Pursuing Damages in Virginia "Last-Mile Delivery" Truck Accidents

How Common Are Crashes with UPS, Fed Ex, and Amazon Trucks?

The term “last-mile delivery industry” refers to the transportation of goods from a fulfillment center or a transportation hub to the final destination (usually a customer’s home). Unfortunately, the amount of truck accidents that occur involving last-mile delivery trucks continues to grow every year.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), UPS drivers were involved in 2,842 crashes in the past 24 months and FedEx drivers were involved in 2,757 crashes. These accidents resulted in 153 fatalities.

The statistics from another popular last-mile delivery company, Amazon, aren’t as easy to obtain because the majority of drivers who deliver for the company are service partners and not direct employees of the company. There are also many independent contractors who deliver for the company through the Amazon Flex program. However, it is estimated that approximately 55,000 Amazon drivers are injured each year, with a significant percentage of those injuries occurring in delivery-related truck accidents.

Top Causes of Last Mile Delivery Accidents

The following are some of the most common causes of crashes involving these vehicles:

  • Driver fatigue – Long working hours, tight delivery schedules, and high demand can result in driver fatigue. Fatigued drivers are more prone to errors, slower reaction times, and increased chances of accidents.
  • Distracted driving – Distractions such as mobile phones, GPS devices, in-vehicle technology, or even eating and drinking can divert a driver’s attention from the road, leading to accidents.
  • Speeding – Last-mile delivery drivers may face pressure to complete deliveries within specific time frames, which can encourage speeding. –
  • Poor vehicle maintenance – Neglected vehicle maintenance, including worn-out tires, faulty brakes, or malfunctioning lights, can contribute to accidents. Inadequate maintenance can lead to vehicle breakdowns or failures while on the road.
  • Traffic congestion – Last-mile delivery often takes place in urban areas where traffic congestion is common. Heavy traffic increases the risk of truck accidents due to frequent stops and starts, lane changes, and interactions with other road users.
  • Inadequate training – Insufficient training of drivers can contribute to accidents. Proper training in defensive driving techniques, handling various weather conditions, and understanding the characteristics of delivery vehicles are essential for safe operations.

Who Is Liable?

Delivery companies can be held liable for delivery driver accidents under certain circumstances. The legal concept of vicarious liability, also known as respondeat superior, holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees that occur within the scope of their employment.

If a delivery driver causes an accident while performing their job duties, such as making deliveries or driving a company-owned vehicle, the delivery company may be held liable for the driver’s actions. This means that injured parties, such as other drivers, pedestrians, or property owners, can potentially seek compensation from the delivery company for damages resulting from the accident.

However, the specific circumstances and legal requirements for holding a delivery company liable can vary depending on the specific facts of the case. Some key factors that may be considered in determining liability include:

  • Employment relationship – It must be established that the driver is an employee of the delivery company rather than an independent contractor. Generally, if the company exercises control over the driver’s work, provides the vehicle, and sets the driver’s schedule, an employment relationship may be more likely.
  • Scope of employment – The accident must occur while the driver is acting within the scope of their employment. If the driver deviates from their assigned route or engages in personal errands at the time of the accident, it may complicate the determination of liability.
  • Negligence – Liability may also depend on whether the driver was negligent in causing the accident. If the driver’s actions, such as speeding, distracted driving, or violating traffic laws, contributed to the accident, it strengthens the case for holding the delivery company liable.

Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been injured in an accident involving a last-mile delivery vehicle, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys.

Under Virginia law, you may be entitled to collect financial compensation for all medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and any other losses the injury you suffered has caused you. Keep in mind, however, there is a statute of limitations on how long you have to file your accident claim.