When a driver loses control of an oversized vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds on a highway, extreme injuries and even wrongful death are clear possibilities. That's why trucking companies are legally required to provide a certain duty of care in hiring and training practices. Unfortunately, sometimes cargo transportation providers cut corners during this important process, and people are severely hurt as a result.
Commercial Truck Hiring Regulations in Louisiana
Between an extremely high turnover rate and disruptions to the transportation industry due to a global pandemic, there is a frequent shortage of competent drivers and a constant need to bring in new workers. When they are fulfilling their legally required obligations, trucking companies are supposed to:
- Check for a history of substance abuse or alcoholism that may lead to driving under the influence
- Conduct a thorough background check
- Ensure the driver is at least 21 years of age if they will cross state lines
- Find out about past traffic violations like license suspensions, crashes, and tickets
- Look for medical issues like untreated sleep apnea or other disorders that may cause drowsy driving
- Verify the driver has a valid commercial license
Unfortunately, due to perennial staffing shortages, trucking companies often have a monetary incentive to quickly hire anyone, even if they aren't properly qualified or have a poor driving record.
How Negligent Truck Hiring Practices Causes Serious Injuries
When these important hiring duties are neglected, collisions are bound to occur that could have been completely avoided. Negligent hiring practices from a truck company could include declining to perform an adequate background check at all, failing to check with references, or ignoring criminal violations like drunk driving.
Other than knowingly bringing on an unqualified applicant, there can be problems beyond the initial hiring that leaves the trucking company liable for accidents, such as failing to provide proper training for securing loads, checking tire pressure, and driving in adverse weather conditions.
There have also been instances when a trucking company doesn't perform drug tests after a crash, or allowed a driver with serious violations to continue working while knowing there was a danger to other people on the road. Improper hiring and disciplinary practices from trucking companies can directly lead to dangerous behavior such as:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of narcotics
- Logbook violations
- Road rage
- Speeding and traffic violations
- Tired driving
When you are hurt by a truck driver's negligence, an attorney's help is crucial in recovering financially while you deal with the physical repercussions of the accident. Truck accident victims have a legal right to seek damages for hospital stays, other medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering that interferes with your life, or even funeral expenses. To achieve a positive outcome and recover compensation, you need an attorney to:
- Deal with insurance providers
- Determine whether fault ultimately lies with the driver, trucking company, or another entity and finding the best means of recovering compensation
- Calculate the full, fair amount you are owed for your economic and non-economic damages
- Gather documents covering the driver's hiring, employment, and disciplinary actions
- Look for missing documentation and drug test results, which may show negligent hiring and training
- Obtain "black box" data from the truck
- Prevent the trucking company from destroying paper trail evidence before it can be used
Your attorney's investigation may reveal the accident was caused through other kinds of negligence beyond just improper hiring, from inadequate driver supervision to lax maintenance and repair schedules. In some cases, fault may lay further up the supply chain if the accident was caused by defective truck parts or improperly loaded cargo. No matter who caused the accident, it's important to discuss your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help identify the root cause of the accident and fight for your full compensation in court.
Contact a New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney ASAP
If a trucking company failed to uphold their duty of care and you or a loved one were hurt, we want to help hold that company responsible for their negligence and protect your legal rights by bringing litigation. Contact the Scott Vicknair law firm to set up a consultation and let us know about your case.