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Hiring Truck Drivers

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Passenger Claims and Car Accidents

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Car Accidents Attorney Houston Texas Baumgartner Law Firm

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Did Texting and Driving Hurt You?

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Why Should You Hire a Real Trial Lawyer?

Truck drivers play an essential role in the health of our economy. The trucking industry is worth around $700 billion and makes up around 5% of the total of full-time jobs in the United States. While it is sometimes easy to focus on the shippers and carriers, truck drivers themselves power the entire industry. They do outstanding work and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Truck Drivers

Negligent Hiring of Truck Drivers

But there is a harsh truth within the trucking industry. Many companies called “Motor Carriers” hire inexperienced and inadequately trained commercial truck drivers. These drivers may seem qualified on paper. For example, they may have a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”) and may have carried several loads for one or several shippers.

But having said this, the inexperience of these truck drivers endangers everyone on the road. Even if accidents are not occurring, these unqualified truck drivers create risks to those around them every single day.

Instead of hiring these inexperienced and inadequately trained drivers, trucking companies must have higher standards for themselves. They need to follow all rules and best practices to protect the motoring public and their drivers.

Negligent hiring and retention can cause citations for the company and provide a truck accident attorney compelling evidence of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit.

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The Problem

Untrained or inadequately trained truck drivers are appealing to hire for many Motor Carriers. Even if they don’t have much experience, their lack of experience means they will be cheaper. A trucking company trying to cut costs or increase bottom lines, decreasing operating expenses by hiring the cheapest drivers happens frequently.

Untrained or inexperienced drivers get into accidents at an alarming rate. Worse, the driver can be operating a big rig, which weighs up to 80,000 pounds. And an 18-wheeler truck accident, severe personal injury is likely. In short, hiring or keeping unsafe drivers in violation of the rules is evidence of negligence on the part of the Motor Carrier.

Complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

Instead of hiring inexperienced and untrained truck drivers, Trucking companies must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSR”). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) regulates commercial vehicles, drivers, and Motor Carriers. There are regulations related to driver experience and training. When a company ignores the rules or keeps an unsafe driver on the payroll, it may amount to negligence.

It is often only after a severe injury crash that a truck accident investigation shows the negligent hiring or training.

Training Requirements

FMCSA recently amended entry-level driver training (“ELDT”) regulations that went into effect on February 7, 2020. This amendment was relatively minor, as it adopted a new Class A CDL theory instruction upgrade curriculum to reduce training time and costs by Class B CDL holders upgrading to a Class A CDL.

The main training requirements can be found in 81 FR 88732 (which you can find here). The entry-level driver training rule creates a minimum standard for entry-level drivers of commercial motor vehicles.

The regulation requires that truck drivers complete certain CDL skills test requirements. Some of those requirements include range and public road segments (including discrete maneuvers). While there are no minimum proficiency hours for new driver-trainees, they must be able to demonstrate their skills to training instructors proficiently.

Ultimately, Motor Carrier’s much ensure that their drivers are fully trained and can navigate the challenges they encounter while on the road. Unfortunately, today our big rig accident law firm sees many examples of companies cutting corners and hiring drivers what should not be operating tractor-trailers.

49 CFR Section 391.51: General Requirements for Driver Qualification Files

Section 391.51 of the FMCSR generally requires driver qualification files. You can look at the entire regulations here. There are many requirements when creating a driver’s qualification file. Some of those requirements include the driver’s application of employment, a list or certificate related to violations of motor vehicle laws and ordinances, a copy of the motor vehicle record received from each state record, a medical examiner’s certificate, and a skill performance evaluation certificate obtained from a field administrator.

Section 391.51 all essential safety rules. Also, FMCSA’s guidance in section 391.51 is critical. For instance, the guidance states that drivers need not be requalified when a motor carrier purchases another motor carrier. Critically, the guidance states that if a motor carrier maintains complete driver qualification files but cannot produce them at the time of review or within two business days, that motor carrier will violate section 391.51.

Ultimately, A trucking company does not meet the minimum safety rules to the letter can be sued for its negligence by a truck accident lawyer, if a severe accident occurs.

The Importance of Screening and Reference Checks

Motor Carriers must keep on file the driver’s safety information to comply with Section 391.51. Trucking companies must pay close attention to your prospective driver’s background, experience, tickets, and any potential medical issues.

