Every New Yorker has noticed the influx of delivery trucks on Long Island and New York City since the pandemic. Online shopping services are booming. People are getting anything and everything delivered straight to their homes: groceries, clothing, medications, meals, and even cars!
Unfortunately, as the rate of delivery vehicles on the road rises, so does your risk of getting into a truck accident. FedEx and UPS trucks spotted several times a day on city streets are bulky, awkward, and sometimes make risky maneuvers to deliver their packages on time. When delivery truck drivers are not paying attention or participate in negligent reckless driving, serious and fatal accidents are inventible, especially when it comes to pedestrians, cyclists, and small motor vehicles on the road.
Trucks that drive for companies such as FedEx and UPS are categorized as commercial vehicles and are subject to all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (F.M.C.S.A.) laws. Due to their size and weight, commercial trucks can cause extensive damage in an accident compared to pedestrian vehicles, often resulting in permanent and fatal injuries.
Drivers of delivery vehicles are responsible for sharing the roads and using safe driving practices– it’s their job. Additionally, delivery companies have a duty to hire well-trained employees with good driving records that can operate their trucks safely. When delivery truck accidents occur due to driver negligence or recklessness, both the driver and the company could be liable for any damages sustained.
Federal Regulations for Delivery Truck Drivers
Driving a delivery vehicle is no small fret. FedEx and UPS trucks carry heavy loads on congested and fast-paced streets. It takes well-trained and observant drivers to operate these vehicles with care; this is precisely why the F.M.C.S.A. requires drivers and companies to take precautionary steps and follow all federal vehicle regulations to prevent accidents.
Maintenance and Inspections
Federal law requires all commercial vehicles to undergo regular inspections. These checks allow drivers to spot safety concerns and defects before they cause harm. Vehicle inspections should be conducted before each trip to ensure proper maintenance of vital functions, including fluid levels, tire pressure, brakes, engine health, and lights. If any safety concerns are found during scheduled inspections, the vehicle should be taken out of service until the problems are fixed.
Hours of Service
The F.M.C.S.A. limits the number of hours a commercial driver can operate to reduce the number of accidents caused by driver fatigue. Currently, drivers are prohibited from driving longer than 14 consecutive hours. Overnight and extended hours can cause drivers to nod off at the wheel, swerve over lane lines or into guardrails, or experience delayed response times.
All drivers operating delivery trucks must complete safety training specific to the vehicle to obtain and maintain a Commercial Driver’s License (C.D.L.). This regulation applies to all types of delivery vehicles, especially tractor-trailers that can be particularly dangerous in the hands of an untrained driver. Drivers who are capable of operating multiple types of vehicles should be trained separately on each type.
Commercial drivers should have driving records free of violations that could result in reckless or aggressive driving accidents. Companies are required to perform background checks on their employees before allowing them to deliver. If a company fails to do this, responsible parties could be found liable for accidents that result from the driver’s behaviors.
Delivery trucks carry thousands to tens of thousands of pounds worth of cargo. These loads must be properly secured following federal regulations to protect employees and other occupants of the road. Trucks with unstable cargo or loads over the recommended weight of a vehicle can tip and cause rollover accidents.
Delivery Truck Accidents In NYC
With online shopping increasing exponentially throughout the pandemic, New York City residents have seen an uptick in commercial vehicles on their daily commutes like never before. FedEx and UPS trucks have been out in swarms, racing through traffic, double parking to unload, and forcing their way into tight spaces to get the job done.
In addition to the plethora of driving hazards already present in NYC, the rate at which delivery drivers have been hired in the last year has skyrocketed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for commercial drivers has risen at least 26%. The demand for delivery services has caused an influx in hiring, meaning more inexperienced delivery drivers are on the road than ever; some of these drivers are rushed and left untrained.
Pedestrians and cyclists in NYC, who have little to no protection in the case of a vehicle accident, often bear the brunt of reckless delivery drivers. While forced to swerve and dodge these vehicles on their daily commute, pedestrians and cyclists are the hardest to see when a delivery truck is speeding or operating without care. Just this April, a 64-year-old woman from New Jersey was killed from injuries she sustained after a FedEx truck hit her while crossing the road on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
What Damages Can You Claim In A Delivery Truck Accident
Victims who sustain injuries in delivery truck accidents have the option to sue for all damages occurring as a result of the accident. These damages include pain and suffering for injuries, medical costs, and other future financial losses stemming from the accident.
Some examples of damages that your attorney may enter into your claim include:
– Vehicle repairs;
– Loss of income;
– Loss of employment;
– Medical bills;
– Co-pays for doctors visits;
– Prescription costs;
– Therapy costs (physical and psychological);
– Pain and suffering;
– Services rendered due to injury; and
– Funeral costs (in cases of wrongful death).
What To Do After a Delivery Truck Accident
Delivery vehicle accidents can be terrifying, primarily when resulting in injuries. Despite this, vehicle accidents in NYC are time-sensitive. Drivers must take immediate steps after an accident to secure the best chance for holding liable parties accountable.
The most effective steps victims can take after an accident include:
– Seeking medical attention directly after your accident. Your health is the priority. Never delay medical attention to remain at the scene. After you are treated, make sure to keep all documentation from your treatments, bills, prescriptions, and other records pertaining to your injury. These documents will help demonstrate the severity of your injuries and confirm the accounts of the incident.
– Filing an accident report. It is New York State law that you file an accident report after a crash. Make sure to keep a copy of this report and confirm that all details recorded are accurate.
– Taking photos. Use your phone to take pictures of the accident scene before it is cleared away. This is particularly important in NYC, where evidence can disappear quickly due to congested roads needing to be cleared. If you are unable to take photos due to an injury, have someone you know and trust do it for you. These are crucial bits of evidence that will help later in your case.
– Using witness accounts. Talk to witnesses of your accident about their accounts and gather their contact information. Witness accounts are extremely beneficial to illustrate liability and can clear up inconsistencies about what happened before, during, and after an accident.
– Contacting an accident attorney. As soon as you are able to, contact an experienced vehicle accident attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can advocate for your rights and help you to determine who is liable and what damages can be claimed. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more successful your case will be.
The statute of limitations to file for damages after a delivery truck accident is three years. However, waiting this long to file a claim will not result in optimal results. It is always in your best interest to explore your rights directly after an accident occurs when the information is fresh and current.
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber, have over 20 years of experience serving accident victims across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning defense attorneys are not afraid to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a delivery truck accident, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at +1 516-294-2666, or schedule an appointment using our online form anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.