Employers of 18 Wheeler Drivers
One of the unique aspects of 18-wheeler accidents is that the employer of the 18-wheeler driver may be held liable along with the driver himself. This is significant because employers of 18 wheeler drivers usually have more in terms of assets and insurance, and collecting a judgment from a trucking company is usually far easier than collecting a judgment from an individual truck driver.
A recent San Antonio case, Onofre v. C.R. England, Inc. highlights some ideas for bringing a truck driver’s employer into the litigation. In Onofre, Plaintiff and her children were parked in a jeep when the defendant driving the truck hit the rear of Plaintiff’s jeep and lifted it four feet into the air. The truck driver had been in several previous accidents and incidents. As such, the Plaintiff brought a number of claims against the truck driver’s employer. While the Court did not allow all of these claims, the case stands to provide some ideas for how to go about suing the employer of a truck driver.
One possible cause of action is for negligent hiring. This may be found if an employer did not use enough care in hiring an employee and by so doing created too big of a risk of harm. In other words, if an 18-wheeler driver is obviously incompetent and has numerous past driving accidents on his record, if an employer hires this driver and the driver gets into an auto accident, the employer may be held liable.
A similar claim may be for negligent training/supervision. This is when an employer hires a competent driver, but does not provide enough proper training and/or supervision. As a result of this lack of training or supervision, the driver, not knowing any better, does something unsafe and causes an accident.
Another similar claim is for negligent retention. This is when an employer hires a driver who appears to be competent, but then the driver has a series of accidents and proves himself to be unfit, and the employer fails to fire the driver. Because the employer failed to fire the driver, the employer could be said to have created a hazard for everyone else on the road, and may be held liable for this.
In addition, there may be a claim for negligent entrustment. This type of claim Is very similar to negligent hiring, but includes when an employer hires a driver who is not licensed and is thereby unfit to be driving an 18-wheeler. Like negligent hiring, negligent entrustment also includes reckless and/or incompetent drivers, assuming the employer should have known that the driver was reckless and/or incompetent.
The above list is by no means comprehensive, and is herein presented for an overview. However, one can see some of the theories by which a Plaintiff could go about suing the employer of a truck driver in an 18-wheeler accident. Due to the complexity of this area of the law, it may be advisable to have an attorney guide claims against the employer of a truck driver.If you or your loved one has been injured call Carabin Shaw