Package delivery services are commercial staples in every city and neighborhood. While their delivery trucks are highly visible and considered a permanent part of the urban landscape, their large size and heavy weight make them formidable if you have the misfortune of being in an accident with one.
Truck accidents lead to serious injuries and extensive property damage due to the sheer mass of these vehicles. While a delivery truck is not the size of a semi-truck, you still face damage that you would not suffer from a typical auto collision. Here are the causes of delivery truck accidents and the challenges they present to plaintiffs.
Causes of Accidents With Package Delivery Trucks
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks caused 150,033 accidents in 2016. This was a slight increase from 145,310 accidents in 2015. Of those accidents, there were 4,422 deaths and 74,957 injuries. This suggests that if you face a collision with a truck, there is a 50% probability that you will sustain injuries.
When a commercial truck is at fault in an accident, the cause is often linked to inadequate driver training and unrealistic schedules. Delivery drivers are not unique. Package delivery services often increase hiring during the holidays to secure enough drivers for inflated demands, leading to training shortcomings when drivers are pushed into working before they are fully trained. Once they start work, delivery drivers are placed on strict delivery schedules which encourage speeding, tailgating, and other unsafe driving behavior.
Long schedules also plague delivery drivers as they would a semi-truck driver. Not only are drivers expected to hurry but they may be doing so under the influence of fatigue. Since they frequently park in precarious areas like small driveways and alleys, crashes may occur due to an improper lookout that arises from a combination of feeling tired and rushed.
Other causes may include poorly loaded cargo and driving in unfamiliar territory. New drivers especially may be distracted by GPS and fail to notice cars stopped in front of them or a red light ahead of them.
Challenges of Bringing Forward a Commercial Truck Accident Claim
If a delivery driver was at fault for an accident, both the driver and the company they worked for can be considered liable. Known as vicarious liability, this legal theory holds employers responsible when employees cause injuries while completing their job duties.
Although both parties would generally be named in a lawsuit, it will likely be the employer, or principal, who would be responsible for any judgment. The employer will refer the claim to their insurance carrier or in-house legal department. Negotiations start there and if the claim escalates, the company may hire outside counsel to handle the case.
Being large corporations, you can rely on these companies to hire expensive and experienced legal counsel. For individuals, paying an accident claim results in higher insurance premiums. But companies have more to lose. An accident is more than just an insurance premium. In some cases, it is bad public relations, often making it worthwhile to them to fight your claim to the end.
If your accident involved the postal service, the case may become more complex. The post office must be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which includes additional procedures for suing any federal government agency. Unless you complete the correct forms and adhere to procedure, your claim will likely be dismissed, and you will not be able to pursue it again in other courts.
No matter what entity you’re facing, you can expect these claims to take time. With a statute of limitations of only three years, you need to act as soon as possible after a truck accident. It can take a while to establish parties, start a dialog, and follow the right procedures.
It is likely your claim will require filing a lawsuit. Not only will the private carriers fight these claims, but since your matter can take a long time, filing a lawsuit is necessary to preserve the statute of limitations. Otherwise, you can lose all rights to pursuing just compensation.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Securing damages against a delivery company is not an easy matter. These cases are not handled like normal auto accident claims and you need experienced legal counsel on your side. Mazow | McCullough, PC offers the experience and dedication you need to file a successful accident claim. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment at (855) 693-9084.