It can be difficult to travel down Texas streets and highways without seeing delivery trucks. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the United States alone, tens of billion packages on average are delivered to homes and businesses each year. These packages are delivered by more than 1.5 million busy and often distracted drivers. At least through 2029, the number of commercial delivery drivers may grow by roughly 5% annually. The number of packages delivered may climb as high as 200 billion in 2025.
Any driver is at risk of having a collision with a delivery truck. Just as the number of both deliveries and delivery drivers has increased recently, the number of related accents has also increased. If you are the victim of a delivery truck accident, it is important to understand your rights and what steps to take to avoid unnecessary distress.
Common Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents
The top delivery providers, such as UPS, Amazon and FedEx, have overwhelmingly been involved in the majority of delivery truck accidents. For example, between 2015 and 2017, 2,003 UPS drivers were in accidents. FedEx drivers were in 442 accidents between 2017 and 2019. Many of these resulted in serious injuries and fatalities. Based on data from the CDC, Texas had more large-truck fatalities in 2018 than any other state.
What is causing so many delivery truck accidents? One of the many causes is speeding. Delivery companies often have strict standards for productivity, and some drivers may feel that they need to speed in order to meet those standards. Drivers also may be looking down at their next delivery address or navigation instructions, speaking to a dispatcher or trying to find a specific address rather than paying attention to the road. In some cases, they may be doing all of these tasks at the same time. Such distractions take a driver’s attention off of others who they are sharing the road with, including vehicles, bikers and pedestrians.
While the number of delivery drivers is growing, there is considerable turnover in the industry as well. This means that some of the delivery drivers that you travel by are inexperienced. They lack experience in managing a big truck or van, stopping frequently for deliveries and avoiding distractions. Often, inexperience is related to poor training practices by the delivery company. Whether a driver is experienced or not, he or she may be more likely to cause an accident when driving while fatigued. While some instances of fatigue are caused by a late night, others may be caused by an incredibly demanding work schedule imposed by the delivery company. This may be particularly prevalent during the holiday season.
Drivers also may simply drive recklessly. This may include failing to observe traffic signs, running red lights, not altering driving behavior in inclement weather, using a handheld device, driving aggressively, passing unsafely and others. Unsafe driving also includes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, a driver may not be familiar with the roads that he or she is driving on. The driver’s overall health can be a cause of a collision as well. For example, a medical emergency or a health condition that is not properly controlled could affect the ability to drive safely.
In some cases, the driver may do everything right on the road, but an accident is the result of the vehicle itself. Delivery companies may face liability issues if their vehicles are not properly maintained. This includes everything from servicing the brakes and tires to the axles, suspension and more. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMSCA, has established regulations regarding commercial vehicle inspections. Even when the delivery company has taken proper care of a vehicle, the truck’s parts may be defective and result in an accident.
The truck’s cargo could also play a role in a delivery truck crash. For example, the cargo may not be loaded properly, or it may not be secured. Issues with the cargo movement on the road can be distracting to the driver. In addition, it may result in cargo falling out of the truck and causing a roadway event.
Types of Delivery Truck Accidents
While delivery truck accidents are unfortunately common, there are many types of accidents that result in vehicle damage, injuries and fatalities. Regardless of whether the incident is related to an unintentional mistake, negligence or something else, different types of accidents can have devastating effects. One type is a truck rollover, which may occur as a result of a collision, speeding, losing control of the vehicle in bad weather conditions and more. A tire blowout could also result in a rollover accident or a collision with one or more other vehicles.
In addition, when the truck’s mirrors are not properly positioned or the driver fails to check blind spots, a collision could occur. This is an example of driver negligence that often results in a side collision. Numerous issues may lead to a rear-end collision or a head-on collision. For example, a distracted driver or speeding could cause a rear-end collision. A head-on collision could be caused by not being familiar with roads, driving recklessly and more.
What to Do After a Delivery Truck Accident
The specific steps that are recommended after an incident with a delivery truck may vary by the circumstances. However, there are several general steps that will play a role in your well-being as well as in your ability to build a strong legal case and recoup the damages that you may be entitled to under Texas law.
For example, at the scene, if police and EMS do not arrive due to someone else’s 911 call, you should contact these first responders and request their presence. Keep in mind that some injuries are not obvious immediately after a collision. This may be because of the high level of adrenaline that may be running through your body. A trained professional should examine you at the scene. If this does not happen, you should visit the emergency room for a thorough exam as soon as possible after the crash.
If you and the delivery driver are well enough to communicate, exchange insurance information. In addition, get the driver’s contact information and the contact information for his or her employer. Avoid saying anything about the incident to the driver or witnesses. You may, however, need to make a statement to the responding police officer if you are healthy enough to do so. Any statements may be used as evidence against your insurance claim and legal case.
You or someone else should also spend a few minutes gathering evidence that can be used to build a case. An important step is to take pictures of the vehicles and the surroundings from various angles. If you are not healthy enough to do so, ask someone to help you. You should also get contact information for any witnesses.
After the crash, you may be contacted by the driver’s insurance company, the delivery company or both. Avoid making any statements as they could be used against you. Refer them to your attorney. Likewise, you should not accept a settlement offer outright. Your attorney should review any offer and ensure that it is fair. Keep in mind that you cannot negotiate for additional compensation once you have accepted the terms of a settlement.
As soon as possible after the crash, you should connect with an experienced lawyer. This should be a personal injury lawyer with a solid track record. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and decide what your best course of action may be.
The Personal Impact of a Delivery Truck Accident
A crash with a delivery truck can be a devastating event. In many cases, having a damaged or totaled vehicle is only one of many effects that can result in significant stress and expense. Many victims require medical attention after a crash. This may include emergency room care, imaging and lab tests, surgery, overnight hospital stays, ongoing medical attention that may last for months or longer and more. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the victim may not be able to work. Regular bills and medical bills could become overwhelming because of a lack of income. In some cases, the victim is disabled and can no longer work in his or her profession going forward. There is also emotional trauma to consider. Some crashes result in fatalities. This can result in significant financial hardship for the victim’s dependents. Your attorney will work hard to ensure that you are properly compensated after a delivery truck collision.
Under Texas law, all drivers are required to take financial responsibility for their actions on the road, including both intentional and negligent actions. In some cases, the driver may not be to blame. Some accidents may be attributed to the delivery company, an auto maintenance company, a parts supplier or another party. These parties can also be brought to justice through a personal injury case.
Request a Consultation Today
Under Texas law, a victim of a delivery truck accident has two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit. Unless you act before the statute of limitations is up, you may not be able to seek compensation for the variety of damages that you have suffered. Our attorney at PM Law Firm is available to meet with you for a no-obligation consultation. During the consultation, we can give you information about the strength of your case, the financial value of the case and what you can expect during the legal process. Schedule your consultation by calling PM Law Firm today.