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Trucking Company Liability, Negligent Hiring

When people are at work, their time is not their own; they are there to do the work their employers ask for. Furthermore, employers typically hire people they believe are qualified and responsible enough for the job. The same is true for truck drivers. Truckers are usually hired, trained, and monitored by trucking companies, who entrust them with the responsibility of hauling tons of vehicle and freight across highways shared by smaller vehicles. When trucking companies fail to hire qualified and safe drivers, or monitor driver behavior, they are legally responsible for any trucking crash that results.

Federal law places responsibility on trucking companies to ensure drivers are safe. For example, a truck driver cannot legally operate without a valid commercial license. Drivers must submit to drug and alcohol testing both after an accident and at random times. Drivers and trucking companies must work together to maintain a log of the drivers’ hours on the road and ensure they do not drive while fatigued.

Trucking companies also have duties to the general public derived from state law, which require employers use reasonable care in hiring, supervising and training drivers.

Complying with all these safety rules costs truck companies money. While most do a very good job adhering to all of these rules, some do not. Often, we believe these “fly by night” operations skirt these safety rules because it costs money to follow them. If a driver fails a drug test, the company loses the driver. This means lost profits. When profits are pitted against public safety, some trucking companies prefer to quietly break the rules. Often, the problem is never uncovered until the unsafe driver causes a catastrophic truck accident.

Forms of negligence in hiring, supervision and training of truckers include:

  • Knowingly hiring drivers who do not have a valid license
  • No background check into driver’s safety history
  • Ignoring negative evidence uncovered by a background check
  • Asking drivers to take on responsibilities that require more training but not providing or requiring it
  • Encouraging or even ordering drivers to break hours of service rules
  • Not auditing hours of service logs
  • Not reporting accidents or safety violations to the federal government, as required
  • Not requiring random drug and alcohol testing, undermining the testing or not taking drivers off the road when they fail

When these unsafe drivers cause serious accidents, the trucking company that created the dangerous situation is responsible. E. Ryan Bradley represents victims of trucking accidents and their families. Because of the huge difference between the sizes of a tractor-trailer and an ordinary car, these victims have often sustained devastating permanent disabilities or wrongful deaths through no fault of their own. In addition to the physical pain, emotional anguish and personal losses, this can often be catastrophically expensive for ordinary families, who must scramble to pay medical bills.

If this is your situation, our Missouri trucking accident attorneys can help. Contact E. Ryan Bradley today to discuss your rights and your options. For a free, confidential consultation, call 314-400-0000.