March 30, 2016
Author: Carson Walker, Sales Executive
Advertising, phone calls, physicals, drug tests, road tests and orientation—the list goes on and on. Hiring drivers can be time consuming and expensive. During this tedious process it can be easy to cut corners in order to save time and money. However, there could be legal ramifications for cutting these corners. In most jurisdictions, punitive damages can be awarded in addition to the liability judgment if a case can be proven for negligent hiring. Negligent hiring is based on the principal that companies have a responsibility to protect their clients and the general public from harm resulting from the actions of their employees.
In a recently decided case, Diaz v. Carcamo, the plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was hit by a car that had been hit by a truck that was driven by the defendant truck driver. The plaintiff sued the driver as well as the trucking company. The plaintiff was able to establish that the employer was negligent in hiring the truck driver, who had a poor driving record prior to being hired. A jury awarded the plaintiff $23 million.
Ways to prevent negligent hiring:
- Perform pre-hiring research such as Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) and MVR review
- Have driver hiring policies in writing and create consistent hiring guidelines. Do not make exceptions or deviate from these agreed upon standards.
- Provide continuous training consisting of a formal training program on a regular schedule.
Negligence doesn’t end after the hiring process is complete. Trucking companies are obligated to make sure drivers stay compliant throughout their employment with the company. The trucking company can be held liable if they retain drivers who are not qualified to drive.
According to the FMCSA, each motor carrier shall maintain a driver qualification file for each driver it employs. The qualification file for a driver must include:
(1) The driver’s application for employment completed in accordance with § 391.21;
(2) A copy of the motor vehicle record received from each State record pursuant to § 391.23(a)(1);
(3) The certificate of driver’s road test issued to the driver pursuant to § 391.31(e), or a copy of the license or certificate which the motor carrier accepted as equivalent to the driver’s road test pursuant to § 391.33;
(4) The motor vehicle record received from each State driver licensing agency to the annual driver record inquiry required by § 391.25(a);
(5) A note relating to the annual review of the driver’s driving record as required by § 391.25(c)(2);
(6) A list or certificate relating to violations of motor vehicle laws and ordinances required by § 391.27;
(7)(i) The medical examiner’s certificate as required by § 391.43(g) or a legible copy of the certificate.
For additional information, check out our upcoming webinar on April 15, 2016 from 1 PM – 2PM CST. This will cover the basics of what to expect during an audit as well as touch on the driver qualification files mentioned above. Register here.
|Carson Walker, Sales Executive
Carson graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He has been with Cottingham & Butler for the past two and a half years.
-  https://hpd.zurichna.com/whitepaper/zurich-negligent-hiring.pdf