In section 391.51(b)(7)(i), the driver’s medical examiner’s certificate must be on file. Failing to have this documentation or be satisfied with the driver’s documentation can lead to evidence in a personal injury or wrongful death case.

Beyond driving records, however, trucking companies must monitor potential drivers’ driving history. Since employment, if the driver has had issues such as moving violations, injury accidents, a claim of negligent retention can be made by an attorney for truck wrecks.

Negligent retention is a situation where the company should have fired the unsafe driver but kept him on instead. Our Houston truck accident lawyers have won many cases where training and retention were the central theme of our case.

Evidence of Trucking Company Negligence

Motor Carriers must follow the training and compliance rules of the FMCSR. As a trucking company, they must follow these regulations. After an injury accident with an 18-wheeler, the best truck accident lawyer will demand the complete driver’s qualification file in a truck accident lawsuit. Also, the attorney will likely run their background check on the diver involved in the accident.

Some of Our Recent Negligent Hiring Wins

  • A smaller Motor Carrier hired an inexperienced driver without ensuring he was a safe driver and giving him a real driving test. The driver who had been on the job less than four months lost control of the tractor-trailer and jackknifed the rig across the highway, killing an innocent person. We were able to prove negligence on the part of the driver and the company. Our clients received a huge 7 figure confidential settlement before trial.
  • A company retained a driver who was cheating on his logbooks. A careful examination of the logbooks and cell phone records in our truck accident investigation showed the company should have been aware of the violations and fired the driver. The driver who was driving over the allowed hours hit our client’s vehicle. After we discovered the many rule violations, the company settled the case by paying our whole demand, but requiring the substantial amount they had to pay to remain confidential.

Why Experience Matters

Often, after a truck wreck, much of the damaging evidence is not known to the injury victims, or the family of someone killed in the crash. Attorneys without a working knowledge of the safety regulations and the experience in uncovering the wrongdoing are at a substantial disadvantage.

The weight of the evidence against the trucking company and its driver will impact a verdict or settlement of a personal injury case.

Our truck accident lawyers in Houston, have been winning truck accident lawsuits and multi-million-dollar recoveries for over three decades.

Never a Charge for an Initial Case Consultation Call (281) 587-1111.

Need an Attorney for Hiring Truck
Drivers

Houston Car Accident Claims:From Start To Finish

An Interactive Guide

CRUNCH!

You hear metal crumpling. Someone just hit your car. Maybe they ran a red light or lost control of their vehicle. Maybe you were rear-ended by a teenage driver on her cellphone.

Either way, you’re angry and frustrated. You have things to do. Places to go. But now, you're standing beside your damaged vehicle waiting for the police to arrive. You start to feel some neck pain.

All that to say: A single, unexpected moment changed everything.

A car accident can strike at any time. Whether you are on your way to work or headed to the store, it doesn’t matter. It’s moments like these that cause the government to require everyone to buy insurance.

A Guide For All Car Accident Victims

In this guide, you will learn:

  • How To Handle Yourself When Disaster Strikes
  • How To Ensure The At-Fault Insurance Company Covers Any Property Damage And Injury Expenses.
  • What Injury Lawyers Do And How They Can Help You.
Go To Step 1
1

Get To Safety

Prevent Further Damage & Injury

If you find yourself in the middle of the intersection or on the freeway, you first priority is to move all persons (and vehicles if possible) out of the way of oncoming oncoming traffic.

Houston road illustration
2

Survey The Damage

Call The Police + Gather Evidence

After getting to safety, you should immediately dial 911. Make sure to alert the dispatcher if there are any serious injuries.

As you wait for help to arrive, you have 3 goals:

  • Identify Extent of Injuries
  • Identify Witnesses
  • Identify Vehicle Damage

Pro Tip: Use your cell phone to record a statement from the other driver, as well as to store contact information for the other driver and any witnesses.

What Type Of Photos
Should I Take?
3

Get Medical Help

Your Health Is #1

After emergency help arrives, it is important to seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel injured, it is important to get checked out for any internal injuries.

Be sure to go in for any follow-up checkups or procedures.


Pro Tip: If you wait before seeking medical treatment, the at-fault insurance company may argue that your injury wasn’t serious and that you don’t deserve compensation for medical expenses.

Common Internal
Injuries

  • Whiplash
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Broken Ribs
  • Punctured Lungs
4

Hire An Injury Lawyer

Save Time. Get Compensated.

Hiring an injury lawyer after a serious accident is one of the best things you can do. Injury lawyers take care of all communication and negotiation with insurance companies. This frees up your time to focus on recovering.

At our law firm, we offer free initial consultations to all Houston residents. Just fill out our contact form — or give us a call to schedule a convenient time for you. We’ll listen to your story and offer our advice.


Pro Tip: Never accept a settlement without consulting a lawyer, especially if injury is involved. Once you accept a settlement, you can never recover anything further in the future.

Time Is Of The Essence

 

In most cases, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is called the Statute of Limitations.

Certain exceptions can extend and/or shorten a limitations period.

If the victim is a minor, the limitations may be extended until they are 18 years old.

If you are in an accident caused by a governmental entity in Texas, the statute of limitations may be much shorter — ranging from a few months to six months.

5

File Your Claim

Notify Your Insurance Company

It is important to notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible.

Many insurance companies allow you to file your claim online. Otherwise, call the number listed on your insurance card.

Be sure to keep track of all adjuster names and contact information.

Pro Tip: There may be multiple active insurance policies that can cover you. For example, if the other driver didn’t have insurance, your own Uninsured Motorist coverage could kick in. An experienced attorney can help identify these policies & maximize your recovery.


Find Your Insurance Company


Learn Fault Factors

Pro Tip: Do not give any recorded statements until you have the opportunity to consult with legal counsel.

Schedule a Free Strategy Session

Been in an accident? We’re here to help. Fill out the information below to arrange a free consultation

Interactive Car Accidents Form

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Get To Safety
Survey The Damage
Get Medical Help
Hire An Attorney
File Your Claim
Go to Step 2

The Importance of Screening and Reference Checks

Motor Carriers must keep on file the driver’s safety information to comply with Section 391.51. Trucking companies must pay close attention to your prospective driver’s background, experience, tickets, and any potential medical issues. In section 391.51(b)(7)(i), the driver’s medical examiner’s certificate must be on file. Failing to have this documentation or be satisfied with the driver’s documentation can lead to evidence in a personal injury or wrongful death case.

Beyond driving records, however, trucking companies must monitor potential drivers’ driving history. Since employment, if the driver has had issues such as moving violations, injury accidents, a claim of negligent retention can be made by an attorney for truck wrecks.

Negligent retention is a situation where the company should have fired the unsafe driver but kept him on instead.

Evidence of Trucking Company Negligence

Motor Carriers must follow the training and compliance rules of the FMCSR. As a trucking company, they must follow these regulations. After an injury accident with an 18-wheeler, the best truck accident lawyer will demand the complete driver’s qualification file in a truck accident lawsuit. Also, the attorney will likely run their background check on the diver involved in the accident.

Some of Our Recent Negligent Hiring Wins

  • A smaller Motor Carrier hired an inexperienced driver without ensuring he was a safe driver and giving him a real driving test. The driver who had been on the job less than four months lost control of the tractor-trailer and jackknifed the rig across the highway, killing an innocent person. We were able to prove negligence on the part of the driver and the company. Our clients received a huge 7 figure confidential settlement before trial.
  • A company retained a driver who was cheating on his logbooks. A careful examination of the logbooks and cell phone records showed the company should have been aware of the violations and fired the driver. The driver who was driving over the allowed hours hit our client’s vehicle. After we discovered and pointed out the many rule violations, the company settled the case but requiring the substantial amount they had to pay to remain confidential.

Why Experience Matters

Often, after a truck wreck, much of the damaging evidence is not known to the injury victims, or the family of someone killed in the crash. Attorneys without a working knowledge of the safety regulations and the experience in uncovering the wrongdoing are at a substantial disadvantage.

The weight of the evidence against the trucking company and its driver will impact a verdict or settlement of a personal injury case.

Our truck accident lawyers in Houston, have been winning truck accident lawsuits and multi-million-dollar recoveries for over three decades.

Never a Charge for an Initial Case Consultation Call (281) 587-1111.