Imagine what would happen if a trucker suffered a medical emergency while driving a large truck. The trucker could lose control of the vehicle and cause a catastrophic truck collision that hurts or kills not only the trucker but also other motorists and passengers who are close by.
In order to prevent this kind of crash, the United States Department of Transportation requires that commercial drivers have a physical examination by a licensed medical examiner at least as often as every two years, but potentially more frequently at the discretion of the medical examiner.
What Is the Medical Examiner Looking For?
There are specific medical conditions that the doctor or other medical examiner is looking for and the examiner must report on before a commercial driver is cleared for work. Specifically, the medical examiner may be concerned about the conditions that the trucker must self-report on the health history part of the medical examination report. These conditions include:
- Head or brain injuries or illnesses.
- Seizures or epilepsy.
- Eye problems.
- Ear or hearing problems.
- Heart problems including heart disease, heart attacks, bypass, pacemaker, stents, and other implantable devices.
- High cholesterol.
- High blood pressure.
- Breathing problems including chronic cough or shortness of breath.
- Lung problems.
- Kidney problems.
- Stomach, liver, or digestive problems.
- Diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and nervousness.
- Fainting or passing out.
- Dizziness, headaches, numbness, or memory loss.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Stroke, mini-stroke, paralysis, or weakness.
- Missing or limited use of an arm, hand, finger, leg, foot, or toe.
- Neck or back problems.
- Bone, muscle, joint, or nerve problems.
- Blood clots or bleeding problems.
- Chronic infection or disease.
- Sleep disorders.
Additionally, drivers must answer questions about insulin use, sleep tests, whether they have ever spent a night in a hospital, whether they have ever broken a bone, whether they use or have used tobacco, whether they drink alcohol, whether they have used an illegal drug within the last two years, and whether they have ever failed a drug test or been dependent on drugs.
These conditions will not always prevent a trucker from driving, but they will be relevant to the medical examiner’s finding of fitness.
Were You Hurt by a Trucker Suffering a Medical Emergency?
An investigation will need to be done to determine who is liable for the accident that resulted in your injuries. The potential defendants in your truck accident case could include:
- The trucking company. If the trucking company failed to require the trucker to have the required medical exams or if the trucking company did not carefully review the exam results, then the trucking company could be liable for your injuries if you were hurt by a trucker who caused the crash due to a medical issue.
- The trucker. If the trucker wasn’t truthful during the medical exam or if the trucker had health symptoms that he ignored, then the truck driver could be responsible for your accident injuries.
If you've been injured in a truck accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 to schedule a free consultation.