When you share the road with a semi-truck, you assume the driver is skilled, trained, and qualified to be driving. But what if they aren’t? The aftermath of a semi-truck accident can leave victims grappling with pain, mounting medical bills, and countless questions. Among those questions is the role of the trucking company that hired the driver. Could they share fault for your ordeal?
The short answer is that trucking companies are responsible for hiring safe, fully qualified drivers to operate their vehicles.
Qualifications for Truck Drivers in Georgia
Trucking companies and truck drivers must comply with a web of state and federal regulations, but two sets of rules are most relevant to cases involving negligent hiring practices. The first is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s requirements for driver training. Under the FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rules, new truck drivers must complete a training course that meets federal standards.
Furthermore, drivers must receive training from a valid company listed with the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry. However, these requirements only apply to drivers applying for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) after Feb. 2, 2022.
Speaking of CDLs, anyone wishing to drive a commercial truck in Georgia must have one. In addition to the ELDT rules, individual states can set their own rules for obtaining a CDL. According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, the requirements to obtain a CDL include:
- Drivers must be at least 18 years old to apply for a commercial driver’s license, though drivers ages 18-20 can only operate commercial trucks within Georgia state lines. Drivers 21 and older can apply to have their “Georgia only” restriction removed.
- Drivers must have a standard driver’s license before applying for a CDL.
- Drivers applying for a CDL for the first time must hold a valid commercial learner’s permit for 14 days before applying for a full CDL.
- Drivers must pass a road skills test.
- Drivers must pass a vision test.
- Drivers must have documents showing proof of residency and citizenship or lawful residency,
Examples of Negligent Hiring Practices by Trucking Companies
When trucking companies engage in negligent hiring practices, they endanger their drivers and everyone else on the road. Some of the most common examples of these questionable practices include.
- Failing to verify a driver’s CDL
- Ignoring a driver’s history of traffic violations, DUIs, or other issues
- Failing to perform background checks on drivers
- Overlooking drivers’ medical exams or history
- Not providing adequate training, especially for new drivers
- Ignoring failed drug or alcohol tests
- Overworking drivers or pushing them to ignore hours of service rules
Can You Sue a Trucking Company for Negligent Hiring Practices?
When a crash occurs as a direct result of a trucking company’s negligent hiring practices, victims have the right to hold that company accountable. Employers, including trucking companies, must exercise reasonable care when hiring individuals who can pose a danger to others.
Personal injury lawsuits based on trucking company hiring practices typically center around proving that the trucking company’s negligent hiring process directly led to the accident. If you were injured in this kind of a trucking accident, with strong evidence and the right legal team backing you up, you could recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses (both current and future)
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Damaged personal property
Contact an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer Now
The W. Winston Briggs Law Firm proudly represents those injured due to trucking companies’ negligence. Our team can take care of your legal case and pursue fair compensation for your injuries while you rest and heal. Call (404) 522-1500 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.