The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.
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What rights do victims have if they are injured because of an unsecured load accident?
You have the right to pursue financial compensation for any losses you sustain because of your injuries. Families of victims who are killed in unsecured load accidents can file wrongful death lawsuits against the responsible parties. Because an unsecured load accident lawsuit can be complex because of the potential multiple at-fault parties involved, it is best to work with a personal injury attorney in order to ensure your rights are protected.
What are the causes of unsecured load accidents?
Some of the more common causes include:
- Failure to conduct regular load checks to ensure securing devices or load has not shifted
- Failure to ensure that the cargo load is balanced properly
- Hauling unapproved cargo
- Incorrect or inappropriate use of tie-downs, straps, or other securing devices
- Not fully closing or locking the cargo door
- Overloading the truck
- Use of defective straps, tie-downs, or other securing devices
How often do unsecured load accidents happen?
According to a study mandated by the U.S. Congress, in one year, there were more than 51,000 accidents caused by unsecured loads or road debris. These accidents resulted in more than 10,000 victims injured and the deaths of almost 500 victims. Since that study, states across the country have passed stricter laws regarded unsecured loads, but this is still a dangerous issue and a common cause of vehicle accidents.
How can victims establish liability in road debris crashes?
Establishing liability can be difficult without the help of a Virginia truck accident attorney. If the truck that dropped the debris is present and/or involved in the crash, then proving liability is much easier. If the cargo fell off the truck and the driver was unaware and not at the scene of the crash, it may be harder to determine liability. A truck accident attorney can initiate an investigation to find the driver and company that owned the cargo.
What are the laws regarding cargo being transported by trucks?
There are multiple regulations, both federal and state, that govern how cargo should be secured. Failure to follow these laws can result in serious fines and license suspension for drivers. There may also be criminal and civil liability, depending on serious an accident is.
How common are truck accidents caused by road debris?
According to statistics collected by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are approximately 200,000 accidents in a three-year period where road debris was a factor. These accidents resulted in the deaths of 500 victims. Another 40,000 injuries were injured.
If I file personal injury claims against a delivery company like UPS or FedEx, can I also try to hold the truck driver who caused the crash liable?
Virginia allows injured crash victims to file insurance claims against all the at-fault parties. This means that a delivery company and its driver can be named in separate legal actions. It usually makes the most sense to focus on a single claim, but consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney will clarify your options.
Are delivery companies liable when one of their drivers causes a crash with injuries?
Delivery companies are often held liable for the negligent or reckless actions of their drivers. This is especially true when evidence shows that the driver caused a serious crash because they were poorly trained, inadequately supervised, not properly equipped, made to work long hours without required rest breaks, or distracted while using company-issued electronic devices.
So, yes, a person who suffers injuries in a crash involving a UPS, FedEx or other delivery vehicle can have grounds filing insurance claims against the company.
What happens if a UPS or FedEx driver caused the crash in which I got injured?
Companies are usually held responsible for the harmful actions of their employees. The legal term for this is “respondeat superior,” which is most often translated as “let the master answer.”
Applying this precept to cases in which negligent or reckless delivery truck drivers hit and injure other people, crash victims very frequently have grounds for filing insurance claims against the delivery company. Federal and state laws require UPS, FedEx and similar corporations to carry insurance on all their vehicles and drivers.
How does a Virginia personal injury lawyer prove a respondeat superior claim?
In Virginia, succeeding with a claim that an employer should be held liable for compensating a personal injury or wrongful death victim who was harmed by an employee’s negligence or recklessness requires a plaintiff’s attorney to answer three basic questions in the affirmative. These are
- Does an employer-employee relationship exist?
- Was the employee conducting the employer’s business at the time the injury or death occurred?
- Was the employee acting within the scope of his or her work-related duties?
Each of the topline questions encompasses others. For instance, showing the existence of an employer-employee relationship requires producing evidence that the employer did things like the following:
- Paid the person through it regular payroll
- Provided the materials the person used to do his or her job
- Exercised supervision over the person’s tasks
- Had the authority to fire the person
Regarding the scope of duties test, a Virginia personal injury or wrongful death attorney must demonstrate one of the following:
- The employee was doing something within his or her job description,
- The employee was acting at the employer’s request,
- The employee was acting with the employer’s explicit or understood permission, or
- The employee was doing something that would or had the potential to benefit the employer.