In a crash with another driver, it is not usually difficult to figure out who was liable. When you are in an accident with a delivery truck, however, determining who exactly is responsible for damages and injuries can be tough. It may be difficult to determine who the delivery truck belongs to, what company owns it or has contracted the driver, and the delivery driver may try to shift blame and fault to you instead of taking responsibility.
If the driver is cooperative, it still may be difficult to figure out what company is currently using that truck, as sometimes they are a part of a fleet, used on a monthly lease, individually owned and operated, rented for the day, and so forth. It is important to know your rights when you are involved in a delivery truck accident, so that big delivery companies and insurance companies don’t take advantage of you. This is why talking to a North Alabama truck accident lawyer is critical.
Who owns the truck?
If you are hit by a delivery truck, and you are seeking legal compensation, it is important to know who owns the truck. With big companies like Amazon or Fed-Ex, it can be easy to tell which company owns it as the logo or name is often printed on the sides of the truck itself. However, there are plenty of plain delivery trucks and vans, so it may be difficult to determine the owner.
If the truck belongs to a specific company, that company is liable for the damage caused by their driver while on the job. Even if the driver is a private contractor, the company that put them in charge of driving that truck may also be responsible for compensation.
However, there are instances where a driver may work for a company as a contractor, and use their own vehicle as their delivery vehicle (think Amazon Flex). If this is the case, then that driver would be held liable, and you would work with their private insurance policy, and also with the company who hired them. Our attorneys can explain more about the liability process.
What about farm trucks and vehicles?
In Alabama, we have what are known as intrastate farmer exemptions. These laws exempt tractor trailers from federal regulations, but only when they meet certain requirements. The tractor trailer has to be at least within 150 miles from a farm. Additionally, the truck itself has to meet certain requirements to be exempt under the law. According to the intrastate farmer exemptions, the farm vehicle driver has to be driving a commercial vehicle of at least 10,001 pounds that is:
- Controlled and operated by a farmer.
- Used to transport either agricultural products, farm machinery, farm supplies or all of these things to or from a farm.
- Not used in the operations of a common or contract carrier.
- To be covered under this law, the driver must be the farmer, a family member, or a farm hand.
Drivers operating straight trucks or trucks with trailers in excess of 26,000 pounds must:
- Be 18 years old.
- Meet the physical qualifications to operate a combination vehicle under 49 CFR § 391.67.
- Be carrying non-hazardous materials.
- Maintain inspection, repair and maintenance of vehicles, to include driver vehicle inspection reports if the farm owns more than one commercial vehicle.
With tractor trailers being exempt from Federal Regulations, that means drivers do not have to allow for breaks if they do not wish to. This inability to regulate how farm trucks operate can make the roads a more dangerous place, as farm truck drivers are not required to have the same level of professional training and may be more susceptible to driver fatigue, driver distraction, and impaired driving.
What injuries might I sustain in a delivery truck accident?
Truck accidents are some of the most devastating accidents for smaller vehicles to be involved in. Trucks are far heavier and larger than the average sedan, and at high speeds, a truck can utterly destroy the smaller car. These accidents are often fatal or leave survivors with severe injuries. If you are injured in a truck accident, a Huntsville truck accident lawyer from Martin & Helms is ready to protect your right to recover compensation from any type of injury including.
- Head injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Bone fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal organ injuries
- Amputation/limb loss
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Spinal cord injury/paralysis
- Crush injuries
- Wrongful death
Not all injuries are physical. The mental and financial tolls are high as well, and the pain and suffering can lead you to be unable to work, causing a loss in income. These sorts of injuries can affect you and your family’s entire life. It is important to talk to a truck accident lawyer so that you do not need to suffer more than you already must.
If you have been involved in an accident with a delivery truck, do not let the big companies and insurance policies fool you into settling for less than you deserve. Martin & Helms, PC has expert truck accident lawyers who can ensure that you receive everything you deserve for your pain, suffering and losses. For a consultation, call us today at 256-539-1990 or you can fill out our contact form. We also have an office in Decatur, and proudly serve clients in Athens, Madison, and throughout North Alabama.
Choosing the right personal injury attorney is an important step in building a better future. You deserve a lawyer who works one-on-one with you, and who can develop a plan for you to move forward. When you choose Martin & Helms, you get Clay Martin and Tara Helms: experienced, compassionate counselors who put your best interests first. We invite you to read more about us.