What Happens If A Delivery Truck Gets Into An Accident?
Despite the best efforts of delivery companies and delivery truck drivers, delivery truck accidents are not uncommon.
Delivery truck accidents are unique and complex as many individuals and entities may be responsible for the crash.
Delivery truck drivers are usually under a lot of pressure to make their deliveries as quickly as possible.
The best intention of a driver to sit the job done quickly can result in careless and distracted driving which may ultimately cause a severe accident.
In the article below, we will discuss what happens if you’re in an accident with a delivery driver.
Table Of Contents
- Who Is Legally Responsible for a Trucking Accident?
- Truck Driver Liability
- Is the Truck Driver’s Employer Liable?
- Common Causes Of Delivery Truck Accidents
- What To Do After A Delivery Truck Accident
- Contact A Commercial Truck Accident Attorney
Who Is Legally Responsible for A Delivery Accident?
A commercial truck accident involves many parties, each with its separate legal responsibilities.
If you are involved in a truck accident, it is important to know what type of defendant you are dealing with.
Three main parties could be liable if you’re in an accident with a delivery vehicle: the truck driver, the truck driver’s employer (trucking companies), and other third-party companies and individuals.
The truck driver is usually the most obvious defendant because they are directly involved in the crash.
For example, a delivery driver might drive too fast on a highway and hit another vehicle head-on.
In that case, the delivery driver could be liable for negligence.
If another company employs the truck driver, that company may also be liable.
Employers, in this case the delivery companies, are often held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees.
Vicarious liability refers to the doctrine where employers are held legally responsible for the negligent acts of their employees.
Some accidents involve multiple defendants.
For instance, a motor vehicle accident could occur due to a faulty auto part.
When that happens, the third-party company that produced the auto part and the delivery company for not doing proper inspections could both be liable.
Truck Driver Liability
Commercial truck drivers are often held accountable for these types of accidents.
If you are injured due to the fault of another person operating a commercial delivery vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer, you could potentially hold the driver liable for financial compensation.
But it’s important to know what types of claims are covered under a commercial auto policy.
A commercial auto insurance policy covers many risks associated with operating a commercial motor vehicle.
These include bodily injury, property damage, medical payments, uninsured/underinsured motorists, cargo liability, etc.
A personal automobile policy does not cover these risks.
The following types of claims are typically covered under a commercial auto insurance policy:
- Bodily Injury – This includes damages resulting from physical contact with another person, including death.
- Property Damage – This includes damages to vehicles and equipment caused by a collision with another object.
- Medical Payments – This covers the cost of emergency care received by accident victims.
- Uninsured Motorists Coverage – This covers damages caused by the negligent operation of a vehicle without adequate insurance protection.
Is the Truck Driver’s Employer Liable?
The law says that employers are liable for workplace accidents involving their employees.
But what about those cases where the injured party is driving a vehicle owned by another entity?
A delivery truck driver is considered an “employee,” even though he drives his truck himself.
This means that the employer is responsible for workplace injuries sustained by the truck driver.
In most states, a commercial motor vehicle owner is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
However, the truck driver could be an independent contractor.
The insurance company and courts look at several factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.
- Whether the worker receives wages
- Whether the work performed is part of the regular business of the employer
- Whether the worker performs work outside of normal working hours
- Whether the worker is free to engage in similar types of work for others
Common Causes Of Delivery Truck Accidents
If you’re wondering what causes accidents involving delivery trucks, here are just a few:
- Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers often work long hours, and sometimes, they drive overnight.
As a result, fatigue can cause accidents.
Many road accidents happen at night.
Delivery drivers should take breaks whenever possible to stay alert and avoid falling asleep.
- Poor Road Conditions
If roads are slippery due to rain, snowfall, ice, etc., then chances are high that a truck might slide off the road.
When roads are wet, drivers must slow down and pay extra attention to their surroundings.
- Improper Loading/Unloading Procedures
When transporting loads, truck drivers must follow specific procedures to ensure safety.
These include loading and unloading cargo properly, ensuring the load is secure, and following traffic laws.
Any deviation from these rules could lead to accidents.
- Incorrectly Maintained Vehicles
Vehicles play a significant role in accidents. A poorly maintained vehicle may not perform well under heavy loads, leading to accidents.
- Unsafe Driving Practices
Driving recklessly can also contribute to accidents.
Speeding, reckless overtaking, improper lane changes, and turning without signaling are unsafe practices that can lead to crashes.
- Heavy Loads
Heavy loads increase the risk of accidents.
Trucks carrying heavy loads will likely lose control and crash if they encounter unexpected obstacles.
What to Do After A Delivery Truck Accident
In case of an accident, you must act quickly to ensure no one gets hurt.
If possible, pull off to the side of the road immediately.
Now check to see if you have sustained any injuries and call 911.
Get Medical Help
Truck accidents can cause severe injuries to some accident victims, while others escape with minor injuries.
Sometimes truck accident victims suffer serious soft tissue injuries like whiplash that don’t show symptoms right away.
These types of injuries are often overlooked because many people don’t realize how severe they can be.
Soft tissue injuries occur when the muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, cartilage, and bones become damaged.
If you’ve been in an accident with a delivery driver, you should seek medical care s soon as possible, no matter how you feel.
This will benefit your overall health and your injury claim.
Collect Evidence AT The Scene
While waiting for the police to arrive, you can start collecting evidence of your own.
The most important thing you can do is take photographs of the scene and the surrounding area.
Try to capture everything that happened, including what might have caused the accident, like a missing road sign or poor road conditions.
Photographs are critical evidence in truck accident investigations.
They help investigators determine how fast the vehicle traveled, where it went off the roadway, and whether anything obstructed the driver’s view.
Document the road conditions, weather, and other factors influencing the investigation.
These include traffic patterns, speed limits, posted signs, and other relevant information.
Also, note the location and lighting around the crash site.
If possible, take multiple images of the same spot to compare the scene over time.
Collect Witness Contact Information
After your delivery truck accident, it is essential to collect witness contact information.
You want to make sure that anyone involved in the accident knows how to reach you and that you can reach them.
Witnesses can provide you with additional information about what happened.
They might even remember something that could help identify those responsible for causing the crash.
Collect contact information such as name, address, phone number, email address, etc.
Get A Police Report
When the police arrive on the scene, be sure to ask them how to get a copy of the police report.
The accident report will contain information about the event that led up to the accident and the circumstances surrounding the delivery truck crash.
Your injury attorney will use the police report to argue against the charges brought against you.
When the police arrive, they’ll ask questions about the accident, including where you were going, if you were speeding, and what the delivery driver did.
Give them every detail you remember, but don’t speculate or give your opinion.
Only tell them the facts of the accident.
Some things you say can be misinterpreted and used against you in your case.
Contact A Commercial Truck Accident Attorney
Securing compensation for your vehicle damages and injuries after commercial truck accidents can be tricky, especially if you don’t know where to start.
A lawyer can help you navigate complex legal issues related to your personal injury case.
They will work hard to ensure you receive fair compensation after experiencing severe injuries.
Contact a truck accident lawyer in Atlanta with The Mabra Firm to help you claim a fair settlement from the insurance company.
At The Mabra Firm, we are a semi-truck accident law firm in Atlanta, and our team of personal injury lawyers will put your needs first.
Call us today, and a truck accident lawyer from The Mabra Firm will handle your case and ensure you get the financial compensation you deserve.
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