Today’s drivers share local streets and highways with a seemingly endless number of delivery vehicles. FedEx, UPS, Amazon, and other major companies have a veritable army of drivers delivering their packages daily. Often, these drivers deliver packages that have been conveniently ordered by consumers online, and online shopping has been picking up over the years. In 2020 alone, online sales volume increased by 45%, which is expected to continue growing. You may expect to see even more delivery vehicle accidents cruising down local roads in the months and years ahead.
Currently, delivery drivers are faced with long work hours and big demands for efficiency by their employers. It is reasonable to expect these on-the-job stressors to escalate as the demand for delivery services increases. The job performance of delivery drivers is evaluated based on factors like how many deliveries they complete during their shift. In some cases, drivers cannot go home until their packages are delivered. This is why you can often spot delivery drivers who are frantically driving from stop to stop. In the process, they can cause serious delivery vehicle accidents.
In some cases, major delivery companies use third-party contractors for hiring and managing drivers, which may insulate them from accepting liability for their poor business practices. Nonetheless, improper management, poor training, and even negligent hiring practices by the major delivery company or a third-party company may be blamed for the accident.
Our law firm has been fighting for the rights of victims of delivery vehicle accidents for years. Suppose you have been injured by the negligence of a delivery driver or a related party. In that case, you can count on us to provide you with the dedicated legal guidance and representation you need.
The Difference Between Employed Delivery Drivers and Independent Drivers
Our legal team will take one of the first steps to serve your critical needs is to determine who the negligent parties are. By determining who may be at fault in your case, our legal team can pursue justice fully and may recover fair compensation for the losses that you have suffered. One important distinction that must be made up-front is whether the driver is an employee, a third-party driver, or an independent driver.
It is important to note that a driver who moves goods across state lines is legally classified as an employee regardless of employment. If the goods remain within the state’s boundaries, a driver could be an independent contractor. However, other factors must be analyzed to make the final determination. For example, was the driver in a company vehicle? Does the driver exclusively work for one company? Does the company have liability insurance? These factors may impact whether the company can be held liable. This can affect the total amount of compensation available to you after an accident because major corporations often have higher limits on their liability coverage.
Common Causes of Delivery Vehicle Accidents
Today’s delivery drivers have not benefited from commercial drivers’ training. They are pressured by strict deadlines that could impact their pay and job security. Often, they are distracted by instructions on a phone or tablet, and they are navigating through streets that may not be familiar to them. More than that, long hours can result in fatigue. While these are common causes of delivery vehicle accidents, there are many other causes. These include:
- Inadequate hiring practices and driver screening
- Improper driver training programs
- Inexperience operating a commercial vehicle
- Requirements to use a corporate-issued phone or tablet
- Poor management and supervision practices
- Incentives to work more efficiently
- Poor driver retention programs
- Failure to comply with state or federal regulations
- Improper loading of cargo
- Poor maintenance of the delivery vehicle
- Distracted driving
- Unexpected or quick stops
- Improper reversing
- Failure to use the parking brake
- Improper turning
- Impaired driving
Corporate Focus on Profits Over Safety
For a corporation, delivering more packages in less time equals higher profits. However, it can also lead to serious accidents with delivery vehicles that may have otherwise been avoided. According to the Bureau of Labor, delivery drivers and related professionals were involved in more than 1.5 million accidents in the United States last year. As the demand for deliveries increases, more inexperienced, tired, and stressed delivery drivers may be on the roads. These drivers may be under even greater pressure to work as quickly as possible. With this in mind, the number of delivery vehicle accidents could be on track to increase shortly.
At one time, corporations could only hire drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License. This means that even inexperienced drivers had a minimum level of training in driving a commercial vehicle. This requirement is no longer in place. Corporations are often encouraged to hire inexperienced and untrained drivers with a standard driver’s license because of their urgent and growing need for workers.
Drivers may have hundreds of packages to deliver throughout a typical workday. Their job performance may be based on efficiency, so they are motivated to cut corners and may be more inclined to drive recklessly. At the same time, they may not be properly supervised in their work activities, and they may be distracted by the delivery equipment the company requires them to use.
The unpleasant truth is that corporate greed inspires major corporations to place profits over safety. They have been found liable for any delivery vehicle accidents over the years, and they may be held accountable in a court of law for your recent accident. However, because each case is unique and there are times when liability lies elsewhere, it is important to seek a professional consultation with one of our attorneys as a first step.
Determining Liability for Your Delivery Vehicle Accident
Our litigators have many years of experience working on injury accident cases involving delivery vehicles. We understand how important it is for you to obtain the full compensation available to you under the law, and you can count on us to fight for you in and out of the courtroom. When you meet with our experienced legal team, we will initially review the facts of your case to determine liability.
The delivery company is partially or fully liable for the incident in many cases. Whether your accident involves a delivery driver working directly with Amazon, FedEx, UPS, or another company, that company could be deemed liable even if the driver was a contract worker or was employed via a third-party company.
Keep in mind that there are many instances when more than one party is liable. For example, depending on the circumstances of your case, the driver and the company may both be held liable through the legal system. Auto maintenance providers, the municipality, the vehicle manufacturer, and others may also be liable and may be included in your lawsuit. For example, if improper maintenance or faulty replacement parts played a role in the accident, the auto shop where the vehicle was serviced could be liable.
The amount of liability insurance coverage carried by the responsible party can impact the compensation available to you through a lawsuit. Some major delivery companies have liability coverage of up to $5 million. However, the majority of the deliveries may be made by owner-operators. At UPS, for example, 9% of its 60,000 workers are owner-operator delivery drivers. Owner-operators may carry far less insurance, so the amount of compensation available may be lower.
Our litigators always take time to review the facts of each case individually. We can accurately determine who may be at fault in your delivery vehicle accident and how much compensation may be available to you through our diligence. Compensation from an injury accident may cover medical expenses, loss of income, rehabilitation, vehicle repairs, and many other expenses. You understandably need to obtain the full amount of compensation possible, and we will work hard to deliver the best outcome available under the letter of the law.
Remember that insurance companies and delivery companies are often well-represented by corporate lawyers. These lawyers have extensive experience defending their clients against cases like yours. It would be best if you worked with a law firm that can effectively fight for you against the most well-represented defendants, and we are the lawyers you can trust with your case.
Request a Consultation with Our Team Today
After an accident with a delivery vehicle, you understandably may be focused on recovering and trying to move forward. However, expenses can mount quickly. Evidence from the accident can become lost, and memories can fade. It is important to seek legal consultation with our team of litigators as soon as possible after your accident. Contact our law office today by phone or through the website to discuss your unique situation with us.