For sure, the holiday season is full of fun and joyful moments. However, the rush of traffic and the flood of shoppers can sometimes pose hazards. And one of the most dangerous aspects of this season is the greater number of delivery trucks out on the road.
Of course, internet shopping is here to stay. It’s a huge social and economic force, and delivery companies bring billions of packages to customers during the holidays.
However, if a delivery truck were to collide with your vehicle — or strike you when you’re walking, running, or riding a bike — it could be devastating. And, in such a situation, you would definitely need an outstanding attorney.
Let’s examine why holiday delivery services can be unsafe at times, what steps you should take if you’re ever involved in this type of accident, and how the right lawyer would prove invaluable.
When Holiday Deliveries Become Dangerous
Delivery truck drivers obviously have hectic schedules between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day: longer workdays and more packages to drop off.
Indeed, many of these drivers travel all over the country during this season, and many of them work at night. That’s because most delivery companies still rely on trucks rather than airplanes for transporting packages across long distances.
Naturally, those longer hours can easily lead to fatigue and drowsy driving. Some delivery companies don’t encourage their drivers to take breaks, either. To the contrary, there are unscrupulous delivery businesses that ignore federal rules governing how many hours people may work each week.
A delivery company might even force its employees to drive without rest periods — and to dishonestly report in their logs that they took breaks.
On top of that, with those punishing schedules, some drivers feel they must take certain risks behind the wheel. That way, they can make sure all of their packages arrive on time.
For instance, a driver might start speeding, and speeding so often causes collisions. That’s especially true whenever visibility is poor: at night or in snow, sleet, hail, or freezing rain.
As it is, the month of December can be extra dangerous for driving. The roads might be icy. Piles of snow can make turning and parking harder. It gets dark early. And, as mentioned, there are so many shoppers with whom to share the road.
In addition, due to all those extra packages, delivery companies usually need larger workforces during the holidays. Thus, they hire seasonal employees.
Unfortunately, in many cases, temporary drivers have less training and less experience operating large trucks. And they might not be accustomed to driving for so many hours at a time. Therefore, such a worker would be more likely to make a serious mistake on the job.
What to Do After a Delivery Truck Accident
Whenever you’re driving near a delivery truck, you should take extra care. Proceed cautiously and defensively. Keep your distance, and try to stay out of the truck’s blind spots. And always wear your seat belt!
Even if you’re really cautious, though, there are instances when you just can’t avoid colliding with one of those vehicles.
With that in mind, here are three things you ought to do at the scene of a delivery truck accident.
1. Deal With Your Injuries
The first thing you should do, without question, is take care of yourself. Look over your injuries, and try to discern how bad they are.
If you’re bleeding, put a bandage on, or cover your wound with a clean cloth and apply pressure. Also, call 911 right away. And don’t move if you’re gravely hurt.
If other people are with you, the person who seems to be the least injured could make the call and wrap up other people’s wounds.
Furthermore, depending on the severity of your injuries, you should go to the emergency room or see your physician. Either way, get medical help as soon as you can. And yes, see your doctor even if you feel fine and don’t have a scratch on you.
It’s possible to suffer internal injuries, sometimes serious injuries, without noticing any symptoms for hours. In fact, symptoms might not show up for a few days.
2. Collect Evidence If You Can
If you aren’t badly hurt at the scene, it’s important to gather pieces of evidence. For one thing, you should approach the delivery professional and ask for that person’s contact information.
Also, write down the truck’s registration number. It will probably be printed on the side or the front of the driver’s compartment, which is known as the cab. If you don’t see the registration number, however, request it from the driver.
At this point, you’ll want to take as many photos on your phone as you can. Those images should be as clear as possible. If you’re with someone else, that person could likewise take some pictures.
Remember to photograph your vehicle, the delivery truck, your injuries, other people’s injuries, the roadway, and any road signs or other items that could help assign blame for the crash. And take those photos from various distances and at different angles.
Were other people around when the accident happened? If so, try to get their names and contact info, and ask them to describe what they saw as you record their voices on your phone. If, for some reason, you aren’t able to record audio, take notes on what they say.
It’s a good idea to invest in a dashboard camera as well. That way, you might be able to capture an accident on video.
3. Stay Calm
In all of this, it’s crucial to remain composed and focused. Even if you feel enraged or horrified, strive to set such feelings aside.
Take a deep breath, and remind yourself that there will be time to seek justice later on. If you can speak to everyone — especially the truck driver — in a calm and rational way, you’ll receive more accurate information. In turn, you’ll strengthen your legal case.
At the same time, say as little as possible. In fact, beyond giving the truck driver your contact info, try not to say anything at all.
For example, if the driver asks you what you were doing just before the crash, respond politely and respectfully that you can’t answer such questions at this time. After all, anything you say could later be used against you at a negotiating table or in a court of law.
Indeed, even if you’re not at fault, an opposing lawyer could intentionally misconstrue your statements. As a result, it might seem like you were accepting liability even if you didn’t mean to. Moreover, it’s easy for people to misspeak when they’re under stress.
Also keep in mind that, even if you were partially at fault, you still could be entitled to some compensation.
How the Right Truck Accident Attorney Could Help You
Soon after the accident, you should hire an experienced truck accident attorney. A lawyer who specializes in these cases will have the sharpest understanding of the applicable laws. Consequently, this person is likely to craft the most effective legal strategies for you.
Be aware that the delivery service’s insurance company might offer you a settlement deal promptly. That’s particularly true if the truck driver was clearly at fault. And you might be tempted to accept that settlement, especially if it sounds like a large sum of money.
However, do not accept that deal. If you’re offered money right away, it almost certainly means that the insurance company believes you’re entitled to a lot more money, and it’s trying to avoid giving it to you.
In fact, when you accept an initial settlement offer, you’ll sign away your rights to any additional compensation. Then, if your accident-related costs suddenly increased — if you found out that you needed surgery, for example — you wouldn’t be able to receive any extra funds.
Instead of settling, your accident attorney could thoroughly investigate the crash, determine the extent of the truck driver’s liability, and calculate all of your expenses. Those amounts could include lost wages, medical costs, vehicular damage, and pain and suffering.
With that total in mind, your lawyer could hold firm while negotiating and, if necessary, take your case to court. And, all throughout this process, your attorney will make convincing arguments on your behalf.
Have you recently been a victim in a delivery truck accident? Are you looking for an excellent law firm in the vicinity of Humble, Texas? If so, know that we at the PM Law Firm could provide you with excellent legal representation.
We have deep knowledge of federal law as well as Texas law, and we have a long track record of successful outcomes in this area. Above all, we won’t stop fighting until you get what you deserve from the delivery company that’s wronged you.
Yes, the peace of mind that a great attorney can provide might be one of the greatest holiday gifts of all.