UPS Auto Accident Claims
The United Parcel Service, more commonly known as UPS, is the world’s largest package delivery service, with more than 495,000 employees, serving more than 200 nations and territories. As consumers, we rely on the people in brown to deliver such items as books, household supplies, and even chicken feed. This accounts for over 125,000 UPS vehicles on the road.
Unfortunately, while the company employs several tactics to make sure it puts safe drivers on the road, accidents still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a UPS, contact an experienced Orlando truck accident attorney for more information about your rights.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
When we think about UPS, we typically think about the large box trucks that make at-home and business deliveries. But the UPS fleet also includes thousands of tractor-trailers that deliver freight across the country. Both types of trucks can cause serious harm in the event of an accident. While it can be easy to think of these vehicles as inherently safer, the truth is, the most common reasons for UPS truck accidents are no different than any other accident. Common causes include:
Distracted driving is dangerous for any vehicle, but is especially reckless when it comes to large truck operators. Unfortunately, despite federal, state, and employer regulations, distracted driving continues to be a serious problem. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps detailed records of inspections and violations for large motor carriers.
In regards to distracted driving, recent data shows:
- 10 violations for inattentive driving.
- 117 violations for using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
- 7 violations for texting and driving.
This data only includes FMSCA inspections for the past 24 months and does not include law enforcement citations or non-cited violations. Distracted driving is dangerous and can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle. If there is evidence that the driver was on their phone or otherwise distracted at the time of an accident, there may be cause for punitive damages.
Large trucks are not designed to travel at high speeds. Even smaller box trucks can tip or roll over if they take a curve too fast. Yet, shockingly, speeding is one of the most common violations noted by the FMSCA. Of the 6,230 violations in the most recent report, over 13 percent involved high speeds. What’s even scarier is the number of violations for speeds well above the speed limit.
Recent data shows:
- 477 violations for speeds 6-10 mph over the speed limit.
- 285 instances of speeding 11-14 mph over the limit.
- 141 violations for a driver driving at least 15 mph over the speed limit.
- 60 violations for speeding in a work or school zone.
In addition to an increased risk of rollovers, speeding also increases stopping distance and decreases reaction time. Further, for each mile per hour the driver goes above the speed limit, the greater the risk of serious injury or death.
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
You may not know it, but most UPS routes don’t include left turns. According to CNN, this proactive effort helps save time, save money, and save lives. But right of way accidents still happen. UPS drivers are like any other driver on the road. They can make poor decisions, fail to see a stop sign, or get caught in a blind spot. While accidents happen, drivers of large trucks need to be extra vigilant to make sure these accidents don’t happen.
According to FMSCA data, there were:
- 313 lane restriction violations
- 43 improper lane changes
- 304 failure to obey traffic control device violations
It’s scary to think about mechanical failures in large trucks, but they happen. In fact, probably more often than you think. Federal guidelines mandate that all truck drivers complete a full inspection at least once daily, before their first trip. The problem is, these inspections don’t always happen. If they do, it is not uncommon for something to be missed. And even with a perfect inspection, a part defect may be undetectable to the driver.
Common mechanical issues include:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake failure
- Steering issues
- Missing mudflaps
- Missing or damaged rear guards
- Broken or out or repair lights or wipers
Mechanical failure can cause an accident by a sudden loss of control of the vehicle and erratic movement, leaving the driver with seconds to try to remedy the situation. If you see this type of behavior, get out of the way and call emergency services.
Common Injuries After an Accident With a UPS Truck
Truck accidents can easily cause catastrophic injuries. Even low-speed collisions can be dangerous for a passenger vehicle occupant. After an accident, your safety is the number one priority. In the event of a serious or life-threatening injury, call 911 right away.
Common injuries after an accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the result of a hard hit to the head or a penetrating wound. After an accident, this type of injury is usually the result of a direct impact with the steering column, seat, or window. It’s impossible to tell whether a brain injury is serious without a thorough examination from a healthcare professional. After any truck accident, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor to get checked out, but it’s extremely important if you believe you hit your head. Common symptoms of a TBI include headaches, dizziness, mood changes, sleep changes, and loss of consciousness.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, are the result of a powerful force. This can be as simple as a heavy blow to the back as your vehicle comes to a stop. In most cases, spinal cord injuries result in permanent paralysis from the point of the injury, down. If you suspect a spinal cord injury, call for help right away. Symptoms include numbness, loss of sensation, difficulty walking, extreme back pain, or loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Neck and back injuries: The back and neck are particularly vulnerable to injury after an accident. The sudden jolt of a collision can cause the body to whip violently forward, then back. This can strain the tendons, joints, and discs. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries after a motor vehicle accident and is easily treatable. However, if you experience pain for several weeks after the accident, check with your doctor or chiropractor to see if there may be additional damage.
