Padilla Law Group, LLP

Should a long-haul trucker with PTSD be on the road?

Approximately 3.5 million people here in the United States drive big rigs for a living. Around one-third of them won't finish their time behind the wheel without being involved in at least one serious wreck. Anyone who has ever been in a serious accident knows that you can't walk away from it unscathed -- at least mentally.

This means that approximately one million truck drivers live with the trauma associated with the crash and its aftermath. This doesn't even include accidents that they may see or narrowly escape in their travels.

Can't truck drivers just get some help?

The vast majority of truck drivers are men, and they generally do not seek out help with emotional or mental issues as often as women do, so they probably don't get the help they need -- perhaps because they don't feel they need it. Sadly, even if they did feel they needed some help processing the things they see, it may be difficult to get it due to their schedules. Long-haul drivers spend a great deal of time away from home, so access to help isn't always possible.

Some may seek support through social media while on the road, which may help keep the nightmares at bay. It may still take some time to stop reacting to another vehicle moving in a particular way, passing scenes of a former accident they witnessed or were involved in and more.

Making matters worse is that their schedules may force them to drive faster and come right up against their maximum hours of service. In other cases, they simply have nowhere to stop when they need to, so they are forced to keep driving until they find a place to stop and rest.

These factors make drivers more dangerous

Fatigue, trauma triggers and post-traumatic stress disorder make a bad combination when it comes to maintaining control of a vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds, has 18 wheels and is several feet longer than the largest passenger vehicle. If you encounter a truck driver suffering from these issues, you could find yourself suffering serious injuries in a crash.

You may discover the truck driver suffered from PTSD and failed to obtain the care that may have prevented the crash in your pursuit of compensation for your financial losses and other damages. If this and other factors such as exhaustion led to your crash, then you may use any appropriate evidence you discover to prove to a California civil court that negligence led to your losses.

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