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Negligent Hiring Or Poor Driver Supervision
Truck Accident Lawyer Explains Trucking Company Liability
State and federal laws require trucking companies to practice due diligence when hiring and supervising commercial drivers to prevent trucking accidents. Commercial trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and they require extensive training and special licensing to operate. Drivers must demonstrate they have a history of safe driving and are medically able to operate these massive vehicles. However, many businesses in the trucking industry hire unqualified drivers to cut costs. In many cases, these companies know they can hire unqualified drivers for less money. They may fail to conduct background checks on drivers with unsafe driving histories. Trucking companies may also fail to properly train and supervise drivers. This kind of negligence can cause serious truck accidents and catastrophic injuries to other motorists.
Negligent hiring and supervision practices typically leave a paper trail. For example, trucking companies are required by law to maintain detailed files on a commercial driver’s history. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, our attorneys can help gather and preserve this crucial evidence. Truck accident lawyer Kathy McArthur and her team of experienced attorneys have recovered more than $250 million for injury victims in Georgia. If trucking company negligence caused your wreck, then we will find out and help you hold the company accountable.
Was My Truck Wreck Caused By Negligent Hiring?
During hiring, companies must conduct thorough background checks on new commercial drivers and ensure they have valid commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). These background checks can help identify applicants with histories of substance abuse, prior serious crashes or disqualifying medical conditions. Preemployment screenings should pull records from applicants, such as:
- DQ files: Driver qualification files (DQ files) could contain information on a driver’s prior work experience, license suspensions, crashes and moving violations. In addition, DQ files contain regularly updated Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examination certificates. Regulations also require companies to maintain current DQ files of drivers they employ.
- Substance abuse records: Trucking companies must conduct preemployment drug screening tests on applicants. In addition, companies may also pull drug test records from previous employers going back three years.
- Medical exam records: Trucking companies must hire medically qualified drivers. Certain health conditions pose a significant crash risk. For example, workers with untreated sleep apnea may be more likely to cause accidents due to drowsy driving. In other cases, medical conditions may disqualify drivers from holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
After a truck crash, an attorney can obtain these records and any other documentation concerning the driver and the trucking company. If there is evidence that a company employed drivers with histories of failed drug tests, disqualifying medical conditions or prior crashes, then this may constitute negligent hiring.
Additionally, trucking companies must keep detailed documentation on commercial drivers, such as DQ files or drug testing records. Missing documentation could also be a sign that the company did not practice due diligence during the hiring process. A qualified truck injury lawyer can work to secure this documentation or gather evidence that demonstrates it is missing. Your attorney can use this information to prove liability in your insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit.
Did Negligent Driver Supervision Cause My Truck Crash?
Not only are truck companies required to hire qualified drivers, but they must also properly supervise employees to ensure they act in the interest of public safety. Proper supervision can eliminate or minimize the risk of a truck wreck due to driver error. However, negligent supervision can occur when:
- Supervisors allow drivers to violate hours-of-service rules. Drivers must show compliance with hours-of-service by keeping logbooks that supervisors must monitor.
- Trucking companies fail to provide adequate training for new CDL drivers. New hires must receive training to recognize potential hazards and operate their vehicles. For example, drivers must know how to check tire pressure or properly secure loads from shifting before taking solo assignments.
- Failing to drug test drivers who caused accidents that result in injuries or deaths. Federal regulations require trucking companies to administer drug tests to a driver after a truck wreck.
- Companies continue to employ dangerous drivers. In some cases, companies may hire qualified drivers who then commit grievous violations during their employment. For example, a driver may test positive for a controlled substance after causing an accident. Employers who continue to allow drivers to operate a truck after a positive test like this are violating the law, as well as placing motorists at risk for truck crash injuries.
- Companies continue to employ individuals with health conditions that make operating a commercial vehicle dangerous. If drivers show signs of dangerous or disqualifying health conditions, such as alcoholism or sleep apnea, then the employer must investigate further and take appropriate action.
An employer could be liable for damages if an incompetent or unfit driver causes a truck crash. A truck injury lawyer can investigate both the driver and the company to determine if negligent supervision caused or contributed to your injuries or loved one’s wrongful death.
Injured In A Truck Wreck? Our Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help.
At the McArthur Law Firm, we can use our vast resources and years of experience to comb through every detail of your truck crash case. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover damages from multiple parties responsible for the truck wreck. Damages from a personal injury lawsuit could help pay for medical bills, lost income or funeral expenses.
Kathy McArthur and her team of Georgia attorneys will stop at nothing for your right to seek justice. Initial consultations are free, and you do not pay us anything unless we successfully recover compensation. For a free consultation, call 478-238-1150 or fill out our online case review form. We represent clients statewide, including residents of Atlanta, Albany and Savannah as well as Columbus and Augusta.