When you think of a serious truck accident, you probably picture an 18-wheeler jackknifed on the interstate with cars backed up for miles. Today, however, with the growing popularity of online commerce, delivery trucks going door to door in neighborhoods across the country are responsible for a significant number of wrecks. Even if you haven’t received shipments from them yourself, you might have noticed an increased number of delivery trucks bearing the logos of the top transporters in your area:
- FedEx delivery trucks have been involved in nearly 500 crashes since 2019. In many instances, the FedEx driver was responsible.
- United Parcel Service (UPS), with nearly 6000 trucks and more than 20,000 trailers in its fleet, employs thousands of drivers, a significant number of whom have caused accidents in the course of delivery.
- Amazon, alone, makes in excess of two billion deliveries per year and employs a huge team of drivers. The high turnover that comes with such a large driving force affects hiring and training.
Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents
Unlike semi-truck drivers, who are required to hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and undergo extensive training, delivery truck drivers are often held to lower standards, depending on factors like the size and weight of the vehicles they operate. Furthermore, with drivers coming and going every day, a large company might not always have time to provide proper training or screen applicants’ backgrounds thoroughly. Casual hiring practices and insufficient training can lead to:
- Reckless driving to meet deadlines. Delivery drivers work under tight time restrictions to deliver goods as promised. In doing so, they might break speed limits or take other chances that could cause accidents.
- Lack of familiarity/distraction. A delivery driver navigates unfamiliar neighborhoods every day, usually paying attention to the GPS device in the vehicle. This kind of distraction makes it hard to keep their eyes on the road and increases the likelihood of striking other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Stopping quickly. A driver who sees the right house number at the last second and slams on the brakes to stop suddenly could cause a rear-end collision if a car is close behind.
- Reversing. If a driver passes a house or building and has to back up, it can be hard to see cars or people behind the truck.
- Poor maintenance. Because the delivery trucks of busy companies are in use for long hours daily, proper maintenance might be neglected or consigned to a negligent third-party repair service. Failure to maintain delivery trucks can lead to tire blowouts, brake failure, steering problems, or burnt-out lights.
- Loading issues. Some delivery drivers load their own cargo and might not have any knowledge of proper loading procedures. If cargo is improperly loaded by inexperienced or untrained personnel, the resulting unbalanced load could make a truck hard to control and/or lead to a rollover accident. If packages should fall out of a rolled-over truck, they could cause multiple accidents among nearby vehicles.
- Drowsiness and fatigue. With so many deliveries to make and staffs sometimes short, drivers often work long hours. By the end of a tiring day, they might be fatigued, drowsy, or even asleep at the wheel.
Who Is Liable After a Delivery Truck Accident?
Any time a truck strikes a passenger car, the damage to the car and its passengers’ injuries can be serious and expensive. If you’re injured in a crash with a negligent delivery truck driver, you may file a claim against the insurance company for your damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
This might not be as easy as it sounds if you’ve been hit by a commercial vehicle. More than one of the parties below could be fully or partially liable for your damages:
- Truck driver
- Delivery company
- Truck owner
- Truck leasing company
- Truck manufacturer
- Truck repair service or parts manufacturer
Each of these potential defendants might have a different insurance company, and each insurance company has adjusters and attorneys paid to devalue and deny claims. Correctly identifying the liable parties and negotiating to get fair compensation requires the services of an experienced attorney.
Have You Been Injured in a South Dakota Delivery Truck Crash?
An experienced truck accident lawyer can identify the at-fault parties and help you seek fair compensation while you recover. Contact us online or call us at 605-306-4100 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.