How Do I Handle a Car Accident with a Delivery Truck?
There are more delivery trucks on the roads and highways than ever before. Over the past 10 years, the increase of the delivery economy has skyrocketed, from all the Amazon packages being delivered to the various food delivery businesses available. The pandemic and lockdowns increased delivery truck traffic given the fact that most people stayed home for months at a time and rarely went out to shop on their own. They just ordered items online and had delivery truck drivers drop their purchases at their front door. If you have been involved in a car accident with a delivery truck, these collisions can be somewhat complicated, as compared with an average car crash. There are issues as to which entity should ultimately be held at fault in the accident. Not just any law firm should handle such cases. If you have sustained personal injury by the negligence of a delivery truck driver, you need to be represented by a law firm that has the knowledge, skills, and resources to take on these tough cases.
Concept of Respondeat Superior
Respondeat superior is a fancy legal term that stands for the general rule that an employer is responsible for the negligent acts or omissions of its employees. Under respondeat superior, an employer is liable for the negligent act or omission of any employee acting within the course and scope of their employment. Therefore, under this rule, if a delivery driver was negligent in some manner and did not follow the rules of the road and caused an accident, that driver’s employer will be responsible for any injuries or damages that happened in the collision. To use respondeat superior to hold an employer liable for their employee’s actions, an injured victim must demonstrate:
- The accident was caused by the driver’s negligence, as opposed to some intentional act.
- The driver was working within the scope of his or her employment.
The employer would not be responsible for intentional acts, such as a delivery driver intentionally crashing into your vehicle. Also, the employee must have been working within the scope of their employment when the accident occurred. To determine this, you consider many factors:
- What type of job is being performed
- Was the delivery driver on the clock
- Was the delivery driver doing his or her normal work or was driver doing a personal errand, for example
- The time, location, and circumstances of the accident
For example, if a delivery driver accidentally missed a red light and went through an intersection, striking another vehicle, the driver and their employer would be responsible, assuming the driver was on route making a delivery. However, in another example, the delivery driver had finished their work for the day and had already clocked out off the clock and was traveling home while driving the delivery van. What would happen in this case? Most likely, the employer would not be responsible because the accident occurred not within the scope of the delivery driver’s employment. But this last example demonstrates why these cases are complex and difficult because there could be an issue about the collision happening in the delivery van that was owned and insured by the employer. A skilled car accident lawyer might be able to hold the employer liable in this scenario under the law. That is why it is so important to hire a competent and knowledgeable law firm that focuses their practice on these types of cases.
What would happen if the delivery driver were not an actual employee of the company but is hired by the company as an independent contractor? Being an independent contractor means that the driver works for themselves. Companies will often use independent contractor drivers for the very reason of protecting themselves from responsibility if the driver is negligent and causes an accident and seriously injures someone. With true independent contractors, usually an injured victim would have to file a lawsuit against the driver. However, there are many ways to get around this and pull the company into the lawsuit. The more potentially responsible defendants that are in a lawsuit increases the chances that the injured plaintiff will be fully and fairly compensated for their injuries. Therefore, if a skilled lawyer can prove that, under the law, the driver was not actually an independent contractor but was a de facto employee, respondeat superior might be an option in the case. When the company maintains control over the way the work must be performed, the driver may be deemed an employee, no matter how many times the employer and the driver claim that the driver is an independent contractor. The law in Washington DC and in every state in the nation defines what it means to be an independent contractor. If your lawyer can demonstrate to a judge and convince them of the driver’s independent contractor status, the lawyer can pull the employer into a lawsuit, along with their assets and insurance coverage. All this does is provide more chances for the injured plaintiff to be fully compensated.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Handle Complex Accident Cases
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident caused by the negligent actions of a delivery driver, your smartest decision is to hire a law firm that knows how to successfully handle complex and difficult cases. The Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King have the knowledge, skills, and most importantly the resources to take on complex cases and large corporate defendants and hold them responsible for the injuries they cause. You deserve to have a legal team on your side that will fight for your rights to be fully and fairly compensated for your injuries. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.