Because of their size and weight, a tractor-trailer accident can have severe repercussions, including death to innocent drivers or pedestrians nearby. Accordingly, there are stringent rules that trucking companies must follow in hiring a driver. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of reliable drivers, and many trucking companies relax their hiring standards and overlook rule breaking or disciplinary problems among their employees because they know it will be difficult to find a replacement. Negligent hiring can result in a serious collision and devastating injuries. At the Dean Law Firm, our truck accident lawyers are aggressive advocates for Ocala residents and others trying to recover compensation.Holding Trucking Companies Accountable for Negligent Hiring Practices
Unlike vicarious liability, which provides an indirect form of employer liability for an employee's accident, negligent hiring is a direct liability cause of action. It exists when an employer knew or should have known that its employee had a propensity to commit intentional or negligent acts while on the job and hired the employee anyway. Closely related is a cause of action for negligent retention, when an employer finds out an employee has a propensity to harm the public while on the job and does not terminate the employee.
A truck accident victim trying to prevail on a claim of negligent hiring must show that an employer should have known better than to hire the person who that caused the truck accident. For example, a trucking company could be responsible for negligent hiring if it failed to conduct a background check and hired a truck driver with multiple DUIs, and then the truck driver got in a drunk driving accident. Similarly, a trucking company might be responsible for negligent hiring if it discovers that a driver was previously fired for falsifying log books for hours worked and causing a pedestrian fatality, but hires that driver anyway, and the driver causes another accident.
Common law theories of negligent hiring and negligent retention may apply to your truck accident case. However, Florida Statutes 768.096 creates a presumption that an employer did not negligently hire an employee if it conducts a satisfactory background check with Florida's Department of Law Enforcement before hiring someone. The employer must also:
- Take reasonable steps to contact former employees and coworkers;
- Ensure that a potential employee fills out a job application addressing the employee's past crimes or intentional torts;
- Conduct an appropriate job interview; and
- Review an applicant's driving record.
The negligent hiring of a commercial driver can lead to serious or catastrophic injuries. Instead of being able to rest, a truck accident victim may be concerned about how to pay medical bills or take time off from work to heal. Sometimes a truck driver's own insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the cost of treatment and rehabilitation for serious injuries. It may be necessary to look for an additional source of compensation.
When a trucking company's negligence leads to a bad driver being on the road and causing an accident, that trucking company should be held accountable for the harm that results. The injury attorneys at the Dean Law Firm can help individuals in Ocala and the surrounding communities, such as Crystal River, explore their legal options. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or via our online form to set up a free consultation. We represent accident victims throughout Sumter, Levy, Lake, Marion, and Citrus Counties.