Truck accidents can be devastating, and they often cause catastrophic injuries or even death to people on the road. Often, the driver's own insurance coverage is limited, not fully covering the degree of loss caused by the crash. In many truck accident cases, it may be useful to pursue compensation not only from the individual driver who got into the accident but also from his or her employer. There are several theories of liability under which an employer can potentially be held accountable for a crash, such as negligent hiring. The Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at Sharifi Firm are dedicated to helping individuals in Southern California who are trying to recover compensation.Seeking Damages from a Trucking Company Based on Negligent Hiring
In California, an employer may be held accountable under a theory of negligent hiring if the victim shows that an employee caused an accident and that the employer is responsible because it negligently hired the employee. As a plaintiff, you would need to prove:
- The employee was unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he or she was hired;
- The employer knew or should have known the employee was unfit or incompetent;
- The unfitness or incompetence harmed you; and
- The employer's negligence was a substantial factor in causing your harm.
Liability is imposed only if the employer knew or should have known that hiring an individual carries a particular risk and that particular risk actually does materialize. This is different from vicarious liability, in which an employer is held indirectly responsible for harm caused by an employee on the grounds that the employee was in the course and scope of business, and the employer was getting a benefit from that. Instead, the reasoning is that if a business hires an employee with characteristics that are dangerous to others, the business should bear the loss if the employee actually does cause harm.
Sometimes the most challenging aspect of negligent hiring cases after a truck accident is proving the element of actual or constructive knowledge that a particular truck driver was unfit. Even if it is clear the employer had no actual knowledge that a truck driver was unfit, the employer can still be held accountable if it should have known of the unfitness, or if it failed to use reasonable care when investigating the employee before the hire.
Trucking companies have multiple duties under federal and state laws when hiring drivers. Among other things, they are required to conduct background checks, and they are not supposed to hire people who have particular red flags in their past, such as multiple DUIs or suspensions based on dangerous driving. These red flags tend to show that someone is unfit to operate heavy machinery like a tractor-trailer, big rig, or semi.Explore Your Options with a Los Angeles Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Collision
If you are injured in an accident, it may be possible to sue the truck company for negligent hiring. In many cases, a company and its attorneys will have a strong understanding of the regulations that govern the trucking industry. It is important for you to have an advocate with a similarly strong understanding so that the defendant’s attorneys cannot intimidate you into settling for less than your case is worth. At Sharifi Firm, our experienced Los Angeles lawyers can guide people injured in motor vehicle collisions through the legal process and understand the obligations of trucking companies. We represent clients across Southern California, including in Riverside, Temecula, San Bernardino, and Rancho Cucamonga. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.