Do You Have a Negligent Hiring or Retention Claim Against the Trucking Company for Causing Your Accident?
If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you need to hold all liable parties responsible in order to obtain the full amount you deserve. The reality is that the trucking company has much more liability insurance coverage than the negligent trucker who hit you. You will most likely need to file a claim against the trucking company as well as the trucker if you want to receive what you are owed.
Here’s something that’s often overlooked: one claim you may have against the trucking company directly is a claim for negligently hiring or retaining an unqualified truck driver.
What Is a Negligent Hiring Claim?
Trucking companies have a responsibility to use reasonable care in hiring truck drivers who are competent to drive an 80,000-pound truck and to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations regarding hiring truckers. If a trucking company has hired an incompetent or otherwise unqualified driver, an injured victim of a truck accident may have a negligent hiring claim against the company if this contributed or caused his injuries.
Before hiring someone, FMCSA regulations requires a trucking company to review the truck driver’s driving record and check his safety performance history with any Department of Transportation regulated employer for the last three years. The company must also actually contact the driver’s employers for the last three years to conduct an investigation, including into any accidents the driver was involved in and whether he failed any drug or alcohol tests.
In addition, the company must ensure the trucker meets FMCSA driver requirements. These include…
- Being at least 21 years old.
- Being able to read and write English sufficiently so that he can understand traffic signals and signs, complete necessary reports, and communicate with others during the course of his work.
- Having completed FMCSA required written and driving tests.
- Having a valid commercial driver’s license.
- Passing any pre-employment drug testing.
- Providing a medical certification verifying that he is qualified to drive a truck.
What Is a Negligent Retention Claim?
Some truck drivers may be competent when hired but later develop a poor performance record. This can include causing other accidents, receiving tickets for engaging in unsafe driving practices, alcohol and drug use, and many other reasons. Trucking companies have a duty to annually review a trucker’s driving record, the record of any violations of FMCSA safety or hazardous materials regulations, and the driver’s accident and traffic violation history. Whenever a trucking company knows—or should know—that a truck driver is not qualified to drive but allows him to continue to do so, it subjects itself to potential liability under a negligent retention claim.
Proving a trucking company is liable for your injuries in a truck accident due to negligent hiring or retention requires the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney who understands the FMCSA rules trucking companies must follow. If a family member or you was hurt in a truck accident caused by a negligent trucker, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options and the potential parties responsible for compensating you.
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