How "Negligent Training" Works Under Texas Law
In our continuing discussion on how negligence arguments work, we'll discuss below the concept of "negligent training" and how we use it to hold employers responsible for accidents their employees cause.
First, we'll look at the general principle and then apply it in common scenarios. But if you're new to this area of the law, make sure you also check out our helpful Guide to Personal Injury Laws as well.
What courts mean by "negligent training."
In general, negligence is the failure to live up to a reasonable standard of care. (You can read more about negligence in general here. In that vein, employers have a broad duty to ensure that each of their employees receives adequate training for the job that they have to perform. Some jobs involving technical or especially dangerous employment---like truck drivers, medical providers, and electrical workers---have some specific training mandated by state and federal laws and regulations. If an employer failed to require their employees to follow these minimal standards, that's clearly a strong argument that the employer didn't adequately train their employee.
For most jobs, though, there's no list of hours required for training or magic list of instructions to give before an employee is legally considered "adequately trained." Rather, a jury would have to examine the circumstances surrounding the employee's employment and level of instruction and help provided to him and make their own judgment.
The jury will look at two key factors:
- What the job entails: If an employee doesn't have access to dangerous implements, hazardous materials, and/or the general public, then his training will clearly need to be significantly different from someone who does. For example, a secretary in an office will need next to no safety training, whereas a man operating a bulldozer will.
- What actual training was done: It's the employer's job to see to it that its employees undergo sufficient training. We'll use the discovery process to find out exactly what was undertaken.
The jury will then weigh these factors in determining whether a "reasonable employer" would have done more or better training for the employee.
Scenarios in which employers are liable for negligent training.
Over the years, we've represented countless people who've been hurt by insufficiently-trained employees, or employees who themselves have been hurt as a result of improper training. Here are just a few:
- A truck driver is told by his boss to simply take caffeine pills and energy drinks when he got tired, rather than just pull over and take a break. 18-wheelers weigh 80,000 pounds. Exhausted drivers have no business being on the road. Eventually, the driver---who had sleep apnea---eventually fell asleep behind the wheel and caused a devastating accident.
- A food service worker had the responsibility of disposing of fryer oil at the end of the day. She was never instructed to cut the machine off prior to draining the oil. As a result, when she was trying to clean the machine, she was burned by oil over her entire hand.
- A processor at a chicken plant was on his second day on the job when his bosses decided it was time for him to take over a powerful cutting machine. With next to zero training, that day he accidentally cut off a fellow worker's hand.
You'll notice that either the employees in the above cases either didn't have enough training or had the wrong training for the specific job they were assigned to. Many cases aren't as clear as the above. As such, we normally hire expert witnesses who have experience in the field in which the accident happened. They then can explain to a jury what accepted industry standards are, what the employer in question did, and how that failed to meet minimally-adequate standards.
You need the right injury lawyer to prove negligent training.
The defendants will have high-priced lawyers on their side who won't give an inch without a fight. Don't make a mistake in hiring an attorney without our experience. We've been doing this kind of work for 25 years, and we'll fight hard for you. Call us now at (855) 326-0000.
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