Research presented by Texas A&M Transportation Institute has revealed that Texas has the most truck-congested roads in the United States. Commercial trucks, which can be challenging to maneuver, require a driver who is skilled in handling a large vehicle and understands the importance of maintaining certain safety standards. It is the responsibility of trucking companies to hire drivers who can uphold levels of care and diligence while operating their vehicles.
In some truck accident cases, the cause of accidents may be traced back to trucking companies hiring unskilled drivers. Driver error is a common cause of trucking accidents, and truck companies can reduce this risk by retaining licensed and trained truck drivers.
What is Negligent Hiring?
Negligent hiring occurs when a company hires employees who do not have the necessary qualifications to properly conduct their role. This can also occur when an employer does not perform a background check or drug test on an employee before hiring them. When a truck accident occurs in Texas, the trucking company is responsible for the actions of the driver.
The trucking company has a duty to hire capable employees who can operate their vehicles safely and ensure that their employees can maintain consistent standards of safety and care. When a Texas trucking company hires drivers who cannot adequately and safely perform their jobs, the company can be found liable for negligent hiring. Other examples of negligent hiring among trucking companies in Texas can include:
- Hiring unskilled truck drivers
- Hiring truck drivers with a history of substance abuse
- Hiring truck drivers with a history of driving accidents
- Hiring truck drivers with a history of criminal activity
- Hiring truck drivers with a history of reckless driving
- Hiring truck drivers without valid driver’s licenses or commercial licenses
Attorneys have the power to access, gather, and observe different resources that their clients do not have. This puts anyone who works with them at an advantage when proving negligent driving to a court. Working with an experienced Texas truck accident attorney can provide you with resources to address a trucking company’s failure to maintain safety standards by properly educating their drivers or hiring appropriate employees for the role.
Rules for Hiring Truck Drivers in Texas
The nature of a truck driver’s job is to operate a large and heavy vehicle on the road for long periods of time. This becomes a dangerous task when the employee who is driving the truck is not adequately trained. Putting a driver with inadequate training behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound truck is one of the most dangerous choices that an employer can make, which is why there may be a case for pursuing legal action against a trucking company after you have been involved in a Texas truck accident.
Trucking companies in Texas have a specific set of criteria that they must adhere to when hiring drivers. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have established a set of rules on how trucking companies should hire new drivers, which include:
- Drivers need a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Drivers cannot have a history of criminal offenses
- Drivers cannot have a history of safety violations
- Drivers must participate in drug testing and background checks
- Employers must keep a driver qualification file for each employee, containing:
- Their job application
- Contact information for references
- A copy of their up-to-date driving record
- Road test certification
- Certificates from a medical examiner
The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that only qualified, licensed, and trained drivers are on the roads and operating trucks. Following these safety practices can decrease the number of truck accidents that occur each year in Texas. However, if a trucking company chooses to actively ignore these standards of safety and care, they can be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result of their negligent hiring practices.
How Does Negligent Hiring Affect Texas Truck Drivers?
Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently showed that 13% of truck drivers who were involved in fatal truck accidents were also involved in previous collisions. When trucking companies hire drivers with prior accidents on their record, they are putting their employees and other vehicles on the road at risk.
Truck drivers are in danger of being in serious, life-threatening accidents if they are hired to perform a job they cannot do properly. This is why both truck accident victims and truck drivers who have been involved in accidents have sought legal services from reliable attorneys to hold Texas trucking companies responsible for negligent hiring.
Evidence for Negligent Hiring of Truck Drivers in Texas
If you pursue a claim against a truck driving company for negligent hiring practices that led to an accident, it is necessary for you and your attorney to provide evidence of negligence when considering or hiring new drivers. Certain documentation from the trucking company can improve the strength of your case when establishing liability for the collision, such as:
- A copy of the truck driver’s commercial vehicle license
- Documentation of the trucking company’s hiring policies
- Proof that a background check was conducted
- Training manuals or videos
- Employee files
Common Injuries After Texas Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents are known to cause serious damage to both victims and their vehicles due to the size of most commercial trucks on Texas roads. The injuries that are sustained during a collision with a truck can have devastating and life-long repercussions. We have worked with a variety of truck accident victims in Texas and discovered that the most frequently reported injuries after a wreck include:
- Whiplash: Occurs when a person’s head is moved too quickly during an accident, and they experience pain or tension in their neck muscles.
- Broken bones: Fractures and breaks may occur as a result of an accident, including damage to the arms, legs, face, and torso.
- Soft tissue damage: Commonly sustained during accidents, soft tissue damage occurs when a victim is hit with items like metal or glass pieces.
- Spine injuries: The positioning of a victim during an accident plays into whether or not their spine is damaged, which could result in crushed vertebrae or paralysis.
- Brain damage: Many traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result in side effects such as concussions or more serious damage that can be permanent in some victims.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Some injuries that victims experience during a Texas truck accident have the potential to be devastating or even fatal. It is necessary to seek out medical attention after you have experienced a truck accident to ensure that no severe damage has occurred. After you have spoken with a medical professional, contact a Texas truck accident attorney who can help you get started on establishing and building your case.