Drunk driving truck accidents in Columbia can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. When you are injured by a truck driver operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, an experienced truck accident attorney could advise you about your legal rights and how to recover compensation.
Truck accidents are not limited to 18-wheelers or semi-truck vehicles but can involve trucks used for a range of commercial purposes, such as delivery trucks, box trucks or tow trucks.
Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is illegal, but while the legal blood alcohol limit for most drives is 0.08 percent or more, Missouri Revised Statute § 577.012 stipulates the legal limit for drivers operating a commercial vehicle is 0.04 percent.
Even when a driver is not over the legal blood alcohol limit, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 577.010 generally prohibits driving a vehicle while intoxicated. The court can charge an individual in Columbia with a range of crimes from misdemeanors to felonies for drunk driving truck accidents, depending on the severity of their actions while driving impaired.
When a truck driver operating a vehicle while impaired acts with criminal negligence leading to a serious physical injury or the death of another individual, the court can convict them of a class C or D felony driving while intoxicated.
To prove negligence under state law for drunk driving truck crashes in Columbia, an injured person must show that the at-fault party had a duty of care. Truck drivers have a duty of care not to violate state law by operating a commercial vehicle while impaired by alcohol.
The injured party must show the at-fault party breached their duty of care. A lawyer could advise clients about the evidence necessary to establish a driver breached their duty of care by driving while intoxicated, such as police records.
The plaintiff must also establish the breach of duty was the cause of their injuries. Finally, they must have sustained actual damages or harm as a result of the breach.
In addition to negligence claims for personal injuries, surviving family members of an individual killed in an accident with a drunk truck driver can pursue a wrongful death claim under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.080. The statute allows surviving parents, siblings, children, and other family members to bring a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person.
The state has certain statutes that can impact personal injury claims from drunk truck driving accidents in Columbia. Under the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.765, a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages is limited when their negligence contributed to the accident at issue.
The court will reduce the plaintiff’s damages by their percentage of fault, meaning a plaintiff who is 50% responsible for their accident can only recover up to 50% of the damages sought. There is no cap on the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages even when the court rules they contributed a majority of the negligence that caused the crash.
Additionally, the state imposes a five-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, per Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.120. When the time to file a claim appears to have passed, an attorney could help determine if a possible exception applies. For example, the statute does not apply to minors injured in a drunk driving crash until they turn 21.
You should consult with the Law Office of Chris Miller immediately if you or a close relative were injured in drunk driving truck accidents in Columbia. The statute of limitations can prohibit your claim if you delay.
A lawyer could help you recover economic compensation, including lost wages and medical bills, and noneconomic compensation, such as pain and suffering. Contact us today.