In This Article:
- Delivery Driver Investigations
- Understanding Less Than Load (LTL) Trucks
- Investigating Delivery Driver Accidents
- Loading and Unloading Risks
- Load Securement Issues
- Complex Investigations
- How We Can Help
Delivery Driver Investigations
People who are injured in South Carolina accidents with delivery trucks might suffer numerous losses, including high medical bills, income losses, and a long period of recovery. Delivery truck drivers also face multiple risks each day while working because of the nature of their jobs. If you have sustained injuries in an accident with a delivery truck or are a delivery truck driver who has been injured while working on the job, an experienced attorney at The Lovely Law Firm might help you to take legal action to recover compensation. The first step in the process will be an investigation to search for evidence and determine liability.
After a collision caused by a delivery truck, you are entitled to pursue compensation for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit. If you are injured while working as a delivery driver, you might file a claim for workers’ compensation with your employer’s insurance company and a lawsuit against any third party that might have negligently contributed to your workplace accident and injuries. An attorney who handles a trucking case works closely together with experts to reconstruct each event and contributing factor that led to the accident. Experts are responsible for analyzing and investigating several external and internal contributing factors in cases involving a less than load or LTL delivery truck.
Understanding LTL trucks
Less than load trucks make multiple small deliveries and complete freight pickups in a local area. Some examples of LTL companies and entities include the following:
- USPS or post office
- Amazon delivery
Since LTL drivers make multiple stops each day to deliver packages or pick up freight, they have a greater risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents. This is especially true if they are inexperienced or inadequately trained. They can also be injured at work while loading or unloading products or moving products from truck to truck. Some LTL drivers also suffer injuries in slip-and-fall accidents while working or by being struck by equipment while working in various shipping and receiving locations.
Many truck drivers in South Carolina work locally and return home most nights. LTL companies, including DHL, FedEx, UPS, and Amazon Delivery frequently hire drivers that have various levels of experience and ability, including shuttle drivers, regional drivers, local drivers, and over-the-road drivers. Similarly, USPS drivers who deliver mail from the post office also might have varying backgrounds. Some have little prior experience working as truck drivers. If the drivers are not properly trained, they can be injured or cause vehicle accidents that injure others.
Investigating delivery driver accidents
LTL drivers face multiple risks throughout the workday, beginning at the pick-up or delivery location. These locations can be difficult for LTL drivers to drive into and back out of safely. LTL drivers might have to go to warehouses, manufacturing facilities, or residential areas, and they have to figure out how to navigate to and through these locations. If a dispatcher is negligent or careless, the driver might be routed on a road with a bridge that doesn’t provide enough clearance for the truck’s height or route a heavy truck over a bridge with a much lower weight limit.
LTL drivers who must check GPS, addresses, and streets while they drive may also have their attention diverted away from the roads, increasing the risk that they will be involved in accidents with other motorists. While a driver’s attention is distracted away from the road, he or she might fail to see stopped traffic ahead or run stop signs or lights, causing a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist.
When a driver reaches his or her delivery destination, he or she will have to figure out where to park. Some locations have designated parking for delivery trucks, but many residential locations force drivers to park on the street to complete deliveries. When a driver is forced to park on the street, he or she must take steps to ensure that passing motorists will be aware of the stopped truck and will be able to safely maneuver around it or stop in time. Failing to take appropriate measures can result in accidents.
Loading and unloading risks
Once the driver parks, he or she must start unloading or loading. This process must adhere to regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA. While some distribution or manufacturing facilities do a good job of explaining the safety procedures at their locations, others provide minimal input to the drivers and require them to unload or load products without explaining the safety procedures. This latter approach can place the LTL drivers at a heightened risk of injury.
Facilities and businesses that rely on drivers to pick up or unload freight owe a duty of care to provide a safe environment for invitees, which are people who are lawfully present for business purposes. If a facility or business fails to correct hazards or warn a driver about their existence, it might be liable to pay damages to the driver in a third-party trucking case against the facility or business. The truck driver’s LTL carrier does not control the facility or business where the driver drops off or picks up freight. However, the driver might also be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with his or her employer when he or she is injured while loading or unloading freight at a customer’s location.
Some of the most common causes of delivery-related injuries include the following:
- Slips and falls on slick surfaces
- Trips over debris or objects left in the delivery area
- Falls off of loading docks or ramps
- Strains and sprains
- Being struck by falling objects or equipment
All of these types of incidents might expose the facility to liability in a premises liability lawsuit.
Load securement issues
Drivers and their trucking carrier employers are normally responsible for securing loads. However, when a shipper loads and seals a trailer, it becomes the responsible party for properly securing the load. In most cases, the LTL drivers will be present while their trucks are being loaded and can dictate where the products should be placed within their trucks’ trailers. Since different types of products can greatly vary in size, weight, and shape, drivers must be thoroughly trained in weight distribution and proper load securement. They must also be familiar with the different securement devices to use to secure different products, including chains, straps, blocking, dunnage, and load bars. Products must be properly placed on the trailer to ensure that they are properly secured under the regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
When a truck is improperly loaded and secured, the cargo can shift while the driver is driving. This can cause the truck to be less stable and hinder the driver’s ability to handle the truck. When a truck’s direction or speed changes during a trip from normal driving maneuvers, including braking, speeding up or turning, an improperly loaded cargo can shift and move backward, forward, left, or right.
An unbalanced load can also cause a truck to roll over. Truck drivers or shippers must center the cargo’s weight as near as possible to the midline of the truck to mitigate this risk, and drivers must be cautious when turning to avoid rolling over.
Since LTL drivers go through this process multiple times each day and may have as many as 20 stops per day, incidents involving delivery driver accidents can be complex because of the large numbers of hazards, different standards of care, and regulations involved. Drivers are not able to control every environment in which they work, and accidents can occur.
Whether a delivery driver is injured while working or is involved in a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist, incidents involving delivery drivers must be thoroughly investigated to make liability determinations. Some incidents might involve multiple liable parties, and identifying each responsible party and contributing factor is critical for maximizing an injured victim’s compensation.
Get help from an experienced truck accident lawyer at The Lovely Law Firm
The experienced personal injury team regularly represents people who have been injured while working as LTL drivers and those who have sustained injuries in accidents caused by LTL drivers. We retain different types of trucking industry experts to help find and analyze evidence to support our clients’ claims.
In cases involving multiple liable parties, identifying all of those who are liable is important. If a party is not named as a defendant to a legal claim but is found to share liability for your accident, you will not be able to recover the percentage of damages the jury allocates to that unnamed defendant. To learn more about how to preserve your rights in a delivery driver workplace accident or motor vehicle accident claim, contact The Lovely Law Firm today for a free case evaluation at (843) 281-7452.
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