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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Exploring the other "Why" in Trucking Accidents: Trucker Health Issues



Last month, we focused on lack of sleep and fatigue leading to an impaired truck driver on the road. While fatigue is probably the leading cause of impairment in commercial truck drivers, untreated or unmanaged health issues can also lead to a dangerously impaired driver behind the wheel of an 80,000 lb. tractor-trailer.

Health issues have long been a concern of the trucking industry. As a result of the sedentary nature of the job, many truck drivers have serious and chronic health conditions that can affect their ability to operate a commercial vehicle, especially if the conditions are not properly treated or managed. When investigating the “Why” of an 18-wheeler case do not forget to explore the possibility of health issues as one of the reasons of why a wreck occurred.

Some of the common health conditions that can lead to an impaired driver include:
  • Untreated sleep apnea—leading to a fatigued driver
  • Uncontrolled diabetes—leading to a driver with altered mental status
  • Mismanaged high blood pressure—leading to a variety of issues including syncope (blacking out)
  • Lung or cardiac conditions—that can lead to a multitude of medical emergencies that can cause a wreck
The trucking industry has recognized sleep apnea as a pervasive condition throughout the industry that has contributed to an increased number of fatigued drivers on the road. There have been numerous studies about the effects of untreated sleep apnea on truck drivers and how this condition can lead to inadequate sleep. Make sure to inquire about not only pre-incident diagnosis and treatment, but post-incident diagnosis as well. We have found many times a wreck has led the driver (or even the company) to finally react to the previous signs of sleep apnea.

When exploring other chronic conditions as a causative factor of a wreck, consider subpoenaing the pharmacy records of the driver to see if they were filling prescriptions for medications necessary to control the condition. We have seen over and over, large gaps in the filling of blood pressure, diabetes and other medications for medical conditions that provide strong evidence of an impaired truck driver.

If it is possible to obtain a TRO or other “hold” on the cab of the truck, you may find a goldmine of evidence. We have found expired prescription bottles, prescriptions for conditions never disclosed before and other important evidence to aid in the proof of an impaired driver.

Obtaining medical records of a truck driver you suspect of being impaired by a medical condition is paramount. Many times this requires the use of an out of state subpoena which can be time and labor-intensive, but the results are often critical. The records may show the truck driver was warned of their condition and ignored the warning or recommendations for the treatment/management of the condition.

Below is clip from a case where we discovered the driver had been warned about having the symptoms of a serious cardiac/lung condition but failed to follow up with diagnostic testing and later “blacked out” while on the road but tried to blame the event on a coughing fit.



Miller Weisbrod handles tractor-trailer accidents resulting in serious injury and death all across Texas and the United States. We would welcome the opportunity to put our experience and resources to work for you and your clients through a variety of arrangements including referrals or joint ventures.   

 
  Les Weisbrod & Clay Miller
 









Miller Weisbrod is now reviewing and filing
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If you know someone that
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For more information 

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Learn about our firm's birth injury practice here:
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

18-Wheeler Wreck in Rockwall Shuts Down I-30.


ROCKWALL, TX (CBSDFW.COM) — Traffic was stopped at the Fate exit on Interstate 30 in the city of Rockwall due to a major accident that claimed the life of at least one person.

Texas Department of Public Safety Officials say two semi-trucks and four cars were involved in the wreck.

Kyle Bradford with DPS confirmed that at least one person died in the wreck. He said — according to a witness — traffic was slowing and one semi didn’t slow in time and slammed into another vehicle causing a chain reaction. He said the person who died was in one of the passenger vehicles.

Assistant Chief Simmons with the Fate Department of Public Safety said he could confirm two others victims were taken to the hospital. No word on the nature of their injuries.

A dispatcher with Bravo Logistics who owns one of the trucks involved in the accident said they were aware of the accident but had no report on the condition of the driver.

Traffic was being routed off the highway at FM 3549 according to reports.

A Texas Department of Transportation camera on the west side of Lake Ray Hubbard shows traffic backup across the Lake Ray Hubbard Bridge. The Texas DPS was assisting Fate DPS in the investigation.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, the experienced attorneys of Miller Weisbrod are ready to help. For a free case evaluation, contact us at 214-987-0005. #carwrecklawyers https://www.millerweisbrod.com