The surge in online shopping has created an insatiable demand for goods as Americans continue to enjoy the luxury of having things they need or want delivered to their doorstep. A direct consequence of this modern-day convenience is the substantial increase in delivery trucks in our neighborhoods, streets and freeways – not only in Los Angeles, but also statewide in California. A variety of companies from Amazon and UPS to FedEx, USPS and DHL deliver millions of packages to households and businesses in California.
As delivery trucks proliferate, it has also become more common to see accidents involving these trucks. Lack of sufficient training, distractions and tight deadlines often contribute to delivery truck accidents. If you have been involved in a California delivery truck accident, the experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at the Vaziri Law Group are here to help.
Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents
Here are some of the most common causes of delivery truck accidents:
Sudden stops: When a delivery truck driver makes a sudden stop, he or she might cause another vehicle to rear-end the truck. An example is when a truck driver looking for a delivery address comes to a sudden stop. In such cases, the delivery truck driver could be held liable for causing the rear-end collision.
Sudden turns: Truck drivers who are under constant pressure to deliver under tight schedules could end up making sudden turns that result in collisions at street intersections. Such movements could also cause serious injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.
Backing up: Larger delivery trucks in particular could have large blind spots, which could result in collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists while backing up.
Parking brake: Some delivery truck accidents occur when a driver, in a rush to deliver the items, forgets to engage the parking brake before exiting the vehicle. The truck could roll back and cause significant damage to others on the roadway.
Improperly secured loads: If the goods are not properly secured or if the truck is overloaded, the driver may lose control of the truck. Items that fall off the truck pose a serious hazard for other drivers.
The injuries and damages that occur as a result of a collision between a delivery truck and passenger vehicle can be severe. Such a traumatic event could result in substantial physical, emotional and financial hardship. Here are some of the damages you may be able to receive after a delivery truck accident:
- Medical expenses
- Cost of future medical care
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage and property loss
- Permanent injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life's enjoyment
California's Statute of Limitations
California has a statute of limitations under which you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the accident. The clock starts ticking on the day the delivery truck accident occurs. Not filing your truck accident lawsuit within this deadline can result in you not being able to pursue compensation for your accident-related losses. Our legal team can help you secure the crash report and other crucial evidence necessary to strengthen and substantiate your case. We will also help you file the lawsuit within the deadline to ensure that your rights are protected and that your damages are accurately calculated.
Injuries After Delivery Truck Accident
An accident involving a delivery truck could result in major or even catastrophic injuries including:
- Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries that affect the back or neck, which could result in paralysis
- Serious bone breaks or fractures that could require extensive rehabilitation and ongoing treatment
- Burn injuries that could cause scarring and disfigurement
- Torso and limb injuries including amputations
- Internal organ injuries that could prove fatal
- Emotional and mental health issues from depression and anxiety to PTSD, which could require counseling or long-term therapy
The medical care you need in the aftermath of a delivery truck accident might also include emergency room care, hospital admissions, pain medications, medical equipment, and rehabilitative therapy. These are all damages and losses that should be included in your delivery truck accident case.
California Vehicle Code 17150
California Vehicle Code Section 17150 states: "Every owner of a motor vehicle is liable and responsible for death or injury to person or property resulting from a negligent or wrongful act or omission in the operation of the motor vehicle, in the business of the owner or otherwise, by any person using or operating the same with the permission, express or implied, of the owner."
This essentially means that an employer is responsible for the actions of their employees during the time of their employment. For example, if a person is employed as a delivery truck driver and causes a crash that results in injury to another person, the truck's owner and/or operator can be held liable, and can therefore be sued for compensation by the injured victims.
There are a number of parties who can be held potentially liable for a delivery truck accident:
The Delivery Truck Driver
If the driver of the delivery truck is an independent contractor as opposed to an employee of the delivery company, you may be able to sue the driver individually. The other driver's insurance company might offer you a settlement. Your Los Angeles delivery truck accident attorney can help you pursue additional avenues of compensation.
The Delivery Company
A delivery company can be held liable for the actions of its employees. If a driver who is employed with a trucking firm or corporation causes an accident because of his or her negligence or wrongdoing, the injured victim can bing claims against the company in addition to bringing claims against the at-fault truck driver. In California, the employer is vicariously liable for employees' negligence and wrongdoing if those acts are committed within the scope of employment.
A Third Party
In some delivery truck accidents, a third party such as another driver, a roadway maintenance crewmember, a governmental entity or vehicle/product manufacturer may be held liable for the delivery truck crash. In such cases, the injured victims would sue the third party in addition to the delivery truck driver and/or the company.
Protect Your Rights After an Accident
If you were injured in a delivery truck accident, do not discuss your case with the trucking company (such as UPS, Amazon or FedEx) or an investigator for the company's insurance company. It would be in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will look out for you and protect your legal rights every step of the way.
At the Vaziri Law Group, we will help maximize your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your losses after a delivery truck accident. We have a long and successful track record of representing severely injured victims and their families. Call us today to find out how we can help you.