The United Parcel Service (UPS), the largest shipping carrier in the country, has a satisfactory rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and safely delivers over 23 million packages and parcels every day.
However, UPS accidents do occur and when they do, the effects can be devastating. In cases where an accident was caused by negligence on the part of UPS or its workers, survivors of a collision or accident may be able to file UPS vehicle accident claims to seek compensation for their losses.
What Kinds of Accidents Are Most Common When It Comes to UPS?
UPS relies on trucks — which they often call “package cars” — and drivers to get parcels to airports and to individual addresses. As a result, many of the injuries involving UPS workers come down to traffic-related incidents, such as:
- Truck and car accidents. A typical UPS accident happens when a UPS truck crashes into a passenger car. This can occur because the UPS driver cuts off a passenger car, runs a traffic light or stop sign, or sideswipes a car. In some cases, collisions have happened because a UPS driver was in the wrong lane or because they failed to stop for a car in front of them. In the 24 months before November 2021, UPS vehicles were involved in 2844 traffic crashes, including 64 fatal collisions.
- Pedestrian accidents. Another common collision occurs if UPS drivers crash into pedestrians. This can occur on crosswalks, intersections, driveways, or in parking lots and other areas where individuals may be walking. An especially devastating incident can occur if a UPS driver backs up over a pedestrian who is behind the truck.
- Injuries caused by cargo. Although less common, the process of onloading and offloading cargo can cause injury. Overloaded trucks can also increase the risk of traffic collisions.
UPS trucks are larger than sedans and subcompacts, weighing up to five tons when fully loaded. In a collision with a car or passenger, this weight means significant force, which can lead to serious injuries.
How Do UPS Accidents Generally Happen?
In some cases, a UPS truck accident is genuinely caused by factors outside a driver’s control. A child may run into the road or a road may be in poor condition and cause a collision. However, many so-called accidents are in fact preventable and are caused by:
- Time pressure. UPS drivers need to deliver parcels and packages by a set time. This can create time pressure which leads to inattention, driver stress, or speeding, all of which can contribute to traffic collisions.
- Human error. A driver may inadvertently miss a traffic sign or may misjudge a distance, leading to a crash.
- Fatigue and distraction. UPS drivers work hard, but when managers overwork them, UPS delivery personnel can get overwhelmed or excessively tired, which can slow down response times and lead to mistakes on the road. Similarly, if drivers are being interrupted by dispatch or their employer or are in unfamiliar areas without proper support, they may not be able to place their full focus on driving.
- Incorrect training. UPS is responsible for making sure all their drivers have the correct licensing and training for the job. Inexperienced, poorly trained drivers may be more likely to cause crashes.
- Failure to obey traffic laws. UPS motorists who fail to yield, stop at stop signs, and otherwise fail to obey the rules of the road are unpredictable. They may cause a collision because other drivers cannot respond appropriately in time to prevent a crash.
- Negligence. UPS has a screening and vetting policy to attract qualified drivers. The company is responsible for ensuring their drivers are not unsafe on the roads, but some drivers may simply be reckless with their responsibility on the road. They may be violating UPS safety policies, driving under the influence, using a mobile device instead of staying focused on the job, or engaging in other reckless behavior while out making deliveries.
In many cases, it can be difficult to tell what caused a UPS truck accident immediately following the collision. Many injured drivers and pedestrians choose to work with a personal injury attorney to get answers and to pursue any compensation they may be entitled to.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Result?
UPS trucks are large enough to cause serious injury, especially to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Even those inside a passenger car can be seriously injured by a T-bone, rear-end shunt, or head-on collision with a UPS delivery truck. Common injuries can include:
- Head trauma
- Back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Burn injuries
- Scarring and deformity
- Facial injuries
Some injuries can be life-changing, affecting a person’s ability to earn a living, complete daily tasks, or care for themselves. Head injuries, for example, can lead to loss of memory and cognitive function as well as personality changes. Even a seemingly simple injury, such as a broken bone, can cause pain and weeks of lost income.
What Legal Avenues Are Available for Recovery?
In cases where a UPS truck accident was caused by the negligence of the truck driver or the UPS company, a legal claim is possible. UPS vehicle accident claims allow those who have been injured by UPS negligence to pursue compensation for their costs, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Compensation helps relieve the financial pressure someone may feel after a serious injury, allowing them to focus on healing.
What’s the Process Like?
Every UPS-related injury is different. However, in the moments after a crash you may not know whether you want to pursue a claim or whether you have been seriously injured. For this reason, you’ll want to act to protect yourself in case you do need to make a claim. After a UPS accident, it is important to:
- Stay calm and document what you can. Get the driver’s name, license plate number, company information, and other details. If possible, take photos of the vehicle, the surrounding area, your injuries, and your vehicle. Get the contact information of any possible witnesses and note the time and date of the accident. The more information you have, the more evidence you may be able to produce to help determine what caused the collision.
- Get medical help. If you may have sustained a head injury or are seriously injured, seek emergency medical help by dialing 911. Even if you’re fortunate enough to walk away without obvious injuries, get a medical evaluation as soon as possible after your accident. Not all injuries have obvious symptoms and if you have been injured it’s important to get treatment right away and to document your injuries.
- Contact your insurance company. If your car or motorcycle was involved in a collision with a UPS truck, you will need to alert your insurance company. Avoid agreeing to anything with your insurer until you understand how much your losses may be and how much your claim may be worth.
- Contact a personal injury attorney. The time after a serious injury is difficult and confusing. Many people injured by a UPS truck contact a personal injury attorney to help them with the claims process.
One of the first things that an attorney will do is determine the liable parties in your case. This may include the UPS employee, UPS itself, and other drivers. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your claim. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the sooner they can start securing information and evidence.
How Can Johnson Garcia Help?
The attorneys at Johnson Garcia have helped many injured drivers and pedestrians with UPS vehicle accident claims. Our legal team understands how upsetting a serious injury can be, and we go out of our way to answer your questions, keep you updated about your claim, and help you understand the process. We handle all the details of filing your claim and negotiating your settlement, so you can focus on recovering after your ordeal.
If you have been injured by a UPS truck or driver and would like to speak to caring, professional personal injury attorneys about your potential claim, contact Johnson Garcia for an in-person or online consultation.