As a personal injury lawyer, I keep track of news articles related to personal injury and wrongful death cases. Each month, I review verdicts, settlements and newspaper articles about accidents and lawsuits. Recently, I learned about an accident involving a FedEx truck that ran over an elderly woman who was walking in a crosswalk in a nearby suburb. I searched for an article about the accident online but could not find it. However, I did come across many, many articles involving truck – on – pedestrian accidents involving various delivery trucks, including FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service and Amazon.
The surprising number of pedestrians who are injured or killed by delivery trucks was a surprise. However, after thinking about it, it should not have been surprising. The fact is that the volume of delivery traffic has increased significantly with the success of online retailers. The simple fact is there are more delivery trucks, therefore, there are more accidents involving delivery trucks.
Generally, when the driver of a delivery truck is negligent for any violation of existing traffic rules, including failure to yield, failure to maintain an insured clear distance ahead, rear ending a vehicle, hitting a pedestrian who has the right-of-way, crossing the centerline or collisions caused by distracted driving such as texting. A delivery truck driver might also be held liable for a parking violation that leads to a crash with another truck, car, bus or bicyclist.
When the driver is liable for the pedestrian’s injuries or death, or the wrongful death or personal injury sustained by the driver of another vehicle, that liability is imputed to the wrongdoing driver’s employer. This is a long-standing law that holds employers vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employee. In legalese, this is called respondeat superior. Because the employer is also held responsible, the employer carries insurance to cover losses from any accident caused by one of their drivers. Since these are large corporations with many drivers, their insurance limits are adequate to cover any loss, no matter how large.
Delivery trucks pose additional dangers that are not posed by normal passenger vehicles. For example, delivery trucks engage in frequent stops. They are substantially heavier than passenger cars, making stopping more difficult. The drivers are distracted by looking for addresses and reviewing paperwork. Due to its size, the delivery truck has blind spots, including the inability to see small children in front of the vehicle. Further, delivery drivers are incentivized to complete their deliveries in a speedy fashion, in order to complete their day at a reasonable time. Finally, the delivery service maintains tracking information that can show whether the driver was speeding from one stop to another at the time of the crash.
Oftentimes when a pedestrian is injured due to a collision with a truck or car, the driver of the truck or car has insufficient insurance limits to cover all of the damages caused by the injury. However, when an individual is struck by an employee of a large corporation, this concern does not apply and a full recovery should be had. In order to learn what damages are recoverable in a collision with a delivery truck, delivery van, big box truck or semi-tractor-trailer, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases.