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Defending Motor Carrier Claims for Negligent Entrustment, Hiring, Training, and Retention

Discovery, Apportionment of Fault, Strategies for Averting Punitive Damages, and More

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will discuss how to defend motor carriers against negligent entrustment, hiring, training, and retention lawsuits. The panel will guide counsel through the claims handling, evaluation, and discovery process; historical, emerging, and waning defenses; and the impact of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.


Claims against a trucking company for negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention may seek and may result in increased compensatory damages, punitive damages, expanded discovery, and evidentiary and admissibility advantages for the plaintiff. Motor carriers should perform reasonable investigations into all employees to ensure that an individual's past history does not indicate that they would be unsuitable in their position, especially for safety-sensitive positions like truck drivers.

In many jurisdictions, however, defendant trucking companies can avoid duplicative claims for negligent supervision and limit the evidence at trial by admitting vicarious liability for their driver's negligence under the theory of respondeat superior since this admission would prevent plaintiffs from also pursuing negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention claims.

Other jurisdictions allow both claims to proceed simultaneously, inquiring into factors such as the adequacy of the employer's pre-hiring investigation and continued oversight of the employee. Understanding how different states' courts address this issue is critical to establishing your litigation strategy.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses the latest developments in negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention claims against motor carriers and insurance companies and best practices for discovery, evaluation, and trial.



  1. Negligent entrustment, hiring, and retention
    1. Elements of each claim
    2. Jurisdictional differences in claims
  2. Overview of strategies to prevent claims
  3. Impact of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations and the kinds of records you need to ensure your client is in compliance
  4. Importance of effective background investigations
  5. Discovery strategies
    1. Plaintiff
    2. Defense
  6. Affirmative defenses and motion practice
    1. Defense
    2. Plaintiff
  7. Certain kinds of evidence/strategies arguments at trial
    1. Plaintiff
    2. Defense


The panel will review these and other crucial issues:

  • What makes negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention claims unique and challenging for personal injury plaintiff and defense counsel?
  • What are the legal and practical considerations for personal injury attorneys pursuing negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention claims?
  • What defenses are often raised in negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention claims, and how does the plaintiff's counsel respond to these defenses?
  • What documentation can be used to support a claim or defense for negligent hiring, training, entrustment, or retention claims and how do defense counsel confirm that their client is in compliance with applicable regulations on document retention and oversight?
  • What is the role of background checks in negligent entrustment cases?


Hansen, Sarah
Sarah E. Hansen, Esq.

Burden & Hansen

Ms. Hansen is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on defending personal injury cases. She represents...  |  Read More

Miller, Jeffrey P.
Jeffrey P. Miller

Gentry Locke

Mr. Miller is a member of the firm’s Civil Defense Litigation practice group. He represents his clients in...  |  Read More

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