Negligent Hiring Practices That Cause Truck Accidents
Many people who suffer injuries in truck accidents tend to blame the driver. In many cases, a trucker’s negligence is indeed a primary cause of the crash. However, accidents involving commercial trucks often have complicated layers of liability. Sometimes, trucking companies themselves can be held responsible for a crash. They may be liable in cases where the company has shown poor judgment or negligent hiring practices that caused the truck accident as a result of employing unqualified truck drivers.
If you were injured in a truck accident in New York that was caused by negligent hiring practices, Hach & Rose, LLP can help. Our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers can investigate the trucking company to determine whether negligent hiring practices might have been a factor in the accident that caused your losses.
Truck Driver Hiring Regulations
All employers must exercise reasonable care when making hiring decisions. However, when a company’s employee is charged with operating a large commercial vehicle, they have even more reason to be particularly careful about whom they choose to employ. Both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require companies to perform strict checks on potential employees’ backgrounds and their health and wellness. They must also keep strict records about their workers.
Applicable regulations include:
- All drivers must hold a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Those convicted of a criminal offense, such as drunk driving, are disqualified from driving a commercial truck
- Drivers must not have a significant history of hours of service (HOS) or other safety violations
- Drivers must submit to drug testing and criminal background checks
In addition, trucking companies must maintain a driver qualification profile for all employees. Required documents include:
- The employee’s job application
- References and information from former employers
- An annually updated copy of their driving record
- Road tests and certificate
- A certificate from a medical examiner
- If applicable, a waiver that permits them to drive after an amputation
Additionally, the FMCSA offers a Pre-Employment Screening Program that allows trucking companies to access information about an applicant’s driving history and any safety violations they may have had.
The DOT and the FMCSA have these regulations and programs in place as a way of helping trucking companies employ safe drivers and identify individuals who may potentially be negligent or reckless on the road.
What Is Negligent Hiring?
Negligent hiring is a legal claim that arises when an employer has made an irresponsible or reckless hiring decision that has led to injuries and other losses. Proving your negligent hiring claim will require you to demonstrate that the trucking company did not use reasonable care when they hired the driver responsible for your injuries. Useful evidence might include proof of the following, for example:
- Failing to conduct compulsory drug and alcohol testing
- Hiring a person who did not have a valid CDL
- Hiring a person without a valid DOT medical certification
- Ignoring a history of serious safety and regulatory violations
- Failing to perform necessary background checks on employment candidates
- Ignoring a serious criminal record
If the trucking company has been negligent in any of these ways, and this negligence caused a crash that led you to suffer losses, you may be eligible for compensation from a negligent hiring claim.
Negligent Retention and Supervision
While trucking companies must exercise reasonable care in their hiring practices, this is not where their duty of care ends. They must also conduct regular training, check their employees’ driving records and logbooks, and ensure that their drivers remain medically fit to operate a commercial vehicle safely. A trucking company that ignores an employee’s patterns of negligent driving or DOT violations may be responsible for negligent retention or supervision.
Trucking companies have a legal obligation to protect the public from drivers who are risks to their safety. When drivers ignore safety regulations or have serious medical issues affecting their ability to operate a truck, their employers must take action to keep the public safe. If a trucking company fails to take reasonable care to identify unsafe employees and an injury occurs, the company might owe the injured party compensation for their losses and suffering.
Filing a Negligent Hiring Lawsuit
After you consult with your truck accident attorney, they will investigate the circumstances of the accident that led to your injuries in order to determine liability. Typically, this investigation will look into the driver’s actions and the trucking company’s hiring and employment practices. In many cases, both the trucker and their employer’s negligence have contributed to your injuries and losses.
In many cases, the insurance company might attempt to deny your claim against the trucking company. They will try to argue that the driver was an independent contractor or self-employed as a way of dodging liability for the accident. However, an experienced truck accident lawyer can often demonstrate that the trucking company had sufficient control over the driver’s hours, workload, and route to deem them liable for the trucker’s actions.
If our NYC truck accident lawyers find evidence that the driver was unfit to operate a commercial truck and that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to correct the issue, you may be eligible to file a claim against the company and the driver.
Contact an Experienced New York City Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, you deserve compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages due to missed time at work, and pain and suffering. The New York personal injury lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP will investigate the accident to determine who is responsible for your losses. We will do everything we can to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you will not owe us any fees unless and until we recover a financial award on your behalf.