Delivery Truck Accidents
Massachusetts Lawyers For Injuries Involving Commercial Vehicles
Hundreds of delivery trucks operate throughout Massachusetts daily. The operators of these trucks often drive long routes and are under intense pressure to keep a timely schedule. This can result in traffic violations and a breach of the driver’s duty to use reasonable care. Long story short, the driver, owner of the truck and the company can be held liable if negligence is proven. If it’s a workers’ compensation injury, which is injury incurred in the course of employment, negligence need not be shown to receive compensation benefits, but negligence must still be proven for the second case via third-party negligence law.
Ellis Law Offices represents clients in Worcester, Boston, Fitchburg, Springfield, Southbridge, New Bedford, Fall River and other towns and cities in Massachusetts.
If you have been injured as a result of a delivery truck accident of any kind, call or email us for a free consultation.
Causes Of Delivery Truck Accidents
- Delivery trucks backing up — After passing a destination or address, some drivers view circling the block to be a hassle, an inconvenience and time lost, so they make the unfortunate choice to back up. This often results in collisions with other motor vehicles, pedestrians, motorcycles or bicyclists.
- Sudden left turn — These are sometimes made by delivery truck drivers in an attempt to save time or stay on time. Some delivery truck companies plot truck routes to eliminate or reduce the number of left turns made by their trucks.
- Failure to engage or a malfunctioning parking brake — Sometimes materials or packages can cause the truck to roll into traffic, striking other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Failure to yield to oncoming or right of way traffic in city streets or merging onto a highway
- Blind spots — Extreme care must be used when changing lanes or pulling back into traffic. If reasonable care is not used, serious injury accidents can occur with other vehicles, motorcycles or bicyclists.
Lift gates or delivery ramps extended in unsafe areas — Lift gates or metal unloading ramps crossing pedestrian traffic cause serious trip-and-fall pedestrian accidents. The extended lift gates or metal ramps can also block the flow of motor vehicle, motorcycle or bicyclist travel, which can also result in serious personal injury or death.
- Malfunctioning or missing back-up alarms — People who work around delivery trucks become accustomed to and rely on the warning back-up alarm. If there is no alarm, there is a heightened risk of striking a pedestrian or a motor vehicle.
- Delivery truck tip-overs — When delivery trucks are dangerously overloaded or loaded in a top-heavy manner, tip-overs are always a risk. Delivery trucks fully loaded can weigh over 20 tons. When they tip over or lose control with their 20 tons of mass energy, the amount of kinetic energy created and subsequent damage and injury caused can be staggering.
- Poor maintenance — With these trucks weighing upwards of 20 tons, it’s imperative that they be regularly inspected and properly maintained by qualified personnel. Utmost care must be used in maintaining or repairing the suspension system, brakes, emergency brake, wheels, bearings, power steering and tires.
Careless unloading of delivery truck cargo — Delivery truck operators are often responsible for unloading the truck material, goods and packages. They use various devices to complete the task, which include a built-in mini boom or crane, a manual dolly, a power or manual hand truck, a stair-climbing delivery truck or a portable forklift that attaches to the back of the truck, otherwise known as a “spider forklift. The delivery truck operator must ensure that he or she unloads the cargo safely by avoiding collisions with the moving devices (hand truck, dolly, crane or spider) and with nearby pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Parking lot accidents — These accidents can range from pedestrians tripping over the ramp or lift gate to being struck by moving packages and devices (e.g., a dolly). Due to the extreme weight of the truck, even low-speed collisions can cause serious personal injury.
Liability Of Delivery Truck Drivers And Employers
Federal regulations have been established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations apply to all trucking companies and set forth mandatory requirements for the safe operation of commercial trucks, which include:
- Driver training requirements
- Mandatory hours of service to be recorded by the driver
- Driver drug and alcohol prevention programs
- Repair and maintenance requirements for trucks
If the employer fails to provide adequate supervision and/or training for its employees, the employer, under some circumstances, can be held liable for accidents that are caused by such lack of training. If an accident occurs and an investigation reveals it was not caused by driver negligence, the company can still be held liable. If the cargo was loaded in an unsafe manner, e.g., the vehicle was top-heavy (hindering the driver’s ability to steer) or overloaded, (hindering the driver’s ability to brake), then the company that loaded the vehicle (and likely owns the cargo) could be found liable.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a delivery truck accident of any kind, contact Ellis Law Offices by telephone or email for your free consultation. We have over 120 years of combined experience in personal injury law cases, and it is reflected by our results. For your convenience, home and hospital visits are available anywhere in Massachusetts.