Trucking companies can be held liable for hiring bad drivers:
Here’s a fact: most trucking companies have 100% driver turnover every year. That’s literally double the rate for the food services industry. That means that these companies spend a great deal of time in the hiring and training process for drivers. When they fail to do this properly and a driver causes an accident, victims can sue the company under a theory called “negligent hiring.” This article will explain how this works and give you an idea of what steps you should take if you think you’be been in an accident where negligent hiring may have been a factor.
Questions answered on this page:
- Why do trucking companies hire “bad” or “unqualified” drivers?
- What requirements do truck drivers need to meet in order to pass national standards?
- Are trucking companies liable for their drivers?
- How serious in this problem?
What is the law governing hiring practices of trucking companies?
Federal law reigns supreme in all aspects of trucking law, and it requires that trucking companies only hire drivers who are safety-conscious. How all that plays out is happens on a case by case basis. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require employers to maintain strict standards for their drivers. Drivers have to pass medical evaluations, background checks, and regulatory procedures that may have to be renewed every couple of years. Therefore, even if an employee passes all required procedures to become a commercial truck driver but then years later the employer fails to require the driver to maintain and pass the federal required tests in order to continue to remain a qualified driver, this would be a basis for a negligent retention action against the negligent employer.
The law generally expects commercial trucking employers to take the following reasonable steps in hiring drivers:
- Making sure they have the proper commercial driving license
- Providing proper certifications and training information
- Checking the driving history and for any past accidents
- Screening for medical history, drug use, or past criminal behavior
According to one survey, many safety directors believe that the “worst 10%” of drivers cause 50% of the accidents. Many of these 10% could be screened out if only their backgrounds were properly checked, but because of industry-wide corner-cutting, some do not in order to save themselves time and money, putting thousands of drivers on the road at risk every day. If it can be proven that one of these steps was not taken and a crash resulted, the employer could be sued for negligent hiring. What’s worse, sometimes our investigations reveal the trucking company did perform a background check, knew that the driver had a bad past, but still hired him anyhow. In some cases, this amounts to “gross negligence,” where your attorney can sue for even higher monetary compensation than normal.
Some examples of negligent hiring of truck drivers we’ve dealt with.
Our firm has been practicing law in this area for 25 years, and in that time, we’ve seen just about everything:
- A Texas trucking company hired a driver who’d had several DWIs and was known to still have an alcohol problem. He later drunkenly plowed into our clients’ car, killing several individuals.
- An out-of-state company failed to do a background check on a driver they brought on. 2 weeks later, he’d caused a serious accident. Had they done a background check, they’d have learned that the driver had a history of falling asleep at the wheel.
- An oilfield company hired a driver without performing a drug test. He soon thereafter caused a multiple-fatality accident in west Texas and was high on meth at the time.
In all of these cases, we’ve never come across a trucking company that acted out of malice in hiring terrible employees. Instead, they simply tried to cut corners to save time and money, or they wanted to “help a guy get a job” and looked the other way. Well, people died as a result, and the companies were all held financially responsible for the loss of life and misery left behind.
It’s time to get the right lawyers on your side.
At Grossman Law Offices, we are working every day to stop employer negligence. We know those who have been injured or who have family members that died due to negligent hiring want to make sure they help prevent these accidents from happening to other people. As soon as we are hired, we begin our investigation to gather as much evidence as we can so that you can get the highest amount of compensation for the suffering you’ve endured. It’s time for us to talk about what we can do for you and your family. Give us a call (toll free) at (855) 326-0000.
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