Many of us have seen news reports following an accident which has revealed that an employee had concealed certain facts about themselves from their employer. In many such cases, the employee would not have been hired had that employee been honest about their work and/or personal history. There are also cases where an employer knew about certain facts yet chose to “look the other way” and disregard those facts. In today’s post, our personal injury accident lawyer will discuss “negligence in hiring” and how it relates to employer liability in personal injury lawsuits.
What is Negligence in Hiring?
Negligence in hiring occurs when an employer fails to confirm that an employee meets the minimum requirements that are necessary to safely perform the normal functions of a given position. In commercial vehicle accidents, negligent hiring means that an employer knew (or should have known) that a prospective employee was “at risk” of causing an accident, based on the employee’s previous driving record. If it can be shown that the employer failed to investigate a potential employee’s work history and/or criminal record, and that employee is later involved in an accident, the employer can be sued for negligent hiring and may be ordered to pay damages to an accident victim.
To win a lawsuit where negligence in hiring is alleged, you (through your personal injury accident lawyer) must be able to demonstrate the following facts to the court:
1. The employer owed you a certain “duty of care” in hiring its employee.
In negligent hiring cases, this means that the employer had a duty not to hire an employee whose previous record indicated the employee had a history of reckless or illegal behavior. In commercial trucking accidents, if the employee had a history of previous traffic law violations or of being involved in traffic accidents that would have come to light had the employer taken “reasonable” care to check the employee’s driving history, then the employer was negligent in its hiring practice.
2. The employer breached its duty of care at some point in the hiring process.
If the employer did not follow industry-accepted procedures, such as checking DMV records or conducting background checks, for the purpose of identifying potential “problem” employees then the employer has violated its duty of care.
3. You suffered an injury because of that breach of duty.
In commercial trucking accidents, had the employer not been negligent in hiring its drivers, the employee would not have been hired to begin with and thus would not have caused the accident.
4. Your accident was a reasonably-foreseeable consequence of that breach.
It is well-documented that employees with poor driving records are more likely to be involved in an accident than those with excellent driving records. If an employer knew or would have known if it had conducted a proper background check, that an employee’s driving record was less than acceptable, then the employer can be found guilty of negligent hiring.
Practices related to negligent hiring
Negligent hiring rarely occurs as an isolated incident. Practices that have been associated with negligent hiring include:
Negligent employment occurs when an employer allows an employee to work in a given position after being made aware that the employee’s actions run the risk of causing harm to others. As an example related to commercial vehicles, if an employer was aware that a driver had received several traffic tickets for speeding and the employer did not take some action to either correct the driver or remove the driver to another position, the employer could be held liable in the event the driver causes an accident.
If an employer fails to provide adequate supervision of an employee, and that such supervision could have prevented employee misconduct, the employer can be held liable for failing to properly supervise the employee.
Negligence in training
This form of liability occurs when an employer fails to assure itself that an employee has the skills necessary to avoid creating the danger of causing an injury to another. If it cannot be documented that such training was provided, the employer can be held liable for negligence.
How a personal injury accident attorney can help with negligent hiring issues
Many cases of negligent hiring would not come to light if it were not for a personal injury and accident attorney investigating all the facts that may have contributed to a commercial vehicle accident. Since most accident victims do not have the resources to properly investigate all factors that may have contributed to their injury, it is always advisable to hire a commercial vehicle accident lawyer to manage your personal injury case.
Only a personal injury accident lawyer will have the knowledge and experience to properly investigate all aspects of your case and thus help you recover the maximum amount of compensation to which you are legally entitled.