to man one of its vehicles, it could be responsible for more than just your compensation, but also for breaking federal law. These two aren’t mutually exclusive: the FMCSA exists to regulate trucking companies and fleets, so if one of their rules is clearly violated, it will be read as an act of equally clear negligence.
In personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits such as yours, the standard that the jury must come to decisions demands a “preponderance of evidence.” Because this only requires that the plaintiff display a more credible account than the defendant, aforementioned “smoking guns” like failures on physicals or letters from past employers can tip the scales when we are litigating these matters. After all, how could a jury trust a trucking company that let a known physically unfit individual manage a huge, dangerous 18-wheeler?
The public is due protection through the identification of such debilitating conditions, and because the trucking company in your case failed to meet this duty to the public, a Laredo 18-wheeler accident lawsuit is completely justifiable.
How our Law Offices Can Help
Hopefully, our discussion of both investigating and using the past medical history of a trucker responsible for your 18-wheeler accident has informed you of what we do, as well as why we do it.
Of what we look for, you now know that the following pieces of information will be searched for:
Past employer records related to the driver
Physicals of the driver
Eyewitness accounts testifying against the driver’s fitness
Furthermore, you should also understand that our evidence can be used towards the following ends:
Assuring that the preponderance of evidence favors your claim over the defendant’s
Since you have taken the time to learn more about past medical conditions, feel free to browse through the rest of our website. If you have any more questions, or just want to begin looking into a lawsuit today, then reach us at our toll-free number of 1-800-256-7669. All consultation while on this line will be free of charge, as well as kept in the strictest of confidence, so reach us as soon as possible. Please find more information on this website @ http://thesnowlawfirm.com/san-antonio-truck-accident-attorney/