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What happens when delivery drivers cause major crashes?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Delivery drivers play a crucial role in the modern economy. As an increasing number of retail transactions take place online every year. Delivery drivers have helped companies get goods directly to consumers without overburdening the Postal Service. There are companies that offer pay-per-use delivery services, like UPS and FedEx. There are companies that offer delivery on demand services, like DoorDash. There are also businesses like Amazon that have their own proprietary delivery fleets. Some delivery drivers are in their own vehicles, while others drive specialized delivery vehicles.

All of those delivery vehicles out on the road increase the possibility of a major motor vehicle collision. What happens when a delivery driver causes a crash that puts someone in the hospital or results in other severe consequences?

Companies are liable for the actions of employees

One of the first considerations when looking at liability after a delivery-related crash is the employment status of the delivery driver. Many companies try to avoid obligations to employees and legal liability for their actions by treating delivery professionals as though they were independent contractors. That may muddy the waters somewhat, leading to either complex litigation or someone being reliant primarily on insurance after a crash.

Generally speaking, most large delivery companies carry special insurance to compensate the parties affected by crashes involving their vehicles. The coverage may be available both when the worker is an independent contractor and when they are an employee. In cases involving a driver using their own vehicle to make deliveries, the person injured in the crash may need to make a claim against their liability coverage instead of a corporate policy.

However, when the delivery driver is an employee, then there is a clear connection to the company. Vicarious liability rules make employers responsible for the harm caused by the negligence of their employees. Certain factors, like unrealistic work schedules and poor fleet vehicle maintenance, may contribute to a business’s liability for a delivery crash.

Given that delivery vehicles are often larger than passenger vehicles, they can cause massive damage in the event of a collision. Exploring every option for compensation may benefit those injured in a collision caused by a delivery driver.