Know your rights when you’ve been involved in a truck accident
Truck accidents are among some of the worst types of vehicle collisions to experience. Due to the sheer size of a tractor-trailer, most cars don’t stand a chance when they collide with a semi, 18-wheeler or commercial truck. If the victim of a truck accident is a pedestrian or cyclist, the odds of survival or avoiding serious injuries after a truck accident get even slimmer.
Fortunately, there are laws that are designed to minimize the number of trucking accidents that occur in Georgia. Trucking companies are expected to maintain their fleets and perform regular inspections to identify issues before they turn into a major problem. These same companies are also expected to follow a set of procedures for hiring truck drivers that looks into their background and identifies red flags in their driving history.
Unfortunately, trucking companies don’t always comply with these laws and regulations.
The trucking industry is highly competitive, and there are times when there is a shortage of drivers. A hiring manager might even be under pressure to get more drivers on the road to increase the rate of deliveries.
Although every business has a bottom line, there is no excuse for cutting corners. In many cases, trucking companies have been held liable for making decisions that are considered to be negligent hiring practices, especially when they’ve led to an injury or death.
Figuring out if and how you can sue a trucking company for inadequate supervision gets complicated. You’ll need to understand the different terms that are used to describe fault in an accident. It might also be necessary to request documentation of a trucking company’s hiring practices to prove a case. This is where an experienced trucking accident lawyer can come in handy.
What is negligent hiring?
You’ll sometimes hear about vicarious liability regarding an employer’s responsibility during an accident. It means that an employer can be indirectly held responsible for the decisions that an employee makes on the job. The definition of negligent hiring is quite a bit different because it places more emphasis on an employer’s direct actions.
The trucking company’s hiring practices are another layer in the safety net that is meant to protect people from a driver’s poor decisions. Therefore, a trucking company could be faced with a claim of negligent hiring if they fail to follow these expected best practices:
- Conduct a thorough criminal background check
- Make a reasonable effort to contact former employers and coworkers
- Review a prospective employee’s driving record
- Complete licensing checks and required medical exams
- Vet the applicant through a formal job interview
How does negligent supervision differ?
Negligent supervision occurs after the person is hired. An employer’s duty of care continues after a driver becomes part of the team. A trucking company’s management staff is expected to check a driver’s logbooks regularly to make sure that they are not driving too many hours or skipping over essential pre-route inspections.
They may also be expected to do periodic checks into their background and driving history to make sure that new infractions have not occurred since the driver was hired. If an employer ignores things such as drunk driving violations, then these could be included in a negligent hiring lawsuit.
Did employer negligence play a role in your truck accident?
When it comes to negligent hiring or inadequate supervision, truck drivers and the company they work for could be held responsible for your accident injuries and damages. While the truck driver should be honest about any issues that they have with driving a tractor-trailer, an employer is also just as responsible for doing their due diligence to make sure that an applicant’s claims are correct.
Proving employer negligence requires creating a paper trail that documents just how much they should have known about a driver’s irresponsibility before the accident occurred.
How to prove negligent hiring or supervision occurred
In most cases, a negligence lawsuit will be lengthy since it can take time to prove that the employer’s actions played a role in the accident. Working with an experienced lawyer is the best way to make it easier to request things such as records and documents for proving your case.
In some cases, the trucking company may claim that the driver involved in the accident was an independent contractor or self-employed, and this can complicate things even further. However, the trucking company could still be held responsible under the vicarious liability portion of the law.
Most truck companies and hiring managers wouldn’t purposely choose to hire someone that they thought would cause an accident. However, mistakes often get made when someone is feeling pressured to increase the size of their driving team. Being short on time or money could also cause someone to overlook the need to audit a new hire’s paperwork or make sure that a current employee isn’t logging too many driving hours.
When it comes to maintaining safety on the roads, multiple decisions matter. Digging into the reasons behind your collision with the help of a trucking accident lawyer helps you to direct your efforts at the person or company that is the most responsible.