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How To Establish Delivery Truck Driver Liability In An Accident

How To Establish Delivery Truck Driver Liability In An Accident


Although box truck drivers can raise valid defenses in some cases, our New York City delivery truck accident attorneys have the experience necessary to thoroughly examine all the evidence, and then present compelling case arguments. However, proving liability can be a greater challenge if the delivery truck driver who hit you was not an actual employee of a large trucking company. Fortunately, we have the ready skills to carefully review the insurance policies of independent delivery truck drivers and then prove why they alone must pay all your damages.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

When the evidence in a Bronx delivery truck accident isn’t entirely clear, we readily hire the best expert witnesses who then use their specialized skills to help build the strongest case possible. Once we meet with you, we’ll be ready to answer any questions you may have about your case – as well as about any of the legal standards or arguments described below.

Legal doctrines that help establish delivery truck driver liability

Depending on the specific facts of your case, your assigned attorney may allege that the delivery truck driver must be held liable based on a vicarious liability argument (such as respondeat superior) and compelling evidence of box truck driver negligence — or strict liability.

As you may know, respondeat superior simply states that when employees harm someone while performing their assigned job duties, their employer must usually pay all legitimate sums owed. In most of these cases, we also offer clear evidence that the delivery truck driver was operating the van or truck in a negligent manner. We must also demonstrate that the delivery truck driver breached his/her legal duty to exercise reasonable care while carrying out the assigned tasks.

The term negligence can be best described as “the failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances.”

Depending on the facts of your case, other unique parties may also be held liable. For example, a repair shop might also be sued – if it worked on the delivery truck just before it became involved in your accident. Likewise, if there’s clear evidence that a truck-loading company employee negligently loaded the delivery truck – (perhaps causing the cargo to be very poorly balanced), that company might also be sued.

While it’s not commonly relied upon, a strict liability argument can be advanced if the delivery truck driver handled the assigned tasks while displaying “abnormally dangerous behavior.” Perhaps driving down a freeway without any truck lights on at night – or with the back door of the truck open — might be classified this way. However, negligent driving is the most common grounds for suing the truck driver and the employer.

Who must bear the burden of proof in tort cases involving delivery truck accidents?

It’s always the plaintiff’s burden in any civil case based on tort law to prove all the necessary legal elements – including all delivery truck accident lawsuits.

Types of expert witnesses who may be employed in New York delivery truck accident cases

  • Accident reconstruction experts. These highly trained professionals carefully review the police accident report, interview the available witnesses, and carefully study all available accident scene photos. They will likely look for the presence of absence of skid marks and note the final location of each vehicle once they all stop moving.
  • Trucking safety experts. These individuals are prepared to determine if any federal or state safety regulations were violated by the delivery truck driver. They will also likely check to see if the driver had just spent an excessive number of hours on the road – directly violating government standards. This evidence can help us prove that the driver was very fatigued and likely made serious driving errors that caused the accident.
  • Medical doctors or specialists. After they review all your medical records, these expert witnesses can document that all the medical harm you suffered is fully consistent with typical delivery truck accident injuries. They can also testify regarding the medical quality of life you likely enjoyed prior to the accident, compared to what you may have to cope with in the future. Medical expert witnesses may also interact with financial expert witnesses to help us document the full financial value of your case – including all costs for future care.
  • Financial expert witnesses. As briefly referenced above, these experts help establish the costs of your past, current, and future medical care expenses (directly caused by your delivery truck accident injuries). They may also help us establish your lost wages and lifetime diminished earning capacity. In some cases, they can help us document the full value of property losses you sustained that haven’t been properly evaluated.

The types of injuries often suffered by our delivery truck accident clients

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Deep cuts, scrapes, and skin lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Painful neck and back injuries
  • Crushed body parts – sometimes leading to amputation
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Wrongful death

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

Types of negligence that can play a role in causing delivery truck accidents

  • Distracted driving. Far too many American drivers still regularly use their cell phones to talk or text while driving. Others regularly eat meals while behind the wheel of their trucks and cars. And too many delivery truck drivers constantly check their GPS devices since they’re making deliveries in unfamiliar areas.
  • Speeding. This dangerous behavior is especially odd since most delivery truck drivers know that this driving violation – often monitored by their vehicle’s own tracking devices — can result in tickets – and losing their jobs. Of course, the delivery time pressures placed upon these drivers are often overwhelming.
  • Poor maintenance of the delivery truck or van. Many drivers fail to make timely repairs, such as getting their brakes overhauled when they’re performing poorly. Also, many delivery trucks are often missing crucial side mirrors that can help drivers avoid backing into pedestrians or other vehicles.
  • Too little training or very limited driving experience. While all drivers must start at some point, we’ll be checking to see how long the driver who hit you has been professionally employed. We’ll also check on how much recent training the driver has received, and whether the individual has received any recent speeding or DUI tickets.

As might be expected, the lack of adequate training can often pose an added risk when many independent truck drivers are hired. Sadly, too many companies like to hire these types of questionable drivers in hopes of avoiding financial liability. Key training skills are crucial – including those that teach those driving smaller delivery trucks how to properly load and unload their trucks or vans to minimize accidents. Finally, all people driving “box-shaped” delivery trucks must be made aware of the high risk they have of experiencing a dangerous rollover accident. Proper skills training can help them minimize this risk.

  • Formal or informal pressure to deliver within unreasonable time deadlines. While it can sometimes be difficult to prove, our firm can still conduct research on the delivery time windows promised to customers. The dangerous nature of all this is one reason why many major retailers or online sales companies now like to publish “estimated” delivery dates. However, there will always be major delivery time pressure placed on drivers.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. If a law enforcement official states in an accident report that the delivery truck driver had slurred speech or was driving erratically just prior to hitting you – such statements will provide excellent evidence to support any honest claims you’ve made that the driver had suddenly slammed into you or otherwise driven recklessly. We also always check to see if any sobriety tests were run.

Comparative negligence claims are common

No matter how well we document that the defendant solely caused your accident, insurance companies still try to blame a large percentage of accidents on our clients’ shoulders. Rest assured that we’re fully ready to truthfully counter such arguments.

However, if you did play a minor role in causing the accident, please be sure to share this information with us right away. (For example, if you believe you may have barely made it through an intersection at the “tail end” of a green light, just tell us). Fortunately, New York’s comparative negligence statutes will often still allow you to recover most of the awarded damages – if you are only assigned a small percentage of liability in the case.

If you have suffered serious injuries after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to contact our New York City delivery truck accident law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.


What is vicarious liability?

Vicarious liability, such as respondeat superior, states that when employees harm someone while performing their job duties, their employer must usually pay all legitimate sums owed.

Who bears the burden of proof in delivery truck accident cases?

It’s always the plaintiff’s burden in any civil case based on tort law to prove all the necessary legal elements.

What types of expert witnesses are employed in these cases?

Common expert witnesses include accident reconstruction experts, trucking safety experts, medical doctors or specialists, and financial expert witnesses.