When a commercial truck is involved in an accident, the focus is almost always on the driver. In many cases, however, it is important to dig into the events surrounding the incident, especially the freight company’s hiring practices. Government safety inspections carried out in 2021 uncovered roughly about 42,000 drivers who were operating commercial trucks without valid Commercial Driver’s Licenses. While the individual facts of each instance were not published, it is likely safe to assume that no proper vetting was done making these negligent hires. The negligent hiring of truck operators can contribute significantly to the frequency and severity of accidents. Before you can take legal action you will have to prove that the truck driver lacked the necessary skills or qualifications to safely operate a commercial vehicle. If you were injured in a commercial trucking accident, the experienced Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. Call us today to schedule your free case review.
What is Negligent Hiring?
Negligent hiring occurs when an employer fails to take due care during the process of hiring a new employee. In other words, they either inadvertently or knowingly hire someone who poses a danger to others. In the context of the commercial trucking industry, negligent hiring can involve hiring a truck operator with a bad driving record, a history of driving under the influence, a history of accidents, citations for failing to obey federal safety regulations, or insufficient training or qualifications. When a freight company fails to properly vet potential employees and ensure that it hires qualified truck drivers, they are jeopardizing the safety of others.
How Can I Prove That Negligent Hiring Occurred?
Proving that the freight company’s negligent hiring practices caused or contributed to your truck accident is a complicated task. There are multiple factors that have to be considered when evaluating whether negligent hiring played a role in your accident:
Improper or No Background Checks
Did the freight company neglect to conduct comprehensive background checks that included references, past employment verification, and criminal history? If so, then crucial information was not revealed during the hiring process. This may indicate negligent hiring.
Accident History and Driving Record
Did the freight company hire a truck operator with a history of accidents, traffic citations, or other driving-related violations? Negligent hiring could be established if the driver’s employer failed to take this information into account.
Lack of Training and Qualifications
Did the truck driver have the necessary training, licenses, and other qualifications required to perform their job safely? Negligent hiring could be proven if the freight company chose to hire a truck driver who lacked proper training or failed to meet the industry standards.
Disregarding Warning Signs
Did the freight company ignore any obvious red flags during the hiring process? For example, if they had a documented history of alcohol or drug abuse, that could be considered negligent hiring.
What Legal Recourse Do I Have?
If you suspect that a freight company’s negligent hiring practices played a role in your commercial truck accident, consulting with a qualified Virginia Beach truck accident attorney who specializes in these types of cases is essential. They can review the details of your crash and help you determine the best course of action for pursuing compensation.
Based on the circumstances of the accident, you could be eligible for financial compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and numerous other damages arising from your accident.
To prevent serious truck accidents resulting from negligent hiring, the industry needs to make responsible hiring practices a priority. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Requirements include conducting thorough background checks, confirming driving records, licenses, and qualifications, implementing training programs, and obeying all state and federal regulations.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
While the actions of the truck driver are usually the focus of a truck accident investigation, it is vital to examine the freight company’s hiring practices as well. The experienced Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have decades of combined experience in handling complex truck accident cases and overcoming the unique challenges they often present. That determination is what enabled us to secure a $2.4 million settlement for the family of a man who was killed by a negligent truck driver. If you were injured in a collision involving a commercial truck, schedule a free case review by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our online contact form. For your convenience, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Hampton, Norfolk, and Chesapeake.