This past October, a tragedy occurred in the Delaware Valley region involving a box truck and a pedestrian: just after 10 AM, an 84-year-old woman was struck by a passing box truck at the intersection of West Delaware Avenue and Route 31 in Pennington, New Jersey. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
This calamity illustrates the ever-present danger posed by box trucks and delivery vans. As most people can tell, there are a significant number of box trucks and delivery vans that drive on our roads every single day. Whether it is an Amazon truck trying to make their last delivery of the day, or a truck filled with cases of beer en route to a restaurant, we frequently come across these large vehicles in our everyday lives.
As one might expect, with so many box trucks and delivery vans on the road, there are an unfortunate amount of accidents that occur each year. According to Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were around 510,000 police-reported crashes that involved large trucks in 2019. Of these accidents, a total of 4,479 incidents resulted in fatalities, while 114,000 crashes caused injuries.
With more and more people ordering goods online versus brick-and-mortar stores, box trucks and delivery vans have become more and more prevalent on the roads—especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when so many people were shopping online. In fact, Delaware has now seen Amazon increase its footprint in the state with a new mega-warehouse. This new facility on Boxwood Road near Newport is at the site of a former General Motors assembly plant, has 3.8 million square feet in total, and is now the country’s biggest operational Amazon facility. At this facility, Amazon sellers ship products to be stored here and then packaged for delivery, meaning there will be many, many trucks coming in and out of the region going forward.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a box truck or a delivery van, the results can be devastating and life-altering. If an accident does occur, it is important to consult with a Delaware truck accident lawyer to help you navigate your legal needs. When accidents like this occur, an experienced accident lawyer is able to walk you through the critical questions you may have, such as who will pay for medical bills and who is legally liable for the accident, among other pressing matters.
Preparing for a Case
An accident with a box truck or a delivery van can be a traumatic event. Perhaps someone was driving into an intersection and a delivery truck ran a red light and slammed into the side of their car. Or maybe a box truck driver was not paying attention on the highway and did not notice a car traveling in the left lane, resulting in a sideswipe. Whatever the case may be, someone who is impacted by a box truck or a delivery van accident has the ability to seek legal recourse.
When an accident occurs, an individual should document and accumulate as much evidence as possible. For starters, they should see a doctor immediately for their injuries, no matter how small they may be. A doctor can create medical records that can be used in the future, whether it is at trial or through negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company. A doctor may also make notes, take X-rays and MRI scans, and provide evidence as to the physical harm that was suffered as a result of the accident.
In addition to visiting a doctor’s office, it is also a good idea to document any injuries suffered in a box truck or a delivery van accident. For instance, in the wake of an accident, take photos of the injuries—from bruises to cuts, everything that was caused as a result of the crash. By doing this, a victim can strengthen their case down the road.
Other critical pieces of evidence need to be collected, and having the guidance of an experienced truck accident lawyer can go a long way when it comes to ensuring that you are on the right track. First, it is absolutely crucial to obtain the police accident report. In this report, you will find all of the necessary information that provides foundational information for your case, from where the accident happened to who was involved. This information is collected and officially recorded by the police, and it is an absolutely essential piece of your case.
Beyond the police accident report, a victim in a box truck or delivery van accident should seek to obtain a certified truck inspection report, truck maintenance logs, a truck black box, driver logbooks, and any potential electronic monitoring data. This is the type of information that could potentially strengthen a case. Maybe the truck involved had a known issue with its brakes yet still made its way out on the road. Or there could have been evidence in the truck’s black box that showed that the driver was not paying attention at the time of the collision. Whatever the case may be, these are all forms of evidence that someone should seek out in the event that it could possibly help them in a trial or when negotiating with the offending driver’s insurance company.
On top of the aforementioned, there are other types of evidence a box truck or delivery van accident victim can pursue. From seeking witness statements that could bolster their position to finding traffic camera videos that clearly show the culpability of the offending driver to pictures of tire marks on the road that indicate reckless driving from the other party, there are more ways that the victim of a box truck or delivery van accident can seek to enhance their case.
Who is at Fault and What are the Remedies?
When someone is involved in an accident with a box truck or a delivery van, there may be multiple parties who could be held liable. First, there is the operator of the vehicle that caused the accident. In addition, the victim may also be able to sue the company that the other driver was working for when the accident occurred.
There are factors that come into play when determining if an additional party is at fault. For instance, if there is someone who is driving a delivery van for a company when the accident occurs, yet they are operating the vehicle outside of the normal scope of their employment (e.g., running a personal errand outside of their route on non-working hours), then the company that the employee is working for might not be considered a liable party. Yet if someone is making a delivery and causes an accident while on their way, then the company that owns the vehicle may possibly be found liable as well.
In the wake of a box truck or delivery van accident, the injured party can seek compensation on a number of grounds. They can attempt to recover for the medical bills that they have already paid, from physical therapy to doctor’s visits to prescriptions. An injured individual can also seek to recover for any future medical bills that they may incur. This means seeking financial support for anything from future prescriptions to any type of medical devices that they may need to help them recover from their injuries.
Additionally, someone who is injured in a box truck or delivery van accident may also seek compensation for lost wages resulting from their injury, including compensation for future lost earning potential as they may not be able to work for some time. They can also seek compensation on other grounds as well, such as loss of enjoyment. For those who have lost a loved one as the result of a box truck or delivery accident, they may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the driver of the vehicle as well as other parties that may also be liable for the accident.