Trucking managers — do you know what the term negligent entrustment means? Well, getting familiar with this term should be a priority. Negligent entrustment is so crucial because it could leave you vulnerable to a lawsuit.
Negligent entrustment allows an individual to recover damages from the owner of a trucking company. When you put a dangerous device, in this case, a truck, in the hands of a driver who is not equipped to handle it, then you could open yourself up for this kind of lawsuit. If another person is injured because of the driver’s negligence, you could be liable for not providing an atmosphere of safety for others. Punitive damage settlements of more than $1 million are not uncommon with these types of lawsuits. In some states, insurance companies are not required to pay for punitive damages, which means that you could be personally liable.
The key to avoiding a negligent entrustment lawsuit is to hire drivers who will get your goods where they need to be in a timely and safe manner.
How Can You Prevent Negligent Entrustment?
One of the best ways to prevent negligent entrustment is to hire the best people to drive for you. Make sure that you have drivers who are competent and well-qualified for the job. Never assign a driver to a post without making sure that they are qualified for the position. Here are some tips to help you avoid a negligent entrustment lawsuit:
- Avoid hiring drivers who are not experienced, as well as those under the age of 18.
- Do not hire drivers who have a history of speeding tickets
- Require that all potential new drivers have a physical to ensure that they don’t have any mental or physical conditions that may affect their ability to drive.
- Ensure that the driver has the proper credentials to drive the vehicle. Most states require a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,001 pounds.
- Make a photocopy of all your drivers’ licenses.
- Keep track of the expiration dates of driver’s licenses.
- Consider using the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Pre-Employment Screening Program when hiring new drivers. This screening will give you information on a potential driver’s accident history and past safety performance.
- Make sure you obtain the Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) for each applicant. You should still do an MVR — even if you do an FMCSA Pre-Employment Screening.
Other Factors That Can Influence a Negligent Entrustment Lawsuit
Other things can influence negligent entrustment penalties — aside from driver error. One of the most critical factors is the safety of your vehicles. Keeping your trucks in top shape can reduce the likelihood of a negligent entrustment lawsuit. Make sure you:
- Have a vehicle inspection checklist and follow it.
- Keep detailed inspection records on file.
- Follow recommended guidelines for vehicle maintenance from the vehicle manufacturer.
Following the above recommendations can help reduce your exposure to a lawsuit and paying millions of dollars in damages. It can also help ensure that drivers transport your goods safely to their destination.
Our team of truck insurance experts can help you get the truck insurance you need to protect your business. We’ll help you get quotes and save money on truck insurance. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.