- Broken bones: The human body can only sustain so much force. During a collision, the impact between your bones and a part of the vehicle can cause the bone to break. This can cause extreme pain and difficulty moving. For severe breaks, even treatment may not return full function. If you suspect a break, do not attempt to put weight on your limb. Instead, call for help and go to the hospital.
- Internal injuries: Internal bleeding or injury can be a life-threatening emergency. These injuries typically happen when there is severe trauma. In most cases, these injuries require immediate emergency surgery and may require substantial monitoring and follow-up care.
- PTSD or other psychological issues: While most people commonly associate PTSD with military service, post-traumatic stress disorder can happen after any major trauma. One study found that over 39 percent of participants reported some form of PTSD following a motor vehicle accident. Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and mood changes. Counseling and medication can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PTSD. In addition to PTSD, victims of a severe motor vehicle crash are at high risk of other psychological issues such as anxiety and depression.
Who Pays When a UPS Truck Hits You?
After an accident, the insurance company will do an investigation to determine who is at fault. If the UPS driver contributed to the accident, they will likely hold some level of financial liability. This is true even if you are partially at fault. But there’s one thing that makes UPS accidents different than most other motor vehicle accidents. When a UPS driver is in the truck, they are on the job. This means there may be more than one party who holds liability. This may include:
The UPS driver will hold the first line of responsibility if the accident was the result of the driver’s actions or inaction. The law requires all truck drivers to hold an insurance policy large enough to cover damages in the event of an accident. This policy is generally much larger than non-commercial policies. The insurance company will evaluate the degree of your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering before making a final settlement determination.
In the event the cost of your injuries exceeds the amount of the driver’s policy, you may have cause to pursue damages directly from the company. Your attorney will likely suggest that you include the company as a defendant in your suit at the beginning of the case. Additionally, if you can prove the company showed gross negligence and had a direct impact on the events leading up to the accident, you may file a claim against them even if you don’t exhaust the driver’s policy. To get a better understanding on why you want to have an experienced attorney by your side understand how big UPS is as a company and what they are about.
A Truck or Parts Manufacturer
Unfortunately, product defects happen all the time. Bad parts make it to the market and onto trucks. When this happens, the driver may not realize there is an issue until it is too late. In this case, the manufacturer will likely hold all financial responsibility. To recover damages, you will likely have to file a separate suit. A truck accident attorney can help you determine liability and take appropriate legal action.
What to Do After an Accident
The actions you take after an accident can greatly affect your rights and recovery. While every accident is different, our experienced Orlando car accident lawyers have compiled a brief 5 step list to serve as a guide for your next auto accident.
- Survey the scene: The number one priority is to make sure all occupants are safe and away from further danger. If you are in the path of traffic, try to move to the side of the road if you can safely do so. Keep an eye out for traffic, blind curves, and any other potential dangers.
- Talk to the other driver: To file a truck accident suit, you will need the other driver’s information. This includes their name, phone number, and insurance information. Be sure to get the policy number and contact information for the insurance provider.
- Gather evidence: One of the best things you can do is take pictures of the scene. Later in the case, this can help you prove what happened. Make sure you get pictures of both vehicles, the truck’s license plate, and any property damage.
- Go to the doctor: Do not underestimate the degree of your injuries. After a truck accident, it’s important to go to the doctor, even if you feel fine. When you’re at the doctor, be sure to discuss any new or unusual symptoms.
- Contact an attorney: Accident victims have a limited amount of time to file a truck accident suit. This may seem like a long time, but commercial truck accidents are complex. You need to allow your attorney enough time to build a solid case. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better.
Protect Your Rights
Truck accidents are scary. But it can help to know you have someone by your side to fight for your rights. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you gather evidence and communicate with relevant parties. In the event of a hearing, your attorney will go to court to argue your case. Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. To learn more about your rights, contact an experienced Orlando car accident lawyer.
Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney
2420 S. Lakemont Avenue
Orlando, FL 32814