Delivery Driver Accident Liability Cases: Who is Accountable?
Over the past year, we’ve seen the number of online shoppers in America grow. Recent surveys revealed that there were a total of 268 million shoppers in 2022 alone. And experts predict that this number will increase to 285 million by the time 2025 comes. As a result of this growing demand, the number of trucks doing deliveries has increased. And with it, the number of accidents involving package delivery drivers.
The Bureau of Transportation states 13 million trucks are operating nationwide. And while it’s great that both industries are thriving, their success comes with a catch.
Now that more trucks are on the road, delivery-related car accidents have grown. In 2020, over 439,206 trucks were involved in police-recorded crashes. This number alone proves just how common these fatal incidents have become ever since.
And to make matters worse, establishing liability in accidents caused by delivery drivers is complicated. If you or anyone you know were in a delivery truck accident, we’re here to help.
This blog will discuss who should be liable for delivery accidents and how to successfully file a claim against them.
Before deciding who should be held legally responsible, we must discuss how employment affects liability.
There are different types of delivery drivers: contract and employee drivers. Contract drivers are those who work for independent contractors. Service providers like Instacart and DoorDash hire these people.
Meanwhile, employee drivers are hired directly by companies. These are your FedEx or UPS drivers. The company hired them directly to deliver packages to their customers.
Liability depends on which type of driver is the at-fault party. Suppose they work for a company like FedEx. In that case, they typically have an insurance policy they can use for car accidents.
So long as the accident happened during a delivery, they can use that insurance to cover the damages.
However, things get more complicated if they’re contract drivers.
Since they’re considered independent contractors, drivers working for companies like Instacart can be held responsible for delivery accidents. They’re the ones who will have to deal with the victim’s claims. The company will only offer help if the delivery driver’s primary insurance provider denies them coverage.
Victims can also file a claim against the trucking company in some cases.
Figuring Out The Employer’s Liability
Truck companies are required to follow these regulations before operations:
- Hiring drivers licensed and trained to use commercial trucks
- Checking if their drivers have a valid CDL endorsement with no disqualifying violations
- Ensuring that their vehicles have all the critical safety features it needs
- Maintaining a healthy work environment
These rules help keep our highways safe for everyone. And when companies don’t follow them, they can be held liable for accidents.
In the event that a mechanical failure caused a car accident during delivery and the driver didn’t own the truck they were using, liability is then transferred from the driver to the owner.
Delivery truck owners are expected to keep their fleets safe. They’re responsible for giving their units regular and routine inspections. Victims can file a lawsuit against them if they are found guilty of sending out an unsafe truck.
Another instance where you can hold an employer responsible is when their driver’s behavior causes a delivery accident.
Aside from keeping their trucks safe, truck companies are also expected to vouch for their drivers. They’re expected to hire someone with a clean record trained to drive commercial trucks.
If an applicant has multiple driving violations, but they are hired anyway, the company can be liable for endangering motorists.
Lastly, they can be held responsible if they’re guilty of pressuring their drivers to skip rest breaks. The Occupational Safety and Health Association says there are plenty of documented cases where employers reward drivers who skip their mandatory rest breaks.
It’s a common practice in the trucking industry to skip rest breaks to get their deliveries done faster. But this often leads to fatal delivery accidents. The NHTSA estimates that 40% of major truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue.
Let’s say you believe that the driver was tired during the incident. In that instance, you could use this against the employer.
What to Do After a Delivery Truck Accident
The first thing you need to do after getting into an accident involving a delivery driver is to get immediate medical care. Your well-being should be your main priority before anything else.
Once you’ve recovered from the accident, you must find an experienced attorney to help you build your case.
Delivery driver accidents are vastly different from normal crashes since they involve more parties. You need to determine liability, which can be difficult to do alone. Your chances of winning will only increase if you work with a professional.
When they get your case, there are two things they’ll do first; gather evidence and negotiate.
A strong case is built on concrete evidence. Your lawyer will gather all the evidence from police reports, witness accounts, and video footage taken from the accident.
In certain cases, they may even hire an expert to look at your damaged vehicle and determine how the accident happened. If you believe that the delivery driver was tired during the accident, they’ll check their driver’s logbooks.
Federal regulations have set a maximum number of hours drivers can spend behind the wheel daily. For instance, if a delivery driver had a 14-hour shift, they must wait at least 10 more hours before they can start driving again.
If they exceed that number because of their employer’s expectations, your lawyer could suggest you file a claim against the company instead.
Once your attorney has built a strong case, they’ll start negotiations with the at-fault party. This stage of the claiming process is extremely stressful. Insurance companies will offer you a low settlement and try their best to get you to accept it.
Negotiating with them will only further cause stress for you and your recovering family. So instead of facing them alone, you can get one of Adamson Ahdoot’s team of experienced lawyers.
Seek Legal Help from Adamson Ahdoot
Adamson Ahdoot is a full-service civil litigation firm with over 100 years of combined legal experience handling delivery driver accident liability cases. With our help, you can trust that the best lawyers will handle your case with the intimacy and attention to detail of a boutique firm with the expertise of a larger one.
Our team will help you negotiate with the at-fault party and help you get the settlement amount you deserve. We’ll use the evidence we’ve gathered to determine the true value of your claim and help you assess any settlements they may offer.
We proudly serve a diverse clientele with their delivery accident claims and offer free English and Spanish consultations. Call us at (800) 310-1606 and start building a robust case today.
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