Truckers must pass routine physicals to reduce the risk of a medical condition causing a truck accident
Have you ever wondered what happens when a medical problem such as a heart attack or seizure causes a driver to have a car accident? Can the injured parties sue the driver for their damages? In most cases, the answer is no—due to the “sudden medical emergency” defense.
Under the sudden medical emergency defense, a driver is not liable for damages when an unforeseen medical emergency makes them cause a car accident. However, if a driver has a condition that is reasonably likely to affect their driving and create the risk of an accident, and they decide to drive anyway, the sudden medical emergency defense may not apply. Instead, the driver may be found negligent for getting behind the wheel when they knew their medical condition posed a risk.
Truck Drivers Held to a Higher Standard
Unlike private drivers, truck drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to their physical and mental fitness for driving. Truckers must pass a physical exam in order to receive their CDL for the first time and to renew it every two years. Frequent physicals help to screen out individuals with health concerns that may pose a risk while driving and decrease the likelihood of truly unforeseeable medical emergencies.
Aging Truckers May Have Medical Conditions Affecting Safety
Age, along with the physical and mental rigors of the job, can put truck drivers at risk for a variety of medical conditions that can affect their ability to drive safely:
Vision and Hearing Loss: By age 60, one in every six adults will have some degree of vision and/or hearing loss, according to the CDC. Impaired night vision is a particular concern for long haul truck drivers.
Heart Disease: Truck driving is a sedentary job, which can contribute to problems with high blood pressure. The truck stop diet of greasy fast food can contribute to cholesterol problems. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are both risk factors for heart attacks.
Diabetes: Many older adults are at risk for diabetes, particularly if they are overweight—as truckers tend to be. If blood sugar is not properly controlled, diabetics can suffer shock, seizures, comas, or even death.
Have You Been Injured By a Truck Driver?
If a truck driver suffers a medical emergency and causes you to get injured in a truck accident, don’t automatically assume the “sudden medical emergency” defense will apply. Instead, contact an experienced attorney from The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker for advice. We can help you understand your rights and seek maximum compensation for your injuries and suffering. You can reach us at 800-333-0000.