When accidents take place between two or more people, the parties can, more often than not, resolve the matters among themselves and their insurance companies. In the event that accident expenses exceed what an insurance company is willing to pay, victims can sue the at-fault drivers to recover further compensation. And accidents involving delivery vehicles may provide victims with additional alternatives for compensation.
When Are Delivery Drivers Liable?
The driver of a delivery vehicle who causes an accident remains liable. However, other parties may also face liability.
Pennsylvania law may permit a car accident victim to bring forth a claim against a delivery driver’s employer under the theory of vicarious liability. To recover compensation under this theory, the victim must demonstrate that the driver acted within the scope of employment at the time of the accident.
An employee acts within the scope of employment whenever meeting the following conditions:
- The employer hired the employee to perform a specific task
- Within authorized time and space limits
- At least in part to serve the employer
Liability may extend to a driver’s employer in the following example:
A delivery driver, delivering to a customer, drives a company vehicle at high speeds, swerving in and out of traffic despite wet weather conditions. The delivery driver loses control of the vehicle and crashes into another vehicle in oncoming traffic, injuring that driver and that car’s passengers.
Here, the driver acts within the scope of employment because the driver is making a delivery on behalf of the employer (and in a company vehicle). The driver’s negligence causes the accident and injures the other vehicle’s passengers. Because of these factors, the injured parties may recover compensation from both the driver and employer.
Victims cannot always hold a delivery driver’s employer liable. For example, if the driver in the above scenario was not making a delivery and was instead making a detour to visit a friend, then the employer may avoid liability—visiting a friend is not within the driver’s scope of employment.
The facts of a case are not always as cut and dry as the above examples. To determine whether you can hold a delivery driver’s employer liable for injuries the driver caused you, seek experienced legal counsel.
An automobile accident victim must demonstrate injuries and expenses to recover compensation. Victims must keep detailed records and receipts for all accident-related medical expenses, doctor visits, and repairs. Good record-keeping will help a skilled attorney put together a strong, well-written claim on your behalf.
For What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover Compensation?
In the event of an automobile accident, you can recover damages for:
- Medical expenses (including current and future medical costs for accident-related injuries, as well as for rehabilitation and physical therapy).
- Non-monetary losses (particularly pain and suffering).
Lost wages. Injuries may preclude a victim may from returning to work, whether temporarily or permanently, after the accident. The victim may recover compensation for lost wages—based on earning capacity—incurred during the recovery period.
Punitive damages, although awarded to victims, do not compensate victims for their losses— they punish defendants while discouraging others from acting in similar ways.
Automobile accidents can also—sometimes, all too often—involve the loss of life. In fact, statistics indicate that one in 10 fatal highway accidents involve large trucks—which can include some delivery vehicles. When fatal accidents involving large trucks took place, 70 percent of those who died in 2015 occupied passenger vehicles. Family members may recover compensation for loss of companionship because they can no longer enjoy the presence of the deceased.
Extending Punitive Damages to Employers
Punitive damages can extend to an employer. This helps victims because employers tend to have deeper pockets and can, therefore, pay these damages, which can add up to significant sums.
A victim will need to demonstrate specific facts to receive punitive damages. Given the complex arguments required to receive punitive damages, victims should seek experienced legal counsel to help with their claims.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today
As the victim of an automobile accident, you deserve to recover compensation for your injuries and accident-related expenses. Whenever the driver of a commercial vehicle causes an accident, Pennsylvania law may entitle you to recover damages from both the driver and the driver’s employer. The personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm have the experience and determination to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free initial consultation today by calling our offices at (215) 825-5183 or visit our website.