The delivery trucks utilized by UPS are large, heavy, and often dangerous. These vehicles travel throughout the state to deliver parcels and while they do so, accidents can happen. When truck drivers are negligent in operating their tractor-trailers, severe injury and even death may result. When these accidents injure you or your family, a lawsuit may win you the compensation you deserve.
Following a UPS truck accident in Atlanta, you deserve to have your case analyzed by a skilled Atlanta truck accident attorney. Our firm is ready to help you.
Filing Suit Against UPS
Unlike other major delivery carriers such as Amazon or FedEx that use independent contractors to drive, UPS primarily hires employees to drive company trucks. This means you can hold UPS directly responsible for a negligent driver.
A lawsuit requires an injured plaintiff to prove that the tractor-trailer driver was negligent. Negligence occurs when a truck driver breaches a duty of care, and that breach causes injury to another.
Analyzing a UPS Truck for Negligence
To properly investigate a case and determine where the negligence occurred requires significant legal experience.
UPS trucks come with special data collection devices that determine the truck's speed, when the driver braked, and much more. This black box can establish negligence in UPS truck accident cases. An experienced attorney knows how to seek this evidence and properly use it to prove negligence.
UPS truck drivers are also highly regulated by state and federal law. Guidelines limit the number of hours a driver may drive, when they must take breaks, and how much sleep a driver should have. A negligent company fails to ensure that its drivers follow these laws.
Other Reasons for UPS Truck Accidents
Unlike FedEx, UPS does not hang its reputation on overnight delivery. However, the main appeal of a service like UPS is speedy delivery. UPS pressures drivers to get packages to customers quickly. Some drivers use this focus on speed to ignore safety while making their deliveries. While UPS has a better safety record than other delivery companies, their drivers are still prone to accidents simply because they are on the road for so many hours a day.
UPS accidents are often caused by:
- Speeding: Some drivers try to get all their packages delivered before the end of their shift. If they feel they will not make this deadline, they may drive faster and take more chances in traffic. When drivers speed, they put themselves and other people in danger because higher speed equals slower reaction time when something unexpected happens.
- Fatigued Drivers: Some UPS drivers take overtime shifts to make more money. They work long hours and drive while tired. Driving while sleepy can equal disaster for other pedestrians and drivers, as fatigue severely impacts a driver's ability to respond in time during an accident.
- Distracted Drivers: If a UPS driver is behind schedule, they may be more concerned about making it to their next destination. While thinking about their deliveries, they may not pay attention to everything around them as they drive. But that's not all—like many other drivers, some UPS personnel are tempted to text or check their phones while they drive.
- Improper Truck Loads: In their haste to get more deliveries out the door sooner, some UPS drivers do not properly load their trucks. Driving with an improperly balanced truck can cause the vehicle to malfunction, increasing the potential for a breakdown or accident.
UPS Truck Maintenance
Another critical area where negligence can occur is the maintenance of UPS vehicles. An improperly maintained truck or tractor-trailer can lead to devastating injuries in an accident. Federal laws govern how often they must service a vehicle, and failure to follow these rules can constitute strong evidence of negligence by UPS.
In some cases, it is not UPS’s failure to maintain the truck, but rather a defective part that caused the accident. When this happens, you may include the defective part's manufacturer in the lawsuit. This commonly occurs when defective tires blow out.
What Should I Do After a UPS Truck Accident?
After your accident, you may be confused and frightened. Despite your disorientation, you will need to do a few things to protect your interests. Making the wrong decision after your accident could forfeit your right to seek compensation for your losses. Keep the steps below in mind if you have an Atlanta UPS truck accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
It is normal to believe you are okay right after an accident. Between the shock of the accident and your body’s normal chemical responses, you may know about some injuries until long after authorities clear the accident scene.
After any traffic accident, seek medical attention and get a thorough evaluation to ensure you are unharmed. Many injuries do not present themselves until hours, days, or even weeks later. While your safety and health are the most important reasons to get medical help after your ordeal, they are not the only ones.
By getting evaluated, you will have a clear record of your injuries along with your medical expenses to show the UPS driver's insurance representatives. These expenses—along with medications, physical therapy, and other recovery costs—serve to build a solid case to support your claim.
Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
Be sure to follow any treatment instructions for your injuries very closely. If you ignore your doctor’s instructions, you could be putting your health at risk. Also, you are giving the opposing party possible ammunition to show your injuries are not as severe as your claim suggests.
Pay attention to your doctor’s instructions. Your treatment plan will also provide accurate billing so you can provide opposing counsel with solid proof of your economic damages.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if you were not at fault for the accident, your insurance company still needs to know about any accidents involving their policyholders. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may even need to file an underinsured motorist claim with your company.
Do Not Speak to the UPS Insurance Representatives
UPS maintains its insurance through Liberty Mutual. Their policy renews on January 1 each year. With a company as large as Liberty Mutual handling an account as large as UPS, they work hard to protect their clients’ interests and avoid payouts when possible.
A UPS insurance representative may contact you soon after your accident, sometimes in hours. They might try to take advantage of your disorientation or fears about your medical expenses. They may tell you that you do not need an attorney and offer you what they call a "fair" settlement right then and there.
Do not sign their paperwork or you cannot pursue additional financial compensation for your injuries. Also, be very careful what you say to these representatives. They may use statements like "I didn't see him" against you if your case goes to trial. An experienced Atlanta UPS accident attorney can help you navigate these tactics and determine your case's true value.
Seeking Financial Compensation From an Atlanta UPS Accident
The legal process typically begins with filing a claim and sending a demand letter to the insurance company to seek damages. UPS's insurance provider, Liberty Mutual, carries a policy that covers $1 million for each truck accident.
The insurance company will not just take your word for it—part of the claims process is proving that the UPS driver in question caused your injuries. One potentially tricky part of the claim is proving that the driver was not conducting personal business during the accident. Without this, UPS's insurance representatives may simply claim the driver was not conducting company business while driving.
In this case, you may need to file a claim with the driver's insurance company, and that policy may not properly compensate you.
Investigating the Circumstances of Your Case
An experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta can help by thoroughly investigating your accident case. Your attorney can work to determine what the UPS driver was doing at the time of the accident and file a claim against the appropriate insurance company. Regardless of which insurance company you must deal with, a skilled attorney can negotiate with their representatives on your behalf instead of accepting a lowball offer.
Should I File a Lawsuit Against UPS?
Lawsuits are complicated and take extra time and money. However, sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to seek financial compensation for your injuries.
For example, you may need to file a lawsuit if:
- UPS insurance representatives will not agree that the UPS driver involved in your accident was the cause of your injuries.
- While negotiating with you for an out-of-court settlement, the insurance representatives refuse to offer you a fair amount for your losses.
- Liberty Mutual’s policy covering UPS truck accidents maxes out at $1 million per accident. If your losses total more than $1 million, you can also sue UPS directly to make up the difference.
Who Can I Sue in My Atlanta UPS Accident?
Unlike other delivery companies, UPS classifies all of its drivers as employees. As the employer, UPS is responsible for the training and actions of its employees. And because UPS has so many drivers on the road every day, UPS accidents may happen more frequently.
UPS May Be Liable
If the UPS driver involved in your accident is responsible for your injuries, you may sue UPS for damages. You would need to prove that the driver's actions were within the scope of their employment. In other words, if the driver was following company rules and conducting company business at the time of your accident, you may hold UPS liable in a civil suit.
In some instances, the company may try to absolve themselves of responsibility by attempting to show their employee was on a lunch break or conducting personal business when the accident occurred. This is an important distinction. The UPS driver's insurance policy would likely not have the same coverage as the companywide policy provided by Liberty Mutual.
If you decide to escalate your claim to a lawsuit, you would sue UPS first because they have far more financial resources to properly compensate you than the driver. Consider speaking with an experienced Atlanta UPS accidents attorney to fully understand your legal rights and next steps.
Consult a UPS Truck Accident Attorney Today
Tractor-trailer and other truck accidents can lead to serious injuries or even death. Medical bills and other costs can quickly pile up. But the responsible party should pay these costs—not you.
If a UPS truck accident injured you in Atlanta, the Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group is here for you. To learn how an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer can help, contact us today for a consultation.