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Large Commercial Trucking Accidents: The Intersection of Liability and Negligent Hiring

Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisconsin accident attorney, Wisconsin injury lawyer, Wisconsin wrongful death attorneyThese days, whenever you check the news or turn on the television, it seems when a heavy commercial truck is involved in an accident with a passenger automobile, the automobile driver suffers more serious injuries than the driver of the commercial truck.  This result is all too common due to the basic laws of physics and the vast disparity in weight between these types of vehicles.

A standard large commercial truck can weigh more than 20 times a traditional passenger automobile. Passenger automobiles weigh anywhere between one and two tons, whereas a fully loaded large commercial truck could weigh upwards of 20 tons. The sheer size and weight of a large commercial truck makes it a deadly weapon if it is driven by an inattentive, distracted, or improperly trained driver. For these reasons, trucking companies are required to carefully evaluate and properly train drivers before permitting them to operate large commercial trucks.

Did the Trucking Company Perform its Due Diligence When Hiring the Driver?

The harsh reality is that some large commercial trucking accidents could simply be avoided if the employer performed background checks or drug testing. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, employers of commercial truck drivers are required to:

  • Ensure the driver has a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL);
  • Subject the driver to a drug test;
  • Perform a criminal background check;
  • Research the driver’s record, prior law violations and accident history; and
  • Evaluate the driver’s experience operating the equipment he or she will operate.

This information is part of the driver’s application file and the company must maintain these files. These files indicate what the trucking company was aware of prior to hiring the large commercial truck driver, and whether or not they followed federal regulations.

When large commercial trucking employers fail to research and investigate the steps identified above, they could be liable for putting dangerous, chemically dependent or improperly trained drivers on the road.

What Is Negligent Hiring?

Negligent hiring occurs when an employer is accused of failing to exercise reasonable care when hiring an employee. In large commercial trucking accidents, when an employer hires a driver and fails to abide by federal regulations enumerated by the FMCSA identified above, that employer has failed to exercise reasonable care in the hiring of that employee.

Large commercial trucking accidents are complex in nature due to state and federal laws at play. It is usually difficult to determine who is at fault for an accident. If you were involved in an accident with a large commercial truck and believe that the employer could have prevented the accident by reviewing the driver’s prior driving record, you should contact an experienced Milwaukee commercial truck accident attorney who will assist you in obtaining compensation for your losses and hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions.

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