Trucking companies owe the public a duty to reasonably supervise their drivers. This includes making sure that commercial drivers obey federal and state laws that require them to work restricted hours and keep a logbook. Unfortunately, many trucking companies have unwritten policies that result in supervisors turning a blind eye to drivers' misconduct or negligence because the driver's conduct results in greater profits. If a company's negligent supervision results in a truck accident in which you are hurt, the Dallas attorneys at Feizy Law Office may be able to help you sue both the driver and the trucking company for damages.Seeking Compensation for Negligent Supervision by Trucking Companies
The basic duty of a trucking company is to investigate whether a driver is fit for duty and to remain knowledgeable about the driver's fitness. A breach of this basic duty can make a trucking company negligent in the eyes of the law, and thereby directly liable to a truck accident victim.
The basic elements of this cause of action are the duty to supervise an employee, a breach of that duty, proximate causation, and damages. This is different from the doctrine of respondeat superior, which allows an accident victim to hold an employer indirectly liable for the negligence of its employees if it happens within the course and scope of their employment.
When an employer knows or should know of an incompetent or unfit driver, it causes an unreasonable risk of harm to others. To impose liability for negligent supervision, there must be evidence that the injuries were caused because an employer negligently supervised an employee.
For example, truck drivers are required to keep logbooks, logging their hours worked and other details. Trucking companies are supposed to make sure these logbooks are kept honestly and scrupulously. If they fail to do so or suspect that a driver is falsifying the logbook, a truck driver may wind up excessively fatigued and cause catastrophic injuries to the driver of a passenger car or the wrongful death of a pedestrian, for example. While there must be some connection between the accident and the driver's employment, an incompetent driver need not have been acting within the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident under a negligent supervision theory.
Similarly, trucking companies must investigate any suspected substance abuse problems in their drivers. If a supervisor suspects that one of the drivers has a cocaine problem, for instance, and fails to further investigate because the driver is extremely productive, and the driver gets into an accident, it might be appropriate to bring a cause of action for negligent supervision against the company.
Negligent supervision and the closely related negligent hiring and negligent training causes of action are often crucial to recovering the full scope of damages for an accident. In many cases, an individual truck driver does not have enough coverage on his or her insurance policy to fully compensate an accident victim. Medical bills are especially expensive for injuries arising out of truck crashes because of the size and weight of a truck. In some case, lifelong care may be necessary. A successfully articulated direct theory of liability like negligent supervision can help improve your chances of receiving the full compensation to which you are entitled.Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Collision with a Dallas Attorney
If you have been hurt in a truck accident that you suspect may have been caused by negligent supervision, you should retain a motor vehicle collision lawyer who has handled these cases in the Dallas area. We understand the trucking industry, the federal and state laws that govern trucking companies and their drivers, and the ways in which attorneys for trucking companies try to avoid liability, even for catastrophic injuries. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or contact us via our online form. We also represent truck accident victims in Irving, Arlington, Garland, Fort Worth, and Plano, among other Texas cities.