There are many ways a driver of a passenger car can be injured by a delivery truck, such as a rear-end, a side-swipe, and even being crushed by the underside of the truck. Injuries that are caused by a delivery truck may be very serious due to the size of delivery trucks, which can often be larger than a typical passenger automobile. In addition, delivery truck accidents can also frequently involve collisions with pedestrians, as they often have to enter loading/unloading zones and spaces near pedestrian traffic.
Common delivery truck injuries include:
- Whiplash injuries (usually resulting from rear-end accidents);
- Broken bones, cuts, and lacerations (especially in those accidents involving pedestrians);
- Head, neck, and spinal injuries; and/or
- Various other types of injuries.
Depending on the circumstances, various parties might be held liable for injuries that are caused by a delivery truck. In such cases, determining liability can sometimes be complex, especially when it comes to sorting out liability between an employer and a delivery truck employee.
Who is Liable If I am Injured by a Delivery Truck Driver?
If you are injured by a delivery truck driver, you will likely be able to file a lawsuit against any number of defendants for negligence. Possible defendants who may be held liable for your injuries include:
- The truck driver;
- The truck driver’s employer;
- The truck company;
- The truck manufacturer;
- The shipper of hazardous goods;
- The truck repair shop;
- An establishment that served the truck driver alcohol, thereby causing him to become intoxicated (such as a bar or nightclub); and/or
- The government agency responsible for maintaining public roads.
The truck driver may be at fault because of errors made while driving, fatigue, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How Can I Sue the Truck Driver’s Employer?
You can often sue the truck driver’s employer on the basis of the theory of respondeat superior, which means that employers are liable for the negligent acts of their employees. The employer is vicariously liable for an accident that occurs during the usual course of the employee’s business.
However, in order to hold the truck driver’s employer liable, the truck driver must be directly employed by the company, and must have been acting in the course of his employment; he must not be an independent contractor of his employer.
You may wish to file suit only against the truck driver’s employer, and not the truck driver, because you are more likely to recover damages for your injuries from the employer than from the truck driver. Damages may often cover losses like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other costs.
On What Basis Can I Sue the Truck Manufacturer?
You can sue the truck manufacturer on the basis of a defective product legal theory. This means that the accident occurred because of a defect within the truck, or a defective part of the truck. Liability would then fall to the truck manufacturer or the maker of any of the truck’s parts. Defective product legal theories fall into three general categories:
- Design Defects: These types of defects have their basis during the design phase of the product’s creation. Here, the defect has to do with the way the product is designed or conceptualized. In the context of a defective delivery truck or delivery truck parts, an example might be where the manufacturer poorly designed the brakes of the truck, making it more difficult to stop and more likely to cause an accident.
- Manufacturing Defects: These occur during the production or assembly part of the product’s construction. Here, the defects have to do with the way the product is put together. For instance, if a delivery truck is assembled in a way where an important gear is missing, the manufacturer might be found liable if the defect results in an accident or injury.
- Warning Defects: These types of defects have to do with the information included with the product. If the product doesn’t contain sufficient warnings or information regarding safety risks, the manufacturer might be liable.
Who Else Can I Sue for a Delivery Truck Accident?
If the goods contained in the truck were hazardous, meaning that they were solids, liquids, or gases that are harmful to people, other living beings, property, or the environment, then you can sue the shipper. This is especially a concern if the shipper failed to inform the truck driver or truck company that the goods were dangerous.
It the truck had recently been repaired, and it is determined that the repairs were performed incorrectly, then may be able sue the mechanic who did the repairs and/or the mechanic’s employer. This is a particularly common issue especially where a mechanic has been contracted to perform repairs on a fleet of delivery vehicles.
Should I Hire Lawyer for Help with a Delivery Truck Accident Lawsuit?
If you were in an accident involving a delivery truck driver, and wish to recover damages for your injuries, you should consult local personal injury attorney. An attorney near you will be able to provide you with guidance for your case, and can provide representation during court meetings and hearings.