With online shopping becoming more the norm, there seem to be more delivery trucks on the road, which means there is greater potential for more accidents. Truck drivers working for companies such as Amazon, UPS and FedEx often face tight delivery schedules and often resort to unsafe driving practices to meet a deadline. These trucks may speed through residential neighborhoods, park in the middle of the street streets or failure to stop or stop signs. And because of how large these trucks are, it could mean more serious injuries for other drivers and even pedestrians.
If you were recently involved in an accident in or near Charlotte where you were hit by a commercial delivery truck driver, like UPS, FedEx, or Amazon, then it is important to know your rights and what next steps to take.
Truck drivers have a responsibility to be safe
It may not be as obvious to some, but truck drivers are just as responsible for taking care of their truck as they are driving safely and with consideration to others on the road. Distracted driving is a huge problem. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that over 3,000 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2020.
There are also strict regulations that truckers must follow when it comes to being a commercial driver. Some of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations include:
- Completing driver training so every driver receives a specialized license.
- Getting regular truck inspections to prove they are safe to drive.
- Obtaining frequent maintenance to keep the truck in good, working condition.
There are some slight differences in the rules and regulations depending on whether the truck that hit you was a box truck, delivery van, or a large commercial truck. But if it is proven that any of these guidelines were not followed at the time of the accident, it is more likely that the court will rule in your favor.
You have the right to claim monetary damages
As North Carolina is a fault state, victims in Charlotte have the right to pursue legal action after an accident. If a delivery truck driver was found to be at fault, then you are eligible to collect monetary damages for your injuries, pain and suffering. You should also know that larger trucks carry commercial insurance policies that have higher coverage limits than average cars. Plus, delivery trucks are larger than regular passenger cars, which means they can cause significantly more damage and more serious injuries than a regular car-on-car accident. This means that settlements can potentially have higher payouts.
Who is responsible for damages?
The issue of who is responsible for your injuries depends on a number of factors. If the driver of the truck responsible for the collision is an employee, your claim will likely be against the freight company or their insurance carrier. This is most common with larger delivery services. However sometimes the driver of the truck responsible for the collision may be an independent contractor. As such, the driver themselves may have liability insurance. Companies like Amazon typically hire independent contractors to deliver their packages which makes the driver and owner of the vehicle liable for any damages. In that case, it is usually best to consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options. As with most cases, companies are not quick to offer a payout. Be sure to work closely with a reputable lawyer, like one from Price, Petho & Associates, to solidify your chances of a positive outcome.
You have three years to file a claim in Charlotte
Although you should not wait this long to start your case, you have plenty of time to file if you decide to pursue a claim later down the road. The statute of limitations is three years in the state of North Carolina, so that means you can file a lawsuit against the liable party within three years from the day your accident or injury occurs. If you wait until the three-year window closes, you may lose out on a settlement that you rightfully deserve.
Steps to take after an accident with a delivery truck
As with any accident, gathering information while it is available is critical. Immediately following your accident, be sure to contact the police and immediately file a police report. Make sure to obtain the names of any witnesses and if possible, take photographs of the vehicles and location of the collision. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you should seek the treatment of a medical professional to document and start treatment for your injuries.
It is also a good idea to keep a journal to document your injuries and keep a record with all your accumulating medical expenses related to them. Also making notes about time missed from work or other ways that the accident has negatively affected your quality of life will be useful to your attorney in negotiating with the insurance company. Having all this documentation will help strengthen your case against the person or company at fault.
Also, remember that if someone from the at-fault party contacts you directly, whether it is their lawyer or the company itself, do not speak to them. They are more than likely looking for any additional information that could relinquish their responsibility to pay and pin you as the real person at fault—even though you are not. Make sure to direct all calls to a professional and qualified lawyer who can help you handle this.
If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident involving a delivery truck in or around the Charlotte area, reach out to the team at Price, Petho & Associates for help today. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling complex vehicle accident claims throughout the state, and we have the resources and knowledge necessary to help recover the compensation you need. To schedule a free consultation, call 704-372-2160, or fill out our contact form today. Serving Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton.