Who is Liable if a Delivery Truck Hit My Car?December 3, 2021
With more people working from home recently, more people are doing online shopping. This means an increase in deliveries, including probably to your own home. Although many of these deliveries come directly from Amazon, they also include other methods of delivery.
The issue with Amazon, however, is that they have recently moved away from using these more traditional methods, such as the United States Postal Service. This means that Amazon now uses private companies or their own trucks to make many deliveries. With more trucks on the road, more car wrecks occur. If you have been involved in an accident with a delivery truck, you may not know where to go for compensation. An experienced lawyer can help.
Sources of Liability
When you get into an accident that is not your fault, your sole focus is on your health and recovery. The last thing on your mind is figuring out who is to blame for your accident and working to hold them legally accountable for your expenses. Although this is probably not front of mind for you, it needs to be for someone. Your lawyer can help you by shouldering the legal burden of proving someone else is to blame for your delivery truck accident and work to hold them accountable for your medical bills and other financial losses. The most common places to look for liability follow.
Delivery driver. The most obvious place to look for liability after any vehicle accident is the driver. The same is true of delivery truck accidents.
Because delivery drivers must meet tight deadlines and make lots of deliveries every day, they are often on the move constantly and quickly. When any driver, including a delivery truck driver, acts negligently or recklessly, it can cause an accident, and you could suffer injuries. A driver is said to be negligent or reckless when they drive in such a way that it is likely an accident could occur and another person could be injured.
If you suspect the delivery driver was speeding, driving too fast for the road conditions, or driving in some other reckless manner, they could be liable for your accident and injuries. Proving this may require additional evidence and documentation that your lawyer could help you obtain.
Delivery driver’s employer. If a delivery driver is on the clock when an accident happens, their employer may also be liable for the accident and any injuries you suffer. Normally, this is a straightforward process. If the delivery driver was on the job and an accident happened, the employer may hold liability in addition to the driver.
However, Amazon makes this much more difficult. Amazon generally does not directly employ their delivery drivers. Because Amazon either contracts out to other companies or classifies its own delivery drivers as independent contractors, it may be able to avoid liability.
Delivery truck owner. Because Amazon does not always directly employ the delivery truck driver, they may also not own the delivery truck itself. In some accidents, the owner of the truck may hold liability, especially when there was something wrong with the vehicle.
Delivery truck owners are responsible for keeping their fleet safe for the road. This means the vehicles need to receive regular and routine inspections to correct any problems. If necessary maintenance was not performed on a vehicle and an accident happened, the delivery truck owner may also hold liability for any injuries you suffer.
Amazon. If a driver was employed by Amazon or if Amazon owned the delivery truck, you may be able to hold the company accountable for your accident and injuries. There is one other way that Amazon may be responsible, and that is if Amazon carried insurance on the specific truck or driver.
When Amazon has insurance on the truck or driver, that commercial insurance policy may kick in and help cover your expenses. However, as is the case with nearly all insurance companies, Amazon’s insurance will not be thrilled or quick to pay out your claim. Having a trusted legal advisor at your side can help you overcome these challenges.
Scope of Employment
This is an important piece for determining liability when there is a relationship between the delivery driver and the delivery company. Determining whether a delivery truck driver was working in the scope of employment at the time of the accident is key to whether a company such as Amazon would also hold liability for your accident. If Amazon is liable, it may increase the likelihood and amount of your financial recovery, but proving scope of employment is no easy task.
Courts usually look at several factors to determine whether a delivery truck driver was working within the scope of employment when your accident happened:
- Whether the driver was clocked in
- Where the driver was going
- The type of work the driver was performing at the time of the accident
- Whether the driver was engaging in a personal activity
- If the driver was doing something the employer should have reasonably expected
- Whether the driver acted maliciously
If, at the time of the accident, the delivery truck driver was pulling out of a gas station after filling up the delivery truck, that would probably be within the scope of their employment. Even if the driver went into the gas station and purchased a bottle of water, that would reasonably be considered to be within the scope of their employment.
However, if the delivery driver was heading to the gym in their delivery truck when the accident occurred and they had no more deliveries for the day, that would probably not be within the scope of their employment. There is a fine line here that an experienced legal team can help you overcome.
No matter who caused your delivery truck accident, you will need to deal with an insurance company. For many delivery truck accident victims, they get excited when they receive a phone call from the insurance company soon after their accident. Their hope is that the insurance company is calling to pay their claim.
Actually, the insurance company may be calling to strong-arm you. The insurance company does not want to pay you a dime, let alone pay out what could be a very expensive claim. Therefore, they will try to offer you a quick settlement, hoping that you do not think about the consequences. Their settlement offer will not be in your best interest and will not be their highest offer.
However, they will certainly tell you that this offer is the absolute best they can do and that you must take it right away. When the insurance company pressures you this hard to take their initial settlement offer, your best bet is to pause.
If you take the insurance company’s settlement offer, you will waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for this delivery truck accident. If you get months or years down the road and still have medical bills or other financial losses related to your accident, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money. You will have to shoulder the financial burden going forward.
That is why it is best to have a trusted lawyer review any settlement you receive before you sign it. Once you sign it, there is no going back. Your lawyer can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, oftentimes increasing the amount of money you can receive.
Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Injured Drivers Recover from Delivery Truck Accidents
From small delivery vans to large delivery trucks, delivery vehicles are whipping around town, making as many deliveries as possible. Sometimes, that results in accidents. Knowing who is liable can present challenges and may be determined by how the delivery company is structured. If you have been injured in an accident involving a delivery truck, reach out to the experienced Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will thoroughly examine the cause of the accident and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.