Do Older Truck Drivers Pose a Risk on the Roads?
Given today’s economy, workers are retiring later and later. This is also becoming more and more true in the trucking business, where truck drivers who operate large tractor-trailers are doing so well into their fifties and sixties. Although some truck drivers’ abilities are not impaired as they age, others may stand a greater chance of causing an accident, due simply to age-related challenges and health concerns. When truck drivers cause accidents, it goes without saying that serious injuries and property damage can occur. If you have been the victim of a serious truck accident in Florida, the personal injury truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group can help you obtain monetary compensation for you in your case. Our attorneys can meet with you to discuss the facts and circumstances of your accident and can work with you to formulate a plan of action in your case.
Truck Driver Health Problems
As adults age, they oftentimes experience health problems or other conditions which can impair their abilities to drive safely on the road. This is especially true for truck drivers who operate fast and heavy vehicles on the roadway. In some cases, aging truck drivers are more prone to suffering a stroke, heart attack, or seizures while behind the wheel of a truck. Other serious medical conditions which can have an impact on a truck driver’s reaction time and ability to drive include the following:
- Muscle weakness and atrophy
- Vision problems
- Hearing deterioration
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
- Memory problems and cognitive deterioration
In order to obtain and keep a commercial driver’s license (CDL), drivers must undergo a medical evaluation and obtain medical approval from a doctor. The doctor must be able to state that the truck driver’s health is sufficiently good and that it is safe for him or her to operate a truck or tractor trailer on the roadway. If the older driver fails to meet these requirements – or if the trucking company continues to employ an aging driver who is not in proper health – then both the truck driver and the trucking company could potentially be on the line for negligence, in the event of an accident.
Roadway Dangers Associated with Large Trucks and Tractor-Trailers
In addition to health factors, older truck drivers must continue to keep in mind that tractor-trailers, big rigs, semi-trucks, and other large trucks weigh many tons and are able to travel at very fast speeds on Florida highways and other smaller roadways. When large trucks travel at highway speeds of 65 miles per hour or greater, a smaller vehicle does not stand a chance in a collision, and the results can be catastrophic. Truck drivers must also be sure to operate their vehicles in accordance with the Florida Motor Carrier Regulations.
Trucks are Fast Vehicles
Older truck drivers must also keep in mind that large trucks move faster than the average vehicle. When truck drivers break the speed limit in order to try and deliver their cargo to its destination faster than expected, they often receive a bonus or some other financial incentive. However, truck drivers still have an affirmative duty to drive reasonably and safely when they operate their vehicles on Florida roadways. When they fail to do so, they may be deemed responsible for any accidents and injuries that result.
Injuries Sustained by Truck Accident Victims are Oftentimes Severe and Catastrophic
While smaller-scale rear–end collisions and other minor accidents tend to result in only soft tissue injuries, truck accidents have the potential to bring about more severe and catastrophic injuries and damages. Serious injuries sustained in trucking accidents may include some or all of the following:
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s)
- Muscular Tears
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Permanent impairment
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lifelong disability
- Potentially Responsible Parties
In addition to proving negligence on the part of an aging truck driver, the injured accident victim may also have a legal cause of action against the trucking company based on an agency theory of liability. This is especially true if the trucking company continues to employ a truck driver who has a bad track record when it comes to causing motor vehicle accidents. The accident victim may also be able to sue the trucking company for negligent hiring, retention, or supervision of the truck driver.
Potential Damages Available to Truck Accident Victims
Upon successfully proving negligence on the part of an aging truck driver and/or the trucking company, the accident victim may be able to receive monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, psychological or psychiatric harm, loss of earning capacity, and loss of spousal support, among other types of damages. The breadth of available damages most often depends upon the seriousness of the accident and the nature and extent of the injuries sustained.
Contact a Clearwater Accident Attorney Today for a Free Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation
If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in a serious truck accident that was caused by a negligent or aging truck driver, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for all of your injuries and damages. Trucking companies have large and powerful insurance companies representing them, and these insurance companies will do everything in their power to limit their liability exposure in your accident case. This may even include issuing a liability denial or refusing to pay damages in your case altogether.
The Clearwater truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group know the tricks and tactics used by insurance adjusters to try and undervalue personal injury claims in truck accident cases. Our lawyers may be able to fight any liability disputes raised by the insurance company, negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf, litigate your case through the Florida court system, or take your case to trial before a jury, if necessary. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Clearwater truck accident attorney, please call us today or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756