Amazon, FedEx, UPS and others have all answered customer calls and rising demands for more deliveries in less time. Lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated the urgent desire to have those wish list items almost instantly. As things begin to unthaw and the new normal resumes, quick store runs are more likely to be cut short by a run-in with one of the delivery trucks rushing to drop-off your new favorite item.
How Delivery Truck Crashes Happen
Be it human error or a mechanical malfunction, there are a variety of reasons that cause delivery truck accidents with other motor vehicles. Some of the most common reasons commercial drivers wreck include:
- Driver negligence (i.e. speeding or distracted driving)
- Poorly maintained delivery vehicles
- Defective vehicle parts
- Drunk, drugged or drowsy driving
- Insufficient training and/or hiring
- Inclement weather conditions
- Limited lines of sight
What To Do if Injured by a Delivery Driver
As with any accident, personal safety and the safety of any passengers comes first. Dial 9-1-1, tend to any apparent or urgent injury and secure the scene as much as possible. When you and your passengers are safe, obtain the following:
- The delivery driver’s name, contact information and insurance information
- Their employer
- Photos of the accident scene including all vehicles involved, debris in the road and any other contributing factors
- Contact information for any witnesses
The driver’s contact, employer, photos and witness information could play an integral part in the pending next steps and potential legal action. However, determining which legal options are applicable to your situation depends on whether or not the driver’s employer and insurance classify as commercial vehicles. This is where legal advice from a personal injury law firm could come in handy.
Types of Delivery Trucks
In Georgia, delivery trucks are classified based on their gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR. This is the summation of the vehicle’s maximum total weight, plus cargo, people, fuel and other fluids together. For example, a vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001lbs. or more is considered a commercial use vehicle, according to Georgia’s Department of Public Safety. Yet, it is not uncommon for delivery companies or their private contractors to attempt avoiding the commercial vehicle rating, starting at 10,001lbs. Regardless of the GVWR classification, if you sustain accident related injuries from a delivery truck crash, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and/or their employer.
Who Is Liable
Uncovering who is legally responsible for a crash can be tricky. Who is liable in the event of injuries resulting from your accident depends on who owns the truck, who holds the insurance and who is at-fault. If you’re wondering whether or not you can sue an at-fault delivery truck driver in Georgia, the answer is usually yes; to sue the individual and their employer, in most cases. Be it Amazon, UPS, FedEx or USPS, the driver’s employer is generally liable for the actions of the employee and any property damages caused while on the job under the Respondeat Superior doctrine. However, in the state of Georgia, if the driver or the driver’s employer is an independent contractor of Amazon, for example, then suing Amazon directly may not be the only option. Identifying the proper party to be sued is important and sometimes is difficult to ascertain.
Such is the case with Amazon. We’ve all seen the blue-gray Sprinter style vans with the indisputable Amazon logo on interstates and roads. Over the last five years, Amazon has purchased approximately 20,000 of the vans, then hired at least 250 subcontracting delivery companies to accommodate the speedy drop-offs. The move was an attempt to relinquish their legal and financial responsibility in instances such as crashes, strikes and the likes. Hiring third-party delivery drivers has resulted in:
- Hundreds of crashes with Amazon branded delivery vehicles
- At least six fatalities
- Several serious injuries
How We Can Help
If you or a loved one’s delivery truck crash in Georgia has resulted in a brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord damage or property damage, we can help you determine who is responsible. Through a third-party lawsuit or an insurance claim, you may be eligible to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Damage done to personal property
- Pain and suffering
There is a two-year time limit on filing your claim, according to the Official Code of Georgia 9-3-33. No matter the circumstances of your case, one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys can help deliver the positive results and restitution you deserve. With more than 80 years of experience with insurance claims and personal injury law, our team has litigated multi-million dollar settlements for colleagues like you.
Call us today for your free case evaluation.