Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) March 18, 2013 – Truckers are in high demand. Trucking companies are not doing enough checking on hiring to ensure drivers are safe.
“This accident happened when a 32-year-old State Trooper was hit by a semi as he was standing on the shoulder of a highway. As it turned out, the truck driver had a medical condition that made him unfit to drive,” explained Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.
The trooper was in the middle of a traffic stop on the Interstate. The trucker, hauling a tractor trailer, was barreling down the road with a load of food products on board for DOT Foods. The truck swerved and hit the officer. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. His wife chose to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The suit states, in part, that the trucking company, DOT Foods, acted negligently by allowing the trucker to drive when he was not fit to do so. He evidently had a medical condition that caused him to lose consciousness and black out, thus losing control of the truck.
“The questions that need to be answered are whether or not the trucking company knew the man was unfit to drive, and whether or not they even took the time to check his medical history,” said Schuelke. If they had checked his medical history, they may have discovered he had a condition that would keep him off the road in any vehicle, but more so a big rig.
The major issue underlying this case is that the trucking industry is in a bind trying to find enough drivers to haul various products. As a net result, cross-country drivers carrying commercial driver’s licenses are in high demand. Making sure those drivers are healthy and safe would cost the industry too much money, which means unsafe truckers are put out on the roads in control of a very large and deadly vehicle.
“When an industry is driven by the bottom financial line,” Schuelke said, “the safety of their employees and others, often comes in last.”
But for a trucker that had not been vetted medically, a young police officer was killed in the line of duty. Will this case win in court? “The plaintiff’s attorney will need to show that because the trucking company did not check the man’s medical record, they let an accident looking for a place to happen drive for them. With the anecdotal evidence about the industry taking anyone with a pulse and the right type of license, the plaintiff is likely to have a favorable outcome,” added Schuelke.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944