One of the most common causes of car accidents, which occur frequently on a daily basis, would be negligence. In some auto accidents, only one of the drivers involved in the accident is at fault; in others, there may be multiple drivers that are responsible for the actions causing the accident.

Negligence in terms of auto accidents can take multiple forms. An example of this would be when a driver fails to stop at a stop sign before proceeding. Some other examples for common causes of auto accidents include:

  • Weather conditions, such as heavy fog or rain;
  • Defects in a car or mechanical issues, such as brake failure; 
  • Poor visibility relating to factors other than weather, such as improperly maintained trees blocking the view of the road; 
  • Driving under the influence (“DUI”);
  • Driving while intoxicated (“DWI”);
  • Issues with road signs or stop lights that have not been addressed by county or city maintenance; 
  • Roadwork, such as construction; and 
  • Distracted driving, such as texting while driving.

Auto accidents resulting in injury are governed by the personal injury branch of law. A personal injury damages a plaintiff’s emotional health, physical health, or both. Mental health injuries could include emotional pain sustained by the accident, while physical injuries include injuries to organs, limbs, etc.. The injury sustained need not manifest itself instantly in order to qualify as a personal injury; it may develop over time.

A personal injury can occur intentionally. An example of this would be when the defendant deliberately injures the victim, or intends to commit an act resulting in injury. Personal injury can also occur unintentionally, generally as the result of someone’s negligence.

Who Is Liable If I Am Injured By a Delivery Truck Driver?

Injuries caused by a delivery truck are usually due to the size of the trucks, as they are often larger than a typical passenger vehicle. Additionally, accidents involving delivery trucks frequently involve collisions with pedestrians. This is largely due to the fact that they often enter loading and unloading zones and spaces, which are generally located near pedestrian traffic.

Additionally, there are many ways in which the driver of a passenger vehicle can be injured by a delivery truck. Some of the most common examples include, but are not limited to:

Common examples of injuries resulting from accidents with delivery trucks include:

  • Whiplash injuries, which generally result from rear-end accidents;
  • Broken bones, cuts, and lacerations, especially in accidents involving pedestrians; and/or
  • Head, neck, and spinal injuries.

Although largely dependent on the circumstances, various parties could be held liable for injuries that are caused by a delivery truck. Determining liability is often a complex process, especially in terms of dividing liability between an employer and an employee driving the delivery truck.

If you have been injured by a delivery truck driver, it is likely that you will be able to file a lawsuit against any number of defendants for negligence. Generally speaking, potential defendants that could be held liable for your accident-related injuries include:

  • The truck’s driver;
  • The truck driver’s employer;
  • The trucking company;
  • The truck’s manufacturer;
  • The party responsible for shipping hazardous goods;
  • The truck repair shop;
  • An establishment that served the truck driver alcohol, which caused to become intoxicated before driving, such as a bar or nightclub; and/or
  • The government agency responsible for maintaining public roads if roads being in disrepair was the approximate cause of the accident.

As previously mentioned, the truck driver themselves may be at fault (and therefore held liable) due to:

Can I Sue the Delivery Truck Driver’s Employer?

To reiterate, the truck driver’s employer is but one of many parties you may be able to sue for injuries resulting from an accident with a delivery truck. You can often sue the employer on the basis of the theory of respondeat superior. The theory of respondeat superior simply implies that employers are liable for the negligent acts of their employees. An employer may be vicariously liable for an accident that occurs during the usual course of the employee’s business.

It is important to note that in order to hold the employer liable, the truck driver must be directly employed by the company. What this means is that they must not be an independent contractor of their employer. Additionally, the driver must have been acting in the course of their employment.

If you find yourself considering filing a lawsuit, you may wish to only file against the truck driver’s employer, and not the truck driver themselves. This is due to the fact that you are more likely to recover damages for your injuries from the employer, than you would from the truck driver. Damages awards are intended to cover expenses related to the accident, such as:

  • Medical bills;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of future earning potential;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Property damage; and
  • In cases involving wrongful death, funeral expenses.

Can I Sue the Truck’s Manufacturer? Who Else Could I Sue for a Delivery Truck Injury Accident?

It may be possible to sue the truck’s manufacturer, on the basis of a defective product legal theory. What this means is that the accident occurred because of some defect within the delivery truck, or due to a defective part of the truck. In such cases, liability would be placed on the truck manufacturer or the maker of any of the truck’s parts.

Legal theories regarding defective products fall into the following three general categories:

  • Design Defects: Design defects occur during the design phase of the product’s creation. The defect results from the way the product is designed or conceptualized. An example of this would be if the manufacturer poorly designed the brakes of the delivery truck. This would make it more difficult to stop, and as such is more likely to cause an accident;
  • Manufacturing Defects: These defects occur during the production or assembly part of the product’s construction. They are associated with the way in which the product is put together. An example of this would be if the delivery truck was assembled in such a way that a vital piece is missing. The manufacturer could be held liable if the defect results in an accident or injury; and
  • Warning Defects: Warning defects involve the relevant information included with the product. If the product fails to contain sufficient warnings or information regarding safety risks, the manufacturer could be held liable for resulting accidents and/or injuries.

There are a few other parties you may be able to sue for a delivery truck injury accident. If the delivery truck was carrying hazardous materials, you could sue the shipper. This is especially true if the shipper failed to inform the truck driver or trucking company that the goods were dangerous. Hazardous materials are solids, liquids, or gases, which are considered to be harmful to people, other living beings, property, and/or the environment. 

Another circumstance would be if the truck had recently been repaired, and it is determined that the repairs were completed incorrectly. In such cases, you may be able to sue the mechanic who completed the repairs, and/or the mechanic’s employer. This is an especially common issue when the mechanic has been contracted to perform multiple repairs on a whole fleet of delivery vehicles.

Do I Need an Attorney for Assistance With a Delivery Truck Injury Accident?

If you were involved in an accident with a delivery truck, which resulted in injury, you should consult with an area personal injury attorney. An experienced and local personal injury attorney will be able to determine how your state’s specific laws regarding personal injury liability may affect your legal options, as well as who you may sue for damages. Finally, a personal injury attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.