The United States Postal Service reports it processes 23.8 million packages each day. UPS delivers another 24.3 million packages per day, while FedEx delivers another 10 million packages each day. Amazon is only the latest company to flood the roadways with delivery drivers intent on getting their packages to customers faster than their competitors. This means that motorists are at an increased risk of being injured by careless delivery drivers.
If you were hurt in a delivery truck accident, you do not have to go through this ordeal alone. You deserve accountability for the harm you’ve suffered. The delivery truck accident lawyers at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. are here to guide you through the claims process. Contact us today to take advantage of your free consultation.
Delivery Truck Statistics
Nearly 5,000 people died in accidents involving large trucks in 2021, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This represented an increase of about 50% over the number of fatalities involving large trucks in 2009. Most fatal accidents occur during daytime hours, with the peak period being between noon and 3 p.m.
Here are some statistics about some of the largest delivery truck operations in the United States:
Federal Express (FedEx)
FedEx employs more than 600,000 people and operates more than 100,000 vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Company Safety Profile, FedEx vehicles were involved in 354 accidents in a recent two-year period. This included 120 injury crashes and eight fatal wrecks.
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United Parcel Service (UPS) has more than 128,000 drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Company Safety Profile on the UPS, there were 2,895 crashes involving UPS vehicles in a recent two-year period, including 1,015 injury crashes and 65 fatal crashes.
Amazon Flex usually hires contractors who provide delivery services on behalf of Amazon without being direct employees. Due to the relative newness of the service and that workers independently operate, statistics for the company are not as reliable. However, an independent publication, The Information, conducted a five-month investigation and found that the company’s trucks were involved in more than 50 serious crashes in a recent three-year period.
Common Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents
Motorists might think that delivery companies would want to take extra steps to ensure their drivers were safe. However, sometimes the opposite is true. These delivery companies may prioritize speed and efficiency above motorist safety.
It does not take much for a delivery truck to cause significant damage, given its much larger size in comparison to a typical passenger vehicle. Some of the most common causes of delivery truck accidents include:
Delivery truck accidents sometimes occur because drivers might make sudden stops once they realize a delivery address is nearby. They might fail to warn other motorists of their intention to stop.
Another common cause of delivery truck accidents is unsecured loads. When packages are not properly secured, they can shift during transit. They could also fall off the delivery vehicle. Unsecured loads can cause a weight imbalance that can cause the delivery truck to tip over. These shifts can also distract the driver, another potential cause of the crash.
If a driver notices that they missed a stop, they may back up. They might also back up to try to get into a driveway to pull forward when leaving. However, delivery drivers may have large blind spots, which can increase the likelihood of causing an accident when driving in reverse.
Commercial truck drivers have demanding jobs. Some may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. However, these substances can have many negative effects on drivers, including:
- Difficulty judging speed and distance
- Slowed reaction time
- Blurred vision
- Impaired judgment
- Lowered inhibition
Like with other types of commercial drivers, fatigue can set in for delivery drivers who must often drive hundreds of miles and many hours in a row driving a vehicle. This can be exhausting. Furthermore, some delivery drivers work this job as a part-time job to supplement their income, such as Amazon Flex drivers who might work other jobs in the gig economy. This considerable work can wear people out.
When drivers do not get enough sleep or regularly take breaks, they can get drowsy behind the wheel. Driving a truck can be demanding, tending to cause even greater fatigue for drivers. Fatigued driving mimics some of the same signs of impaired driving and can pose a considerable hazard for other motorists.
Drivers who are in a hurry to make deliveries may make sudden turns. They may be about to miss a step in the route and make a dangerous left turn into the path of oncoming traffic.
With Amazon’s promise of next-day delivery, companies are competitive in delivering packages as quickly as possible. Additionally, drivers may be incentivized to make deliveries faster. These factors contribute to creating a culture where speeding is expected or even demanded.
However, speeding is dangerous for all drivers, especially for those behind the wheel of much larger and heavier vehicles. Drivers are more likely to lose control of vehicles at higher speeds. Vehicles that speed require more distance to stop once the driver recognizes a hazard. Additionally, speeding accidents often cause more serious injuries because of the greater force of impact.
