Recent years have seen a steady rise in e-commerce and associated demand for on-site delivery. Another trend that has grown considerably in recent years? The increase in driving accidents and injuries sustained by hard-working delivery drivers.
From mid-2015 through the end of 2019, Amazon drivers alone were involved in over 60 crashes. The victims of these crashes include pedestrians, other drivers—and, very often, the delivery drivers themselves. When incidents like this occur, regardless of what happened, the delivery drivers can end up taking responsibility for the accident.
Why Accidents Can Happen When You’re Working as a Delivery Driver
Sometimes, delivery drivers get struck by other vehicles when they exit their truck to make a delivery. Other times, when delivery drivers slow down at their destination, they get rear-ended.
In other cases, environmental hazards like inclement weather, tight parking spots, and heavy traffic can constitute risky conditions for accidents. Delivery drivers in particular, may have a higher potential for accidents due to the nature of their job. For instance:
- High pressure to meet quotas can force a driver to drive too quickly
- Their bulky, boxy truck may have blind spots that are impossible to check easily
- Their long work hours and intense working conditions can influence delivery drivers to take stress-relieving or attention-enhancing substances—which can lead to unsafe driving
- Long working hours and high job demands may force drivers to work when too fatigued to drive safely
Determining feasible next steps in delivery driver accidents can get even more complicated when drivers are independent contractors—not, for example, Amazon, FedEx, or UPS employees.
Is There a Difference Between Driving as an Employee or an Independent Contractor?
Yes, there is. A driver’s employment classification can influence a delivery driver’s liability and post-injury strategies in the following ways:
- Employed drivers will usually have the ability to pursue worker’s compensation for any injuries they sustain while on the job. They will not usually be able to sue their employer, at least while retaining their employed status. If they wish to make a third-party claim, they may be able to pursue action against a specific negligent driver or external maintenance of their specific vehicle.
- Independent or subcontracted drivers will not be eligible for worker’s compensation. On the other hand, they may be able to more easily file a personal injury claim against all involved parties, or work through their own insurance system to file a claim for damages as they see fit.
What Types of Injuries Delivery Drivers Can Sustain
Delivery drivers perform a diverse array of required tasks—including sitting in their trucks for hours on end, which can result in specific types of injuries. They also routinely carry heavy packages and may even operate heavy machinery to load their trucks.
Some of the many risks or injuries that many delivery drivers could face are:
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Forklift accidents
- Slips and falls
- Animal attacks
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Crushed appendages
These dangerous activities and events can lead to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain or head injuries
- Fractured or broken bones
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Carpal tunnel
- Knee, shoulder, or neck injuries
- Back strain or injuries
In some cases, a delivery driver may be able to pursue workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim to fund treatment or therapy for these injuries.
What Should Delivery Drivers Do if They’re Injured While at Work?
While the specific steps that delivery drivers should take after an accident will vary depending on their employment status, suspected liability, or immediate health, the following activities may constitute general best practices:
- Seek medical help, and make sure that all affected parties seek medical help
- Write down everything that happened, and gather as much evidence as possible that lends credence to your story
- Obtain copies of workplace reports, accident logs, or police reports as appropriate
- Don’t take responsibility for the accident
- Reach out to an experienced Illinois personal injury firm as quickly as possible
The Cullotta Bravo Law Group will help you move past this event so you can focus on healing and taking care of your family. We’ll help you protect your future by determining the best course of action for you. Call our firm today at 630-898-7800 or visit our website for more information about how we can serve you.