Online retail operations and a surge in on-demand delivery services have made modern life infinitely more convenient. People can order replacement power cords for their laptops and have them at their homes in a day or two. They can order their groceries online and have a delivery professional drop them on the front porch. However, there are trade-offs for the convenience of delivery services. There have never been more delivery vehicles out on the road. That surge in commercial traffic has also led to an increase in very dangerous collisions.
Drivers working for Amazon, FedEx, UPS and a host of other companies often have very demanding daily schedules. They may have to deliver hundreds of packages per day in some cases. What happens when those overworked drivers cause crashes?
Liability frequently falls on the business
Hiring practices, job requirements and fleet maintenance are all the responsibility of the companies providing delivery services. They also plan the delivery routes that drivers follow. Additionally, the legal concept of vicarious liability often makes employers responsible for the negligence of their workers while on the clock.
If a delivery driver parks their vehicle around a blind curve to quickly deliver a package, that illegal parking choice could very well be the negligent action that causes a wreck. While technically the driver made that choice, the company that employs them will typically be liable for the crash that results. The company’s insurance policy can compensate the affected parties for their property damage losses and injuries. Occasionally, consumers may even bring a lawsuit against the business when insurance isn’t enough or offers an inappropriate settlement.
Some drivers may be personally responsible
The type of delivery largely determines who is liable. In some scenarios, liability may fall to the individual driver. If the delivery professional is an independent contractor, not an employee, then they may have to use their own insurance because they drive their own vehicle. They may also have personal liability for the crash that they caused.
Those affected by collisions caused by delivery drivers may need to probe the situation carefully. Identifying the liable party, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, can help people secure appropriate compensation for losses caused by irresponsible or unsafe delivery drivers.