All drivers are vulnerable to being distracted while driving. However, delivery drivers may be even more susceptible to distractions because they may be paying attention to their GPS systems for directions, getting alerts about deliveries, and updating their apps.
Distracted driving is prevalent in delivery truck accidents because delivery drivers always check their apps and follow the GPS.
Delivery companies may not offer much training to drivers. Not all delivery vehicles are large commercial trucks that require the extra training and knowledge required of a commercial driver’s license. However, it can still be more difficult to drive cargo vans or larger vehicles than typical passenger vehicles. A small error can lead to disastrous results.
Additionally, drivers may not be familiar with the areas where they conduct deliveries. Amazon Flex drivers bid on blocks of time and are often unfamiliar with the roadways.
Some delivery drivers use their own personal vehicles, which might not always be in tip-top shape. Others may use vehicles that are owned by the delivery company, but they may have significant wear and tear because of so many miles logged on them. Vehicles that are not properly maintained can have problems that can cause accidents, such as:
- Tires that unexpectedly explode
- Brakes that do not properly stop
- Lights that are broken or dysfunctional
- Window wipers that do not function, creating a problem seeing the road in front of them
At Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C., we work tirelessly to pursue the compensation our clients need after being injured by careless delivery companies and drivers.
Who Is Responsible for Delivery Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are sometimes more complicated because many parties may be involved in trucking operations, so it can be difficult to determine liability. Some of the parties who may be responsible for a delivery truck accident include:
Trucking companies are held to a higher standard than other motorists because they are engaged in national commerce and provide a driving service to the public. Therefore, they have a heightened duty to operate their business and fleet safely.
Trucking companies can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their drivers. They can also be held responsible for accidents caused by their own negligence, such as:
- Not hiring qualified drivers
- Not providing adequate training
- Encouraging unsafe driving habits
- Not properly maintaining the vehicles
The operator of the delivery vehicle may be responsible for accidents caused by their negligence, such as:
- Driving while intoxicated or fatigued
- Making illegal traffic maneuvers
- Distracted driving
- Not obeying traffic signals
Sometimes, companies may use vehicles owned by others. In these situations, the owner of the truck may be responsible for maintaining the vehicles. If the accident is due to a mechanical system failure, the owner may be financially responsible for the damages you incur.
In other situations, trucking companies may outsource mechanical work to a third party. If fault repairs or maintenance contributes to the accident, the mechanic may be responsible for the damages.
Cargo Loading Company
A third party may be responsible for loading the cargo. If the cargo shifts during transit or is not properly secured, the cargo-loading company may be to balance.
If the accident was due to a defective auto part, the manufacturer of the defective auto part could be responsible for your injuries.
The legal team at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. can investigate your claim and help build a strong case on your behalf that seeks to hold the appropriate parties responsible for the harm they cause.
Contact a Qualified Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer with experience handling delivery truck accident claims can be a valuable asset. Contact Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. for a free, no-obligation case review.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about delivery truck accidents:
How Can a Lawyer Help Me with a Delivery Truck Accident?
A personal injury lawyer will know how to build a solid claim on your behalf. Lawyers can:
- Obtain police reports
- Subpoena records from the delivery truck company, including personnel records, incident reports, driver’s logs, vehicle inspection reports, and electronic logging device data
- Review the circumstances of the case to determine all potentially at-fault parties
- Obtain video footage from dash cams, traffic cameras, or surveillance cameras
- Handle claim paperwork and manage deadlines
Who Decides How Much My Case Is Worth?
While the delivery company may try to dictate how much your case is worth, you are under no obligation to accept their evaluation. An independent investigation can help identify the full extent of the harm you suffered because of another party’s negligence. Our team can carefully assess your case to determine if any settlement offer you receive adequately covers your injury-related expenses.
What Happens If I Don’t Accept a Settlement Offer?
You have the right to refuse a settlement offer. If you do not believe the settlement will fairly compensate you, we wouldn’t recommend accepting it, either. If you decline a settlement offer, we can still continue negotiating your claim. It’s possible the insurer will offer a higher amount. However, if the insurer is being unreasonable, we can file a lawsuit that demands fair compensation. Even after filing a lawsuit, we may still be able to settle your claim without going to trial.
To learn more about your legal options, contact our Chicago-based delivery truck accident lawyers.