In some cases, a truck driver’s negligence may not have been the only cause of your truck accident. He may have been unqualified to drive a commercial truck. In this situation, you might not only have a claim against the truck driver. You may also be able to hold the trucking company who hired him responsible for negligently hiring him.
What Is Negligent Hiring?
Negligent hiring is a legal theory claiming that a trucking company failed to exercise reasonable care in the hiring of a qualified and experienced truck driver. A trucking company’s duties when hiring truck drivers are detailed in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. In addition, all trucking companies are required to maintain a driver qualification file, which documents their compliance with FMCSA rules in regards to hiring its drivers.
A trucking company is required to conduct an extensive investigation into the applicant’s history. It must verify the basics: that the trucker is at least 21 years old, holds a valid commercial driver’s license, and has passed required written and driving test. The company must also take these actions:
- Thoroughly review the trucker’s driving and accident record
- Run and review a criminal background check
- Ensure that the trucker has no drug, alcohol, or prescription drug use problems
- Have the trucker obtain a complete physical exam and a certification from his doctor that he is medically fit to drive a truck
- Contact the trucker’s employer for the last three years to investigate his employment history, including any accidents or problems with drugs or alcohol
Researching a truck driver’s history can be time-consuming and expensive. It requires the trucking company to directly try to contact former employers, such as sending them a request for information via fax. Some employers will cut corners and hire a truck driver who is not qualified or is too inexperienced to safely drive a truck.
Negligent Retention of Truck Drivers Can Be a Problem Too
Negligent retention involves a trucking company retaining a truck driver who may have initially been qualified but is no longer qualified to drive a truck. This could be due to his accident history, drug or alcohol use, or health problems. If a trucking company continues to employ him, it could be responsible if he causes an accident.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck wreck? An experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain the truck driver’s qualification file and other documents from the trucking company necessary to hold them responsible for negligent hiring or retention of the trucker. Start an online chat now to schedule a free consultation with the trusted legal team at Tavss Fletcher.