In Ohio, a recent five-car vehicle crash was determined to have been caused by a dump truck driver who was unable to brake in time after traffic in front of him on a major interstate had stopped. Further investigation into the cause of the crash – and into the dump truck driver who allegedly caused it – revealed that the dump truck driver had received multiple traffic citations. This underscores the need for truck accident victims to request and review the driving record of the at-fault driver in a truck collision. In some truck accident cases, this single document can prove to be quite powerful.
Holding the Employer Responsible for Your Injuries
Where the truck driver is employed by a business and the truck driver’s driving record shows that the driver has previous driving-related convictions, the driver’s employer may be able to be held responsible for your injury accident. This is because most employers are responsible for exercising care and control over their employees while their employees are “on the job.” In the case of a driver with a spotty driving record, the employer’s obligation may require the employer to insist on a period of “clean driving” before hiring the driver, that the driver attend remedial driving courses – or that the employer not hire the driver at all. Employers who fail to take reasonable steps like this to fulfill this obligation may be held liable for the negligent or careless conduct of their drivers.
Just because a driver has multiple traffic violations on his or her driving record does not mean that the driver’s employer is liable for your injuries, however. Your attorney will need to establish by sufficiently-convincing proof that: (1) the driver’s careless behavior occurred while the driver was “on the job”; and (2) the steps that the employer took to supervise or control the driver’s behavior were inadequate, given what the employer knew or should have known about the driver’s history. For example, suppose you are struck by a dump truck driver while the driver is on his way to deliver a load to a jobsite. An employer who knew this driver had multiple driving violations but who insisted that the driver complete a remedial driving course and drive with a supervisor before he was permitted to drive solo may have fulfilled its obligation to exercise due care (which can, in turn, limit the compensation to which you are entitled from the employer).
How To Use a Driving Record at Trial
Driving records of at-fault drivers are useful in settlement negotiations, but using them effectively at trial requires a knowledge of the Kansas rules of evidence. Simply asking the allegedly at-fault driver about his previous driving-related convictions is not usually an effective way to alert the judge or jury to this driver’s history (after all, without the ability to enter the driving record into evidence, the driver can simply lie about the information on his or her driving record with impunity). This is where the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced Kansas truck accident lawyer can prove invaluable – ensuring important documentary evidence is admitted and considered by the court.
Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas truck accident lawyer committed to holding those who cause injury to others accountable for their actions. Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless takes the time to ensure no stone is left unturned when investigating truck injury accidents for his client. If the at-fault truck driver has a spotty driving record, Mr. Lawless will aggressively pursue both the driver and the driver’s employer for compensation, if appropriate. Contact his office today for assistance with your truck accident case by calling (800) 734-3771.