Delivery Truck Accidents

Americans utilize delivery trucks for just everything, even if they don’t think about it. Delivery trucks crisscross Tennessee roadways all day and all night, much more so over the last decade. Online shopping has exploded in popularity, particularly in the post-COVID era. The influx of delivery trucks has led to an increase in delivery truck accidents, and these incidents have a disproportionate effect on those inside smaller passenger vehicles.

Delivery Truck Accidents

What Causes Delivery Truck Accidents?

Accidents involving delivery trucks can occur on highways and on roadways in and around Nashville. These incidents can occur anywhere. Some of the most frequent causes of larger delivery truck accidents in Tennessee include:

  • Driver fatigue. Delivery schedules are often tight, and drivers may work long hours to meet deadlines, leading to fatigue. Tired drivers aren’t going to have the same reaction times and are more prone to making driving errors.
  • Distracted driving. Delivery drivers often use navigation devices and other electronic equipment that can divert their attention from the road. Additionally, the pressure to meet delivery times can lead them to use mobile phones while driving, further increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Improper loading. Unlike logging trucks, delivery vehicles carry a wide variety of goods that need to be properly secured and balanced. Improper loading can cause cargo to shift, leading to loss of control of the vehicle.
  • Frequent stops. Delivery trucks make frequent stops, often in busy urban or residential areas. Sudden stopping can lead to rear-end collisions, particularly if the truck does not have clearly visible signage.
  • Poor maintenance. Regular, quality maintenance is critical for the safety of delivery vehicles, which are subject to heavy use. Brake failures, tire blowouts, and other mechanical failures can lead to serious accidents.
  • Inexperienced drivers. Many delivery companies hire seasonal drivers who may not have adequate experience driving larger vehicles. Truck driver inexperience can contribute to accidents, particularly under challenging driving conditions.
  • Speeding and reckless driving. To adhere to tight delivery schedules, drivers may speed or engage in reckless driving behaviors such as unsafe lane changes and not yielding the right of way.
  • Limited visibility. Delivery trucks often have larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. Drivers who are not vigilant about checking these blind spots can easily miss other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles.

Unique Challenges for Delivery Truck Drivers

Delivery trucks operate in a variety of environments, from congested city streets to rural roads, each presenting unique challenges:

  • Navigating tight spaces. Urban deliveries often require maneuvering in narrow streets, which can lead to collisions with other vehicles, street furniture, or buildings.
  • Interaction with pedestrians. In residential areas, delivery drivers must be constantly aware of pedestrians, particularly children and pets, who may unexpectedly enter the road.

Who Could Be Held Liable for a Delivery Truck Collision in Tennessee?

Determining liability for a delivery truck accident in Tennessee can be challenging. The reality is that there may be several parties responsible for a single delivery truck accident, even if only one or two parties are actually present at the incident. For example, a delivery truck driver may be directly responsible for causing the incident, but a company that driver works for may also be held responsible.

Some of the parties most likely to be held liable for a delivery truck accident include:

  1. The delivery truck driver. The driver can be held liable if the accident was a result of their direct actions, such as speeding, distracted driving, or other negligent behaviors.
  2. The delivery company. If the company failed to properly train the driver, did not perform the necessary background checks, or pushed drivers to meet unrealistic schedules that led to fatigued driving, it could be held liable. Additionally, poor maintenance of the delivery vehicle can also point to negligence on the part of the company.
  3. Vehicle maintenance providers. If a third-party company is responsible for maintaining the delivery truck and the accident was caused by vehicle failure that should have been prevented by regular maintenance, this provider can also be held liable.
  4. Manufacturers of the vehicle or parts. If the accident was caused by a defective vehicle or part, such as faulty brakes or tires, the manufacturer might be liable under product liability laws.
  5. Other motorists. Sometimes, other drivers’ actions can contribute to or cause an accident involving a delivery truck. These drivers can also be held liable if their negligent behavior, like running a red light or aggressive driving, leads to a collision.
  6. Government entities. If systemically bad road conditions or inadequate signage contributed to the accident, local or state government entities responsible for road maintenance and safety might be held accountable.

Independent Contractors and Liability Shielding

Many delivery companies and larger retailers classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. This classification can significantly impact liability:

  • Shielding from liability. By using independent contractors, companies often attempt to shield themselves from liability associated with the actions of their drivers. Under this arrangement, the company might argue that it does not control the driver’s day-to-day activities and, hence, should not be held liable for their misconduct or negligence.
  • Challenges in liability claims. This classification can complicate the process for victims seeking compensation because it becomes more challenging to hold the company accountable for the actions of their drivers. The legal difference between an independent contractor and an employee is nuanced and often subject to litigation at various federal and state levels.

Types of Compensation Available for a Delivery Truck Crash

Individuals harmed due to the negligent actions of a delivery truck driver or company may be able to recover various types and amounts of compensation. The outcome of a claim will depend on several factors, but an attorney can help victims on the path to recovering both economic and non-economic damages. This includes coverage for:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • All ongoing medical costs
  • Property damage expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning potential compensation
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages

A truck accident lawyer in Nashville can help you and your loved ones understand the best options moving forward for recovering this compensation.