Birmingham Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Use Accident Lawyers
Whenever a truck driver gets behind the wheel after taking drugs, they put other people on the road at risk of serious injury. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause just as much harm as illegal narcotics or alcohol. Even seemingly harmless medicine like an allergy pill could inhibit a driver’s ability to concentrate and react quickly to danger.
If a truck driver had prescription or OTC drugs in their system and caused your motor vehicle crash, as a result, let Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP uphold your legal rights. We understand the pain you’ve endured and how expensive medical treatment can become. We’ll work hard to get you the financial compensation you need to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
We’ll remain by your side to fight for justice and hold the truck driver responsible for their actions. Call us today at (205) 324-1212 to schedule a free consultation with our award-winning attorneys.
Common Prescription and OTC Drugs That lead to Truck Accidents
Any substance that interferes with someone’s mental and physical abilities could make driving more dangerous. Unfortunately, most people don’t think OTC and prescription medicines pose any kind of risk to drivers. They believe a legally obtained prescription or medication that’s available without authorization can’t affect a driver’s judgment or coordination.
The reality is that many of these drugs have a range of side effects, such as:
- Slowed reaction time
- Impaired coordination
- Reduced sensory perception
- Decreased motor skills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor decision-making abilities
The most common over-the-counter and prescription medications truck drivers take that lead to an accident include:
- Allergy medicine
- Sleep aid
- Cough syrup
The risk of a severe accident increases when combining any of the drugs above with each other, alcohol, or illegal substances. Anything that alters somebody’s mind, body, and senses could create a dangerous situation.
When you’re behind the wheel of your car, always pay attention to your surroundings. If you notice a truck driver driving erratically, swerving, or doing something hazardous, pull over and let them pass. Try to maintain distance between your vehicles so you can avoid crashing into them if they get into an accident with someone else.
Pursuing Legal Action After a Truck Driver Collides With Your Car
If you were the victim of a truck or tractor-trailer accident caused by a driver with OTC or prescription drugs in their system, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against them. Alabama follows a traditional fault system. That means the person who causes an accident automatically becomes financially responsible for the resulting injuries and damages.
You could file a claim with the at-fault trucker’s liability insurance company. All motorists must carry auto insurance with minimum liability limits that cover bodily injury, property damage, and other associated costs. Since commercial trucks have the potential to cause more devastation than a compact car, truck drivers usually carry higher liability coverage. The average limit is about $750,000 for a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds carrying non-hazardous materials. Anyone transporting hazardous materials must have $5 million in liability insurance.
When you get hurt in an accident, you might incur two categories of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are the expenses associated with an injury, while non-economic damages are the physical and emotional suffering endured.
Common damages victims of truck accidents pursue include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Disfigurement or disability
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP will review all of your damages to determine a fair number to demand from the insurance company. We’ll submit relevant evidence that proves you sustained injuries in the accident and the truck driver was responsible. When we’re performing our investigation, we’ll gather evidence, such as:
- Vehicle crash report
- Security camera footage
- Accident scene photos
- Eyewitness statements
- Your medical records
- Truck driver’s medical history
- Car repair estimates and bills
We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to negotiate for a full and fair insurance settlement. If the insurance company refuses to settle your case, we can file a lawsuit and take them to court. We never back down from a fight and won’t give up until you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
When someone chooses to drive, even though there are clear warning labels that the medication could cause drowsiness or other adverse effects, that’s a form of negligence. Negligence is a legal theory that someone’s failure to provide a duty of care that any reasonable person would under similar circumstances harmed another person.
To prove the truck driver was negligent in causing your accident due to the OTC or prescription drugs in their system, you must show the following five elements existed:
- Duty: The truck driver owed you a duty of care to prevent you from injury;
- Breach of duty: They failed to meet their duty by ingesting medication that impairs driving abilities;
- Cause in fact: If it wasn’t for their breach of duty, you wouldn’t have suffered harm;
- Proximate cause: Their actions and nothing else was the direct cause of your injury; and
- Damages: You incurred damages from the accident.
The Role of Contributory Negligence in Recovering Compensation
It’s crucial that you don’t admit any degree of fault for the truck accident. Even if you believe your actions might have contributed somehow, don’t readily offer this information to the other driver, insurance adjuster, or anyone else. Just provide the facts of the accident. The only time you might be required to admit shared fault is if you’re testifying in court or providing a statement to the insurance company under oath.
Alabama follows a contributory negligence rule prohibiting accident victims from recovering compensation if they’re even the slightest bit to blame for a vehicle crash. In other words, let’s say a jury determines the truck driver was 95% at fault because they consumed OTC or prescription drugs before getting behind the wheel. They also decided you share 5% blame because you were texting. Even though the truck driver shares most of the responsibility, you wouldn’t be entitled to a financial award for your damages.
Filing A Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Truck Driver
If you want to file a lawsuit against the truck driver, you can. There’s a strict deadline known as a statute of limitations you must follow to sue someone in the civil court system. In Alabama, the statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents is two years. That means you have two years from the crash date to file a lawsuit against the liable driver for compensation.
In most instances, accident victims will move forward with a lawsuit against the at-fault party if the insurance company denies the claim or provides a settlement offer much lower than they deserve.
Besides pursuing economic and non-economic damages, you could also seek punitive damages in a lawsuit. Instead of compensating you for your losses, it punishes the at-fault party for their actions and attempts to deter similar misconduct in the future. To win this rare financial award, you must provide the jury with clear and convincing evidence that the truck driver acted with deliberate ill will or malice.
What Should I Do If My Loved One Died in a Truck Accident?
If you lost your loved one because a truck driver had prescription or OTC drugs in their system and caused an accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Alabama, the definition of wrongful death is the death of one person caused by another’s omission, wrongful act, or negligence.
Many states allow surviving family members to pursue a wrongful death case; however, Alabama laws only give the personal representative of the deceased’s estate the ability to pursue civil action. There’s a two-year statute of limitations to file, so you must act fast and determine who the personal representative is so you can ensure they sue the truck driver by the deadline.
Unlike most traditional wrongful death lawsuits, you can’t seek compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. In Alabama, you can only sue for the recovery of punitive damages. If you win this form of compensation, it would go directly to the deceased individual’s heirs instead of towards the estate.
At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, we understand the trauma you experienced after the truck accident. You suffered injuries, financial strain, and emotional pain. While you’re trying to recover, the last thing you want to do is handle a legal case. That’s where we come in. We’ll take care of everything on your behalf and keep you updated on our progress.
When you hire us, we’ll be by your side to walk you through the procedure and offer support and guidance. You can depend on us to be there for you during this devastating ordeal. Our Birmingham truck accident attorneys will fight assertively to seek justice and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.
If you were the victim of an over-the-counter or prescription drug truck accident in Birmingham, call Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP at (205) 324-1212. We’ll be happy to meet with you for a free consultation and discuss the details of your case.