The answer to this question, as frustrating as it may be, is, “maybe.”
When you’ve been severely injured in a crash, and potentially even permanently disabled, it may not seem right that the truck driver who hit you gets away and keep their job, but it’s a mistake to assume that every trucker you may encounter on the road has a perfect driving record.
A trucking company may even argue it shouldn’t be considered negligent for hiring or continuing to employ a truck driver who was previously involved in a crash, depending on how the crash happened.
According to insurance industry research, the average person will get into a crash roughly every 18 years. That’s just while commuting to work and completing their typical errands. Meanwhile, some truck drivers are behind the wheel for up to 11 hours a day while working 60 hours a week. Just statistically speaking, even the most cautious truck driver’s chances of getting into a crash are way higher than the average person.
According to the CDC, more than one-third of truck drivers have been in at least one crash during their career, and one-in-eight truck drivers have been in multiple crashes. Here’s what happens next when truck drivers are involved in accidents.
VIDEO: Gary Bruce discusses the difference between lawsuits involving box truck crashes and those involving 18-wheelers.
Why a Driver May Not Be Fired
After a crash, the chances of a driver being fired will generally come down to whether the crash was the truck driver’s fault (and not all crashes are) and the responsibility of the employer. If the trucking company recognizes the driver is not responsible, it likely won’t fire the driver. No one would argue that decision, until they look at the facts sometimes.
For example, a crash may be caused by another driver, if a truck collides with another vehicle because that vehicle’s driver cut in front of them suddenly and without signaling. Likewise, a truck may crash because of inclement weather. In cases like these, the trucking company may not discipline the truck driver involved in the crash, even if another driver was injured.
Trucking companies can themselves be liable for failing to properly maintain their trucks, so if a breakdown occurs on the highway that made the driver lose control, the trucking company would be at fault, but not necessarily the driver. Since the truck driver was not at fault for the crash, it would likely be easy for them to get a job with another trucking company if they were fired as a result.
Related Reading: Truck Crashes Can Be Caused by Bad Maintenance
If you are unsure who can be held liable for your injuries after a wreck with a commercial truck, contact our firm for a free case consultation.
Why a Truck Driver Can Be Fired
Truck drivers can be and are fired for many valid reasons when they cause avoidable crashes, including:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: It’s unfortunately common for some truck drivers to turn to stimulants to help them stay awake on long drives.
- Driving recklessly: This can include speeding, texting while driving, and acts of road rage.
- Ignoring company safety protocols: Some safety checks may not be legally required, but are required by the trucking company. When drivers skip these steps, their employers are within their rights to terminate their employment, just like can happen in any other industry.
- Ignoring federal safety protocols: The trucking industry is heavily regulated, including how long a truck driver can work at a stretch without a break. If a driver is caught breaking these rules, it may be difficult for them to get another job in the trucking industry at all!
When a Driver CAN’T Be Fired
Not all truck drivers are employed by the company whose goods they are transporting. Many truckers are independent contractors who own their own trucks. While the trucking company may then not hire that particular contractor again in the future, the driver is free to continue working unless their commercial driver’s license (CDL) was suspended because of the crash.
A CDL may be temporarily suspended for many reasons, including driving under the influence and excessive speeding (typically driving 15 miles over the speed limit or higher), although it will usually take being cited for more than one violation within a span of three years before a license is suspended.
We Help Victims of Commercial Truck Crashes
The most important thing after a large truck crash is not making sure the other driver is fired. Leave that issue to their employer. Our number one concern is making sure that you get the money you need to recover physically, mentally, and financially from your crash.
Secondly, we believe irresponsible truck companies should be accountable for their decision if they allow a bad driver to remain on the road.
Truck crashes often result in devastating injuries, and trucking companies will be working hard to make sure you don’t get the money you deserve, in order to protect their own profits.
With our experienced Georgia and Alabama big truck crash attorneys on your side, we will make sure your damages are recovered, and the only thing you need to do is relax and focus on healing.
Contact our firm today for a free case consultation.