Inexperienced Truck Driver Causes New Mexico Trucking Accident: Can the Trucking Company be Liable?

- Mark Caruso

When Inexperienced and Poorly Trained Truck Drivers Cause New Mexico Trucking Accidents, the Trucking Company Can Be Liable For Your Damages

All drivers need to pass driver’s education before they can get behind the wheel.  This is an instructional class usually taught during high school to assist people in learning the rules of the road and how to operate a motor vehicle.  After passing this class, an individual takes a driving test.  Almost all of us have been through this process.  The real learning, however, begins as we start driving and gaining experience.  After all, just because we have a license does not mean we are an experience and competent driver, just that we have satisfied the license requirements set forth by the state.

For commercial truck drivers, they need to pass an additional CDL test.  This also involves classroom instruction, book reading, and another test with a large commercial truck.  After the test, a driver will have his or her CDL.  Again, the real learning begins when a driver starts to operate on the road.  Similarly, a truck driver who just receives his or her license is not necessarily an experienced and competent driver.

But when you operate a large commercial vehicle such as a tractor trailer, tandem trailer, tanker, flatbed, big rig, 18-wheeler, or other truck, you need to exercise the utmost amount of caution and safety to avoid causing a trucking accident.  These large vehicles are unforgiving, and even a small bumper tap can cause serious personal injuries to the occupants in a passenger vehicle.

This is why trucking companies are required to train and monitor their employees—their truck drivers.  The trucking companies need to ensure that the truck drivers are getting experience, being taught safe practices, and not being put in positions where they could unnecessarily cause harm to another.  And when their truck drivers get into a New Mexico trucking accident, they can be liable.

Respondeat Superior: Holding Trucking Companies Responsible for Negligent Truck Drivers

When a truck driver causes a serious New Mexico trucking accident, he or she may not have the financial resources to pay the victim for his or her injuries.  Even with personal car insurance, the individual truck driver will likely not be able to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to a victim’s body.  And it may not be fair to require the negligent truck driver to do so anyway, because he or she was operating under the scope of his or her employer.  Meaning, but for the truck driver requiring the truck driver to make the delivery, the truck driver may not have been doing what he or she was doing when the accident occurred.

This is why a trucking company will be liable for a negligent truck driver.  First, under policy reasons, it makes sense because the trucking company is in a much better position to compensate the victim.  Trucking companies are even required to get insurance policies in the millions to cover New Mexico trucking accidents.

Second, the trucking company is directing the truck driver to do something for the company.  While the trucking company is not telling the truck driver to be negligent, the trucking company is putting the truck driver in a situation where an accident could happen and someone could get hurt.  To this extent, the trucking company is receiving a benefit for the truck driver’s work, and the truck driver is advancing the company.

Third, the trucking company is entrusting the truck driver with its cargo and equipment.  In this case, the equipment is a massive vehicle traveling at a high speed.  This is easily a deadly piece of equipment and is dangerous to give away to just anyone.  This is why a trucking company must ensure the truck driver is experienced and well-trained.

Therefore, New Mexico common law, or judge-made law, has what is known as the respondeat superior doctrine.  In fact, this doctrine is a national one in that the main principle is adopted by every jurisdiction in the United States to one degree or another.  Each state has its own tweaks and distinctions, but the overarching principle is the same.

Defining Respondeat Superior

Respondeat Superior is simply a master-servant relationship.  It mean that the employer will be liable for the acts of an employee committed during the scope of employment.  This type of liability is known as vicarious liability, which simply means that one party will be liable for the acts of another.  This typically happens where there is a confidential relationship between two entities or persons.  A confidential relationship does not mean a relationship that is hidden, but merely a special type of relationship between two entities or persons.

In terms of an employer and employee relationship, such as a trucking company and a truck driver, there will almost always be the requisite relationship to hold the trucking company liable for the negligent acts of the truck driver caused during the scope of employment.  This means that a victim of a New Mexico trucking accident can receive compensation for his or her injuries.

Inexperienced Truck Drivers Getting Hired to go Behind the Wheel

If a trucking company hires an inexperienced truck driver, it can also be liable for any New Mexico trucking accidents.  This is because a trucking company needs to adequately train and hire competent drivers.  If a trucking company hires bad drivers or poorly trains them, the trucking company can be liable for negligent hiring or supervision and training.

This is a separate cause of action asserted directly against the trucking company, usually in additional to respondeat superior for the negligent trucking accident.  This can also be a very powerful tool for a victim because it can help establish the negligence of a trucking company when a trucking accident may have facts which hurt the victim’s case, such as bad weather or the victim’s comparative fault.

Contact an Experienced New Mexico Trucking Accident Attorney Today to Go After a Trucking Company That Harms You!

 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.