Negligent Hiring Claims and Commercial Vehicle Liability
Phoenix Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another, then you may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to Arizona law. It’s worth noting, however, that the lawsuit may change depending on whether the defendant was operating a “commercial vehicle.”
If the defendant-driver was operating the vehicle for a commercial purpose — in other words, if they were an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment — then you might have legitimate, actionable claims against their employer on the basis of vicarious liability and negligent hiring theories of liability. Claims against an employer are valuable for a number of reasons, chief amongst them the fact that employers tend to have deeper pockets and more to lose by going through litigation (i.e., their commercial reputation), and as such, you’re likelier to secure full and adequate damage recovery in litigation against the employer.
Let’s explore negligent hiring claims.
Independent Employer Negligence and Negligent Hiring
Negligent hiring claims are “independent” claims brought against the employer for their own contribution of negligence in a commercial vehicle accident — they are quite unlike vicarious liability claims, which impose liability on the employer for the negligence perpetrated by the employee.
In Arizona, you can hold the employer liable for both negligent hiring and for claims falling under the vicarious liability umbrella.
Thus, in order to succeed in establishing liability in a negligent hiring lawsuit, you’ll have to show that the defendant-employer actually acted in violation of the standard of care and thereby contributed to your injuries.
Negligent hiring can be difficult to understand, so let’s use an example to get the basic concepts across.
Suppose that you are injured in an accident involving a commercial driver who was driving while distracted by their cell phone (texting) — perhaps a delivery driver for a local business supply warehouse. You consult an attorney for assistance. As the investigation deepens, you discover that the employer hired the driver despite knowing that they had a long and consistent accident history, most of which involved distracted driving. It seems clear that the employer negligently hired the driver, given that they knew about the heightened risk of harm.
Negligent Hiring Issue Must Be Linked to the Accident
Importantly, negligent hiring will not lead to liability unless the “negligence” actually contributed to your injuries. For example, if a commercial driver struggles with alcoholism (and the employer hired them despite knowing of the alcoholism), then you cannot succeed in establishing liability for negligent hiring unless you show that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. If the driver was not intoxicated, then the “negligent hiring” issue is irrelevant to the injuries caused.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Accident Lawyer for a Free and Confidential Consultation
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience handling claims on behalf of those who have been injured in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, including those that involve a commercial vehicle.
Commercial vehicle accidents may implicate the employer of the driver, thus giving rise to additional complications (and opportunities). Since our founding, we have secured over $100 million on behalf of our clients, through favorable verdicts and settlements.