Trucking companies have a duty to responsibly recruit, train, and supervise the drivers they employ. Hiring drivers with the right background and qualifications is key, and making sure the driver is thoroughly trained on the operation of the vehicle and applicable rules and regulations is vital to the safety of the driver and everyone else on the road.
If a driver has a poor driving record (including driving under the influence convictions, speeding tickets, and other moving violations), or lacks the proper training and experience needed to operate the vehicle, the employers could be held liable in the event of a serious or fatal injury accident.
As the economy grows, so, too, does the need to transport goods across the country. As truck drivers are increasingly pressured to drive long distances and work long hours, hiring truck drivers is becoming increasingly difficult.
As a result, some trucking companies are hiring drivers who lack the training and experience needed to drive safely and responsibly. Many aren’t investing in the ongoing training drivers need to stay up to date with changing laws and technologies. It’s a dangerous practice that puts you and your loved ones in danger.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, a truck company’s poor hiring decisions and poor training practices may be the cause. The attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can help you understand your rights and legal options.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation.
Trucking Company Background Checks in Alabama
Alabama trucking companies should always perform thorough background checks to identify any issues with potential new hires. At the federal and state level, there are regulations requiring that all truck drivers undergo a specific amount of training to ensure they are able to operate the vehicle correctly.
Drivers who lack experience, don’t have the appropriate licenses, or fail driving tests are a danger to themselves and others.
Performing background checks for all potential employees allows a company to ensure they’re hiring properly trained, responsible drivers. Anyone with a criminal background, previous reports of dangerous behavior, or lack of experience could cause harm to others.
Additionally, pre-employment drug tests, as well as random testing, help prevent drivers from using controlled substances or alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
Common Reasons for Negligent Hiring, Retention, Supervision, and Training of Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are consistently under pressure to complete deliveries on strict deadlines. Companies may be tempted to prioritize their financial bottom line over safety.
Due to the demands of the job, many companies struggle to fill open positions. There aren’t enough qualified drivers available, so inexperienced applicants often get hired.
To get drivers out on the road quickly, trucking companies might also cut corners when it comes to training. In the rush to get deliveries completed, they might put inexperienced drivers behind the wheel before they’re ready.
To drive a commercial vehicle, all drivers must meet the following requirements:
- Be 21 years of age or older
- Read and write English at an appropriate level to understand basic traffic signs, communicate with others, and write reports
- Complete written and driving tests
- Carry a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Pass pre-employment drug tests and ongoing random drug testing
- Pass annual reviews
- Receive a certificate of physical aptitude by a medical examiner to drive a truck
All employees must undergo training. Trucking companies should offer training for both new and seasoned employees. Ongoing training programs help drivers stay up to date with the latest safety protocols. Even drivers with years of experience require ongoing training to learn about changing laws and the use of modern equipment.
Once drivers have been vetted and trained, the company has a responsibility to supervise their employee while on the job. Routine testing for alcohol or drugs should be conducted, and supervisors should be trained on how to spot alcohol or drug abuse in the workplace.
Supervisors should also review the driver’s logs to make sure they are strictly adhering to the hours of service regulations required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident That Involved an Unqualified Truck Driver?
If you were hurt in an accident caused by an unqualified or inadequately supervised truck driver, multiple parties could be at fault.
The trucking company may be found negligent if any of the following factors exist, for example:
- The trucking company knowingly hired a driver who didn’t possess the required commercial license.
- The employer failed to perform drug testing.
- Management encouraged their employee to work prolonged hours.
- The company didn’t educate or train their employees.
- The employer didn’t perform trucking company background checks in Huntsville.
- The employee’s dangerous behavior led to the accident, such as texting while driving, speeding, ignoring traffic laws, or driving under the influence.
It is important to note that time is limited to take legal action. Under Alabama law, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. That means you generally have two years from the date of the crash to pursue legal action.
Potential Damages Available After an Accident Caused by an Unqualified Truck Driver
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident that was someone else’s fault, you could be owed significant compensation for your injuries and financial losses.
In general, you could be eligible for compensation including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings (if disabled)
- Transportation costs for treatment
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Loss of consortium
- Pain, suffering, and post-traumatic stress
- Punitive damages
The settlement you win in a claim may depend on several critical pieces of information regarding the accident and your injury. Each detail could affect the outcome of your case.
The most important factors that determine the compensation you receive include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Duration of medical treatment
- The total cost of your medical bills
- Amount of work missed
- Availability of evidence proving the trucking company’s liability
An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and give you an estimate of the types of compensation you could seek and how much your case could be worth.
Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., in Huntsville, Alabama for Help Now
If you were hurt in a truck accident in Huntsville, Alabama, contact an experienced trucking company negligence attorney from Morris, King & Hodge P.C., today. We believe in fighting for justice.