The effects of a trucking accident can be brutally traumatic and personally devastating for all parties involved. When a vehicle as heavy and powerful as a tractor-trailer collides with a normal-sized personal vehicle, the truck always wins. This means that when truck drivers or trucking companies put someone behind the wheel without ensuring they are qualified and properly trained, they are gambling with the lives of civilians, creating needless risk for others on the road.
Despite the potentially deadly implications, we have found that trucking companies have been known to take the easy route when hiring drivers in order to meet the demands of their business. This can result in ill-equipped, unsafe drivers being employed and sent out on the road with little to no necessary training and thousands of pounds of cargo in tow. Much of this corner-cutting begins during the hiring and onboarding process.
Hiring Negligence by Trucking Companies
In a legal matter regarding personal injury liability, the plaintiff (or person injured in a truck accident) must demonstrate that the other party behaved negligently or recklessly or that they did not exercise sufficient caution. Negligence can occur when a trucking company does not properly vet or evaluate a prospective driver before offering them the position and giving them control of such a dangerous vehicle.
A trucking company may be guilty of hiring negligence if any of the following are true:
- The company hired a driver with a history of involvement in serious accidents.
- The company did not take the time to perform a proper criminal background check before hiring a driver.
- The company did not adequately evaluate or test a prospective driver in the form of drug and alcohol tests or proceeded to hire a driver who did not pass the drug and alcohol test or visibly demonstrated a drug or alcohol problem.
- The company hired a driver with a history of bad driving, reckless driving, etc.
- The company hired a driver who did not or does not hold a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- The company hired a driver with a serious health issue, such as poor eyesight, narcolepsy, or other conditions that may put other drivers at risk.
Hiring Negligence and Liability for Damages
If a trucking company was, in fact negligent when hiring the driver that caused your accident, and you and your attorney are able to demonstrate that the company’s negligence directly caused or contributed to your injuries and accident-related losses, you may have a viable personal injury lawsuit on your hands.
What Can I Sue for in a Truck Accident or Hiring Negligence Case?
As in any personal injury case, truck-related or otherwise, you are typically permitted to sue the responsible party for an amount comparable to the amount of your accident-related expenses and financial losses. These may include (but are not limited to):
- Medical Expenses: Hospital bills, rehabilitation, MRIs, and other necessary medical procedures and treatments are likely to create a hefty financial burden for you and your family, especially if your injuries require long-term treatments.
- Lost wages: If you have spent more than a day or two out of work because of your accident and are experiencing a decrease in income as a result (no matter how short-lived), it is important to hold the trucking company responsible for making up the difference. As the money you make goes into mortgage payments, retirement savings, inheritance funds, etc., every dollar counts, and every dollar missed out on must be made up for by the trucking company.
- Punitive damages: Depending on the severity of your injuries and losses, you may be able to sue for an even greater amount of compensation from the trucking company. You may be able to sue and receive compensation for pain and suffering, depending on the effect your injuries and losses have had on your life.
Our firm is ready to fight for you. If you have been in a trucking accident of any kind, call Sanders.Law today at (816) 844-6938 to get the help of our experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyers.