Accidents involving delivery vans are becoming increasingly common. With the rise of online shopping and the growing demand for fast deliveries, we’ve seen a proportionate rise of delivery van crashes on our roads. As with any type of accident, delivery van collisions can lead to serious damage and injury, and determining liability for these damages is crucial for all parties involved. This raises the question: Who is liable for an accident with a delivery van? Read on to learn about the factors that influence liability in delivery van accidents, as well as your options for potential legal recourse.
Different types of delivery van accidents
Delivery van accidents encompass a wide range of incidents, and can have a variety of different causes and repercussions. These accidents typically occur when a delivery van collides with other vehicles, pedestrians, or stationary objects, sometimes resulting in significant property damage, injuries, or even fatalities. Some delivery van accidents are the direct result of driver negligence, as in the case of traffic law violations or drunk or distracted driving. Other accidents may arise from factors outside anyone’s control, such as adverse weather conditions. However, regardless of the cause of a delivery van accident, victims may be entitled to compensation.
Establishing liability: delivery van drivers
The delivery van driver bears primary responsibility for ensuring safe operation of the vehicle. If a driver engages in negligent or reckless behavior, such as speeding, distracted driving, or disregarding traffic regulations, they can be held liable for the resulting damages and injuries. In these cases, demonstrating that a driver’s negligent or reckless behavior directly contributed to the accident and subsequent damages is crucial for holding them accountable.
However, it’s important to note that in some cases, the driver may be an employee acting within the scope of their employment, and the employer may share liability. This means that the employer can be held responsible for the actions of their employees.
Vicarious liability: employer responsibility
Employers can be held vicariously liable for their employees’ actions during the course of their employment. If the accident occurred while the driver was performing job-related duties, including making a delivery on behalf of the company, the employer may share responsibility for the consequences. This will most likely be the case for companies that use their own fleet of directly-employed drivers, as opposed to independent contractors.
For example, UPS drivers are considered direct employees of the company and are subject to employment contracts and regulations set up by UPS. Many companies use a combination of employees and contractors, as is the case for Lowe’s and Home Depot. Many large grocery store chains, such as Wal-Mart and Publix, use their own employees for deliveries in addition to third-party delivery services like InstaCart and DoorDash. Meanwhile, some companies rely primarily on independent contractors, such as FedEx or Amazon. If you were involved in a delivery van accident, the employment status of the driver may play a significant role in your case.
Contractual arrangements and independent contractors
In some cases, large companies may engage independent contractors or third-party logistics providers to handle their delivery operations. While this arrangement can potentially limit the company’s direct liability, it does not absolve them entirely. Companies still have a responsibility to ensure that the contracted drivers or service providers meet certain standards of safety and reliability. If a company fails to exercise due diligence in selecting dependable contractors, or if they exert significant control over the contractor’s operations, they may be held liable for accidents caused by these contractors.
Other parties that may be held liable
Liability for delivery van accidents may extend beyond the driver and the employer. If a third party, such as another driver or pedestrian, behaves negligently or recklessly and causes or contributes to the accident, they may be held liable. In other instances, accidents may result from defects in the delivery van or its equipment. If a defect in the vehicle, such as faulty brakes or defective tires, contributes to the accident, the manufacturer or supplier may bear liability for the resulting damages or injuries.
Filing a claim for damages in a delivery van accident in Mississippi
If you have been involved in a delivery van accident and suffered damages or injuries, you may be entitled to file a claim to seek compensation. While the exact steps may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you consider your legal options. One of the most important steps you can take is gathering evidence to support your claim.
Keep all of your medical documentation, such as medical records, doctor’s bills, and photos of your injuries stored in a safe place. Compiling evidence of the scene of the delivery van accident is also crucial, so hold on to any police reports, photos of the scene, and witness statements you may have. Most importantly, reach out to a reputable delivery van accident attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options.
Experiencing a delivery van accident can lead to emotional trauma, physical pain, and a pile of bills for injuries and property damage. But victims of these accidents should not have to face these challenges alone. At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., our team of experienced delivery van accident attorneys can determine if you have an actionable case, and help you recover the compensation you deserve. You may be entitled to damages for your medical expenses, personal property, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Reach out today to any of our Mississippi locations for your free consultation. We proudly serve Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, Oxford, Tupelo, and the Gulf Coast. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
Since 1982, Merkel & Cocke, P.A. has offered thorough, aggressive legal representation on behalf of clients throughout Mississippi. As one of the largest plaintiffs’ personal injury law firms in the state, we consider it our duty and our honor to serve the people of our communities, and to uphold their rights in court. Our reputation is such that other law firms turn to us when they need legal counsel, and our business has grown through the years because of the referrals of these attorneys, who trust us with their needs and the needs of their clients. We are the firm you can trust when there are challenges ahead. To schedule a free consultation, please complete our contact form.