Key Points of This Article:
- Due to an increase in suppliers hiring a large number of truck drivers to support a network of delivery systems, such as Amazon, injuries to parcel truck drivers is on the rise in Michigan.
- Michigan State Police reports from 2019 note lightweight truck drivers have been assaulted, robbed, involved in road rage accidents, victims of countless hit and runs — and hundreds of drivers have been hurt and at least two others died as a result of road accidents that occurred while on the job.
- Many of these small delivery truck operators or van drivers are also independent contractors with no rights as employees, or they are working for third-party companies with poor safety standards.
- We work with package delivery truck drivers and cargo van operators to investigate Michigan crash injury claims and take appropriate legal actions against those accountable.
Increase in Next-Day Deliveries Puts More Truck Drivers at Risk of Accident Injury
Billions of packages are delivered each year by lightweight delivery trucks and sprinter-style vans provided by mega online retailers like Amazon, as well as carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS. And due to the increase in online shopping, next-day delivery promises, and a growing network of third-party centralized delivery systems, injuries to delivery truck drivers are also on the rise. Some of these operators say they are delivering upward of 250 packages a day, and at the most, a package every two minutes of their shift. In addition, injury reports from 2019 note parcel drivers have been assaulted, robbed, involved in accidents caused by other rage-filled or drunk drivers, countless hit and runs leaving hundreds of drivers hurt and at least two others dead as a result of road accidents that occurred while delivering packages.
There are many types of delivery package truck and van accidents occurring in Michigan.
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Broadside collisions
- Exiting-while-parked collisions
- Centerline crossover collisions
- Lane change collisions
- Loss of control of a vehicle
- Hit and run accidents
Weighing 80,000 lbs. compared to lightweight delivery or box trucks, commercial 18-wheelers and semi-trucks are much bigger, heavier, and more challenging to control than any other vehicle on the road making large truck delivery and package operators suspectable to life-long crash injuries as well.
Some of the most common injuries all truck drivers sustain include:
- Catastrophic traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, potentially resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Shoulder, back and neck injuries
- Broken bones and amputation injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Severe burns
- Strains and sprains
- Hip, leg, knee, foot and ankle injuries
All workers are at risk of crashes, whether they drive light or heavy vehicles, or whether driving is a main or incidental job duty, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, many of the drivers of small delivery trucks and vans are independent contractors with no rights as employees, or they are working for third-party companies with poor safety standards and now suffering from devasting accident injuries, which could have been prevented.
Delivery Drivers Contracted Through Small Companies May Lack Accident Injury Protections
Although Amazon’s fleet is taking over roadways and driveways, the company avoids all responsibility for the conditions in which most of its drivers work, including those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. It does this by contracting with at least a dozen devoted companies that have been repeatedly sued or cited due to unsafe working conditions and forms of employee mistreatment, leaving them unaccountable by instead requiring all delivery service partners to maintain independent comprehensive insurance, including auto liability.
Also, the vehicles Amazon requires its providers to use, often small sprinter-style cargo vans, fall just under the weight limit that would subject them and their drivers to Department of Transportation oversight, unlike bigger commercial trucks. In the most recent years, Amazon bought more than 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans with minimal safety upgrades to be leased through its national network of lightly regulated fleet managers, and their contract drivers.
These vans have a history of being poorly maintained, with:
- underinflated and balding tires
- cracked or missing side-view mirrors
- minimized package holding space
- doors that do not operate safely or shut
- lack of driver safety technology such as backup cameras
- have unfamiliar sightlines to most drivers
As a result, cargo van drivers may not be as aware of their surroundings, or a hazard headed their way. These companies run on colossal insurance policies to mask unsafe practices that make serious accidents more likely to occur. Proving their negligence can be more challenging than other types of accidents and often requires legal support.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured While Driving a Delivery Truck
Anytime you have become injured in an accident that occurred while driving a package delivery truck or cargo-type-van in Michigan, be sure you first:
- Contact Michigan police and seek medical attention.
- Document the truck/van accident scene by taking photographs or videos. Be sure to include your injuries.
- Gather contact information from those involved, including any witnesses.
- Follow-up with the appropriate medical care and keep all diagnosis and treatment records.
- Consult with an experienced Michigan truck accident lawyer as soon as you are able and file for No-Fault benefits.
Michigan has a set of unique truck accident liability nuances. Still, if you are employed by Amazon or a third-party delivery company at the time of your crash, you are entitled to Michigan’s No-Fault benefits, just like if you were driving your personal vehicle. You are probably also entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, assuming you are the employee rather than a contract worker, and can make a claim for pain and suffering against the person who caused the accident.
In this case, after seeking medical help, and in addition to the above:
- Notify your employer and your auto insurance company of the accident immediately.
- File for No-Fault benefits.
- Check your auto insurance policy for any specific requirements or eligibility clauses you may be unaware of.
And remember, never sign a release or give a statement to an insurance claims adjuster without speaking to a Michigan personal injury attorney first.
If you are an independent contractor, your injury claim may be a bit more complicated, but we still want to help answer any questions you might have to evaluate all of your benefits. Call our office, and we can hear what you have to say and review the No-Fault options available to you. Many contract drivers have no source of income other than their delivery jobs. When faced with the personal injury circumstances an unexpected accident can create, they have little to no financial support to cover expensive medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and various types of work restrictions, due to disability.
At The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C., we will do what it takes to get your auto accident case resolved via settlement, mediation, or trial for the maximum amount allowed under Michigan law. Our job is to maximize your recovery in every circumstance.
Package Delivery Truck and Van Driver Accident Injuries
Our expert delivery truck and cargo van accident attorneys in Michigan are familiar with the causes of these types of claims and the companies frequently involved. Call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. toll-free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free telephone consultation. As always, there is no fee until we win your case, and our dedicated team of Michigan delivery truck accident injury lawyers will be ready to answer all of your questions.
Separate from COVID-19 and what’s been going on lately, we’ve seen an increase in truck delivery accidents, especially with Amazon, because Amazon has hired tens of thousands of people in the last year as they have started their own delivery network system. We have seen a lot more accidents involving Amazon drivers. Not their fault, I mean I’m talking someone who has hit an Amazon driver. We’ve had a lot of clients come into our office with injuries because of that and I think you’re going to see more and more of that as we see more delivery trucks, more UPS drivers, more Amazon delivery personnel, now and after COVID-19.
Again, if you’re injured because someone hits you and you work for Amazon or you work for one of these delivery companies, you were entitled to no fault benefits, just like you were if you were driving your own personal car. You’re probably also entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, assuming you’re just a regular employee. And you also have a claim for pain and suffering against the person who caused the accident. So if you have any questions, they can call our office, we can walk you through the process. There’s a lot of separate claims in Michigan. It’s complicated, so we’re here to help.