Every year, approximately half a million accidents involving trucks and similar vehicles occur across the country.
A significant percentage of these accidents involve trucks that are in a rush to deliver food, packages, and other goods to residents and businesses. All too often, delivery riders prioritize quota requirements and speed over safety—to the detriment of unwitting motorists and pedestrians.
A collision with a delivery truck can lead to devastating results. Drivers and passengers of smaller cars are more likely to sustain serious injuries and even death. In the event of an accident, victims need to be aware of their rights and what they can expect from the party at fault.
If you’ve been in a delivery truck accident in New Jersey, make sure that you have a capable delivery truck accident lawyer by your side.
What Are the Common Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents?
Most delivery truck accidents can be attributed to driver error, which includes the following:
- Incorrect or inadequate training
- Backing up and crashing into an object, vehicle, or person
- Failure to yield when merging back into traffic
- Failure to set parking brakes when making a delivery
- Failure to follow traffic regulations
- Failure to perform safety checks or necessary repairs
- Operating a truck while fatigued or intoxicated
Some accidents may also be caused by factors that are beyond the driver’s control such as inclement weather, poor road conditions, or mechanical malfunctions.
No matter the cause of the accident, the results can be catastrophic, especially given the huge size disparity between delivery trucks and the average passenger car.
What Happens After a Delivery Truck Accident?
Delivery truck accidents are typically more complicated than regular traffic collisions because large companies are involved in the claims process. The victim won’t just be going against the delivery truck driver, they’ll also have to deal with the cargo company, their insurance provider, and, in certain cases, a third-party firm.
After an accident involving a delivery truck, here are some of the likely scenarios that the victim should expect:
- The insurance company will contact them to obtain details about the crash. The insurer will attempt to get a recorded statement, which they may use against the victim later on in the claims process.
- The cargo company’s investigators will start gathering evidence, including looking into the truck’s maintenance records and black box, as well as the driver’s service log.
- The cargo company will also have a team of experienced lawyers working on their side to delay, reduce, or deny claims that involve serious injury or wrongful death.
Truck drivers are often held to a higher standard than the average motorist because of the heavy vehicles they’re operating. They’re required to use extreme caution and be more careful and conscientious of potential hazards, especially when there are undesirable road or weather conditions.
However, even though these drivers are held to a higher duty of care, trucking companies often avoid paying victims and their families the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Bringing a claim against a big trucking or cargo company requires the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer who is committed to pursuing the maximum settlement possible for their clients or proceeding to trial, if necessary.
A good truck accident lawyer will be able to help during the investigation and evidence gathering stage to establish and strengthen their client’s claim. They’ll also ensure that their clients won’t make costly errors that can damage their claim.
How is Liability Determined in a Delivery Truck Accident?
Determining who is responsible for a delivery truck accident isn’t easy. Under New Jersey law, delivery drivers may be treated as company employees, which means that the trucking or cargo company should be held liable for any damages that they may cause pursuant to the legal doctrines of respondeat superior and vicarious liability, which hold employers responsible for the actions of their employees. This is not always the case, however, as sometimes delivery drivers are hired as independent contractors. The drivers’ status should be carefully and thoroughly analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine the proper course of action.
Trucking companies are responsible for the on-the-road safety of their employees. They have a duty of care to do the following:
- Ensure that the drivers they hire meet trucking qualifications
- Provide ample training to all drivers and employees
- Equip trucks with industry-grade safety systems such as conspicuity tape, signal lights, and others
- Properly load and secure cargo
- Regularly maintain and inspect all trucks
- Keep complete records of accident reports, driver work logs, and inspection data
- Ensure that drivers follow rules for hours-of-service and get enough rest and breaks to prevent driver fatigue
However, there are certain exceptions. For example, companies such as FedEx and DHL outsource their operations to independent contractors and other delivery companies.
For anyone who is involved in a collision or accident with a delivery truck, it’s highly recommended to hire a lawyer who can carefully assess the case and determine who should be held financially liable. They may also help the victim file claims under their uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) policy or personal injury protection (PIP) policy.
In case of defective automotive parts, they can also help the victim pursue a product liability claim against the concerned manufacturer.
Recent Delivery Truck Accidents
In New Jersey, 78 people were killed in 2019 from collisions involving delivery trucks and other heavy vehicles. Undoubtedly, the consequences of delivery truck accidents can be catastrophic.
Here are some examples of delivery truck accidents that have resulted in deaths:
- In August 2020, a crash involving a sedan and a delivery truck left two people injured and one dead.
- In March 2021, two civilians were killed and two officials from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department were injured after an Amazon delivery truck collided with a patrol SUV.
- In March 2021, a motorcycle rider died after a collision with a USPS delivery truck.
Contact an Experienced Delivery Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The aftermath of a delivery truck accident can be devastating, and the trauma can last a lifetime. Worrying about medical bills and other expenses that might be rapidly accumulating as a result of the crash can get in the way of healing and recovery.
At Grossman Law, we’ll use all our available resources to aggressively protect your rights. We’ll help you understand your legal options, handle communications and negotiations with trucking companies and their insurers, and fight for the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.
Call us now at (732) 625-9494 or contact us by email to schedule a free, confidential consultation.