Commercial truck drivers spend long hours on the road. They log thousands of miles behind the wheel of their trucks to deliver goods to states and cities across the nation. These drivers must be on constant alert to stay safe on the road. Because 18-wheelers or semi trucks are large, unwieldy, and often carry heavy cargo loads, any accident involving one of these vehicles could have serious consequences.
Trucking companies are obligated to hire qualified employees to drive their trucks. If they fail in this duty to you, they may be placing inexperienced or reckless drivers into powerful, potentially dangerous vehicles. If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact the tenacious Oklahoma City negligent hiring attorneys of the Abel Law Firm at (405) 239-7046 for a free consultation. We can work to get you the financial compensation you deserve.
When hiring an employee for a specific job, an employer must ensure that the person they are hiring can perform the job functions. For carrier companies, some regulations for drivers are set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These must be met for a driver to operate a large commercial vehicle. For example, drivers must undergo a medical examination and receive a positive determination from a doctor. This must be done every two years (or less, if the doctor recommends). Being healthy is important for drivers because the demands of freight trucks and other large commercial vehicles can be physically taxing. The vocation involves long hours and a certain amount of physical dexterity.
Drivers must also undergo alcohol and drug screenings before they can be hired. Commercial drivers must also have a special driver’s license. All these requirements (and many others) must be met for a driver to be legally road ready. It is the carrier company’s responsibility to ensure that all their new drivers comply with the rules. If a driver is not compliant, and a carrier company hires them or continues to let them work anyway, the carrier company may be liable for any accident the driver causes.
Examples of Negligent Hiring
There are nearly 3.2 million truck drivers or truck-related workers in the nation. Although these drivers are supposed to comply with state and federal regulations, companies often hire unqualified drivers to increase their own profit. The trucking company could be accused of negligence if they hire an employee with the following problems:
- Lack of proper training
- No commercial driver’s license
- Substance abuse issues
- Certain medical or psychological problems
- DUI/DWI arrest
- Bad driving record with a history of accidents or other moving violations
If a truck driver is unqualified or has a bad driving history, he or she could be dangerous on the road. Thus, it is important that trucking companies thoroughly check a driver’s credentials before allowing him or her to drive an 18-wheeler or semi-truck.
As the victim of a truck accident, you may be experiencing both physical and mental trauma. You may be suffering from broken bones, head and neck trauma, spinal cord injuries, and severe bruising, among other things. Getting well means ongoing visits with doctors, specialists, and possibly other professionals. This means mounting medical bills and time away from work. The financial burden of healing can add extra stress at a time when you should be focused on getting better. At Abel Law Firm, we are here to help alleviate some of that stress.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
An employer may be liable for their employee’s actions under a respondent-superior legal doctrine. Under the doctrine of respondent-superior, there are a few factors in determining whether an employer can be held responsible for wrongful behavior and resulting damages to their workers. For example, whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor must be determined. While an employer is responsible for their employees’ behavior, they may not always be responsible for an independent contractor’s behavior. Drivers of large commercial trucks can be employees or independent contractors depending on certain factors and circumstances, all of which are complicated.
While employers may be responsible for injuries their workers cause, the law surrounding truck accident liability and an employer’s responsibility in hiring and training, drivers can be confusing. The dedicated team at Abel Law Firm is here to help.
If you or someone you love has been hurt due to improper hiring, you can help discourage this terrible negligence by holding the trucking company responsible for its carelessness. Contact the Oklahoma negligent hiring lawyers of the Abel Law Firm at (405) 239-7046 today to speak with a legal professional about your case.