Some Truck Drivers Knowingly Drive Tractor-Trailers with Serious Medical Conditions


January 09, 2013

A tragic semi-truck accident provides a frightening example of the consequences when a trucking company looks the other way and permits an 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor-trailer to be operated by a truck driver with a serious medical condition.

The federal Department of Transportation recently revoked a driver's commercial license after the driver's big-rig struck a state trooper who was performing his duties by the side of the road in Illinois.

The DOT deemed Johnny Felton Jr. "an imminent hazard" related to a medical condition that causes Felton to lose consciousness. The most appalling aspect of this tragedy is that the truck driver continued to take to the road even though he admitted at the scene of the accident that he was afflicted with a medical condition that causes periodic loss of consciousness. The trucking company claims that the driver had a valid card indicating that he was medically fit to operate a commercial big-rig.

While it may seem counter-intuitive that a medically unfit truck driver can continue to operate a big-rig, the process for keeping drivers with disabling medical conditions of the road is fairly lax. There are various ways that a truck driver who has serious medical conditions may remain on the road. The medical card could be expired or the driver could have provided false information to obtain the medical card. The standards for who may conduct a medical fitness exam and what the exam must cover are virtually non-existent.

In cases like these, the trucking company will try to shift all of the blame to the driver and distance the company from liability. The fact that the trucking company has already claimed that the driver had a valid medical card indicates that the commercial carrier is already moving in this direction. It is important to have an experienced Georgia trucking accident attorney represent you to deal with strategies like these. The trucking company will claim that they conducted a proper screening prior to hiring the driver, verified that he had been deemed medically fit and possessed no prior evidence that alerted the company of the danger.

When trucking companies attempt to deflect responsibility for such tragedies, it is important to have an experienced semi-truck accident attorney who can uncover evidence that should have put the trucking company on notice that it was unsafe to entrust this driver with a massive tractor-trailer. Experienced big-rig attorneys can also explore alternate theories of liability for imposing liability on the commercial carrier. This can be important because the trucking company will have more insurance from which to pay a trucking accident settlement or judgment than the driver of the vehicle.

Our Georgia trucking accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Truck Accidents

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