Hit by a Delivery Truck: Who Can You Sue?
The rise of e-commerce has led to an explosion in the number of delivery drivers around Coral Gables and other Florida cities. Whenever a person buys a new pair of shoes through Amazon.com or orders some take-out through Grubhub, chances are a delivery driver is racing through your neighborhood to make a delivery.
With so many delivery drivers on the road, accidents are simply unavoidable. But if a delivery driver strikes you, who can you sue? In most cases, you would benefit considerably if you could also add a business as a defendant in a car accident case. Most companies have large insurance policies, which can pay out more compensation than an individual driver might be able to. But whether you can sue is actually more complicated than you might think.
Is the Delivery Driver Employed?
Many companies have their own drivers. For example, FedEx, UPS, and DHL employ drivers who will deliver packages in their company trucks. If you have been hit by one of these drivers, you can often sue the driver and the company.
Why the company? Well, under Florida’s dangerous instrumentalities law, the owner of a dangerous tool is legally liable for any injuries caused by the tool’s operation. And motor vehicles are considered dangerous instruments, which means that someone injured can sue the owner of the vehicle, which is usually the driver’s employer.
Another legal theory in play is respondeat superior. This makes a principal liable for injuries caused by its agent in the scope of its employment. So if a driver injures someone in the course and scope of its employment, victims can usually sue the employer. This law can also come into play in delivery truck accidents.
What if the Driver is an Independent Contractor?
In today’s gig economy, more and more delivery drivers are not employed by a company. They also use their own vehicle to transport goods door to door. What happens if you have been struck by an independent contractor who is out making a delivery?
In this example, you still might be able to sue the company that hired the independent contractor. However, your attorney will need to take a close look at the working relationship. If the business controls the independent contractor’s actions, then the delivery driver might qualify as an employee for purposes of respondeat superior.
Companies might also be negligent in how they hire independent delivery drivers. For example, they might not even inquire about the person’s driving history or overlook other obvious red flags, like a criminal conviction for drunk driving. This kind of negligence can also make the company liable for any injuries caused by the delivery driver.
Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys in Coral Gables You Can Trust
At Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A., we stay on the cutting edge of the law. Our team has decades of experience analyzing cases and finding ways to maximize compensation for our clients.
To schedule a meeting with a Florida motor vehicle accident lawyer, please contact us today. Our consultations are always free.