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Over-the-Counter Drug Use and Truck Accidents

Tractor-Trailer Crash Attorneys Representing Injured People in Chicago and Nearby Areas

Over-the-counter drug use by truck drivers remains a major cause of commercial truck accidents throughout Illinois. Accident victims can hold a negligent driver, and in some cases their employer, legally accountable for injuries resulting from an accident. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our Chicago truck accident attorneys have decades of experience representing accident victims in their personal injury claims against at-fault parties. Our approach centers on investigating all of the causes that contributed to an accident and setting forth clear evidence of the harm suffered by our clients. We appreciate the devastation that follows these types of crashes, including the physical, emotional, and financial stress. Our goal is to set forth a strong case for liability, entitling injured individuals and their families to recover maximum compensation under the law.

Over-the-Counter Drug Use Causes Truck Accidents

While illegal drug use by truck drivers is sometimes involved in causing crashes, drivers also often abuse over-the-counter medications or use them at high doses for unintended purposes. Over-the-counter drugs can impair the ability of any driver to safely maneuver their vehicle, but particularly in the case of commercial trucks, which can weigh 80,000 pounds. Victims of truck accidents caused by over-the-counter drug use have a right to file a negligence claim for damages.

In many personal injury claims, the abuse of over-the-counter medications will be deemed negligent if the victim shows that the driver’s decision to use the drugs directly led to the crash and the resulting injuries. The facts of each case are different; sometimes, truck drivers may be using a drug specifically to achieve a high. Other times, their use of a medication at high doses may have unintended but devastating results.

Certain over-the-counter medications may include ingredients such as dextromethorphan. This chemical, when taken in specific doses by truck drivers, can cause them to experience disorientation behind the wheel. Many cold and cough medicines include dextromethorphan, and some truck drivers use the drug specifically to achieve a high. Unfortunately, simply taking too high a dosage of an over-the-counter medication can also lead to extreme fatigue, a dangerous condition for someone operating a large vehicle.

All commercial truck drivers must undergo regular drug testing under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. The caveat is that the testing required by federal trucking regulations does not target over-the-counter medications but instead focuses on illegal drugs, such as cocaine, opiates, and marijuana.

Truck companies that knew or should have known of a truck driver’s substance abuse issues may be liable for resulting injuries caused by the driver. According to Illinois law, it would be necessary for the victim’s attorney to show that the company had knowledge of the driver’s drug use or should have been aware of the drug use, based on specific evidence. This could entail records showing that the driver had a history of abusing medications. The types of monetary damages that may be received after an accident caused by a truck driver’s use of over-the-counter medications range from emotional pain and suffering to property damage. Monetary compensation in a truck accident claim is intended to place the victim in the position in which they would be had the accident not taken place. Due to the size and weight of trucks, victims can suffer tragic harm and sustain high medical costs. These expenses, as well as future anticipated expenses, may be sought and recovered in a successful injury claim.

Understand Your Legal Options by Discussing Your Claim with a Chicago Lawyer

At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, it is our priority to fully investigate truck accidents in order to understand the causes of the collision and help our clients receive the compensation to which they are entitled. A negligent driver who abuses over-the-counter drugs and compromises their ability to safely maneuver a commercial truck in the Chicago area may be held legally responsible when they cause a crash. The lawyers in our office have helped people in Quincy, Rockford, Aurora, Champaign, Springfield, and other communities in Cook, Sangamon, Adams, Kane, and Winnebago Counties. To begin the process of understanding your legal rights after a serious or fatal crash, contact our office by calling 312-724-5846 or using our online form to schedule a free consultation.