Obtaining Medical Information on Fatigue Truck Drivers | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Our Virginia and North Carolina truck injury lawyers have been involved in many commercial truck cases involving tractor-trailers, commercial trucks, commercial oversized vans, and other types of commercial vehicles that have caused serious personal injuries or deaths to our clients.

It is important in major truck injury cases to determine whether the commercial truck driver was properly rested and was otherwise medically healthy and able to safely operate a commercial vehicle such as a tractor-trailer or other commercial trucks. 

The Impact of Federal Laws

All interstate tractor-trailers and certain commercial trucks which operate in interstate commerce are typically required to follow a comprehensive set of federal regulations known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act Regulations (FMCSA).  A number of the federal regulations governing trucking require that drivers follow various safety and medical mandates.

For example, there are service hour requirements that say that truck drivers can only drive a certain number of hours per day and that they have a certain amount of rest per day.




Commercial interstate truck drivers must also have routine medical examinations, typically either annual or biannual, in order to maintain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). The CDL is required to operate in interstate commerce, under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These regulations are administered through the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT).

Our experienced truck injury attorneys will explore the medical examination history of a commercial truck driver through appropriate subpoenas issued in civil injury litigation.

How to Obtain Pertinent Medical Information on Truck Drivers?

We will try to obtain medical examinations, so we can establish that the truck driver was medically qualified to operate a commercial vehicle.  If we cannot obtain this voluntarily through the definitive discovery process from the truck driver or the trucking company, we will issue subpoenas for information to whichever medical practice handled the physicals for that truck driver.

The Role of Subpoenas

Depending on the circumstances of the case, we will subpoena the pharmacy records of a truck driver because the pharmacy records will not only show medications prescribed but will also show the doctors who prescribed them.  If appropriate, we will then issue subpoenas for the medical providers that provided such medication so we can learn more about the medical history of the driver.

Sometimes we will investigate past workers’ compensation claims made by a driver because that also could reveal pertinent medical history.

Also, of course, these medical records may not show whether illegal drugs were used in order to maintain and fight fatigue or simply because the truck driver used illicit substances.  There are other ways that we may be able to show that the truck driver used illegal drugs. There may be a hospital visit and evidence of illicit drug use in the hospital records. A careful evidence search can also lead to evidence of illegal drug use by truck drivers.

If you have questions relating to a commercial truck accident causing serious personal injuries or death, please contact any of our truck injury lawyers for a free and confidential consultation. At Shapiro & Appleton, our injury attorneys have represented numerous truck accident victims and have the legal expertise to handle these complex cases with positive results.