FedEx Truck Accident Today: FedEx Truck Accident California FAQs
Courier companies are also becoming more competitive, pushing their fleet to fulfill same-day or next-day deliveries. Among the most recognizable of these companies is Federal Express (FedEx).
Inevitably, FedEx commercial trucks get involved in road accidents. Accident victims and their families often find it challenging to get compensated for these crashes because corporations like FedEx have legal means of protecting themselves from liability. Many injury claims against such companies are left in legal limbo, eventually ending in disappointing outcomes for the victims.
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a FedEx truck accident, enlist the help of a California truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Here’s what you need to know about claiming damages after a FedEx truck wreck.
What Happens When a FedEx Truck Crashes?
If a FedEx vehicle is involved in an accident, establishing fault can be complex.
The victim(s) may need to deal with the truck driver, with the FedEx company, its insurance carrier, and sometimes a third party.
Cargo companies like FedEx will want to assess their liability right away to see what defenses they can use. Their insurance adjuster may call you immediately after the accident and try to get recorded statements from you. It is wise to be cautious when speaking to insurance representatives, as your statements could be used to demerit your injury claim later on. The best course of action is to get the guidance of a lawyer before you give any statement.
Meanwhile, the company may send their accident investigators immediately to the scene. Truck collisions are much more complex than car crashes, but experienced investigators will know what to look for and where. They could mine the truck’s ‘black box’ data, check the driver’s hours-of-service logs, and review the vehicle’s maintenance records, among many others.
To build your injury claim, you’ll want your attorney to be competent in investigating truck accidents as well. The earlier you contact a lawyer, the better your chances of accessing fresh evidence and witness statements.
Who is Responsible for a FedEx Truck Accident?
In a standard car accident claim, establishing fault is usually straightforward in the sense that there are usually only two parties to address.
But in truck wrecks, multiple parties may be found negligent and therefore liable for the accident.
Parties involved include:
- Truck driver negligence — Common examples are speeding, falsifying trucker credentials, driving under the influence, distracted driving, and reckless driving.
- Cargo company negligence — California-based trucking companies must comply with both federal and state laws. These include vetting their truck drivers, regularly maintaining their rigs, providing adequate rest breaks to truckers, and properly loading the cargo. If a trucking firm violated any of these rules, and it led to the delivery accident, the company could be found liable. But even without a violation, a company may be held accountable if their employed driver caused an accident while on duty. This falls under the legal principle of respondeat superior or “vicarious liability.”
- FedEx may evade its vicarious liability because many of its drivers are not directly employed by the company. (We discuss this further below in the section “Can I Sue FedEx?”)
- Trucking manufacturer’s product liability — If a defective truck part was a factor in the crash, the automotive manufacturer may be held liable. Malfunctioning brakes and blown tires are common examples of this. One noted case occurred in Wyoming in 2014, when a FedEx Ground tractor-trailer struck a family vehicle, killing three people. Investigation revealed that one of the truck’s tires failed, causing it to lose control. FedEx and Bridgestone Tires settled the case for a confidential amount.
- Third party negligence — Examples of potentially negligent third parties are contracted cargo-moving businesses and independent truck service shops. Sometimes, even public agencies may be deemed responsible if they failed their duty to keep the highway reasonably safe.
To determine the liable party or parties in your accident, you’ll need to work with a reliable truck accident lawyer.
Your attorney will build your case against each party by showing through concrete evidence that they failed in their duty of care.
Can I Sue FedEx for My Truck Crash Injuries?
Normally, you would be able to file a lawsuit against a company if their employee caused your injuries while they were at work. Under the legal principle of respondeat superior (“let the master answer”), employers are vicariously liable for their employee’s conduct.
However, FedEx and some other carrier corporations may try to shield themselves from this vicarious liability. They use a contracting business model, which means they contract drivers and vehicles from other independent companies. The drivers are considered independent contractors, not direct employees of FedEx. When a contracted driver gets involved in an accident, FedEx can say that the corporation is not responsible for the contractors’ negligence.
FedEx has at least two divisions that contract delivery drivers: FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery. Drivers are trained by the company under these divisions, but they are asked to sign an agreement designating them as “Independent Service Providers.”
It has been alleged that FedEx misclassified those drivers as contractors when they should legally be considered employees. The corporation has faced lawsuits on worker misclassification, and these can affect claims of personal injury and workers’ compensation.
To this day, however, FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground are still enforcing the contractor agreements. This structure has effectively protected the company from accident liability in many cases.
Californians will remember one tragic case where a delivery truck crashed into a family passenger car, killing three people including a toddler. The truck was doing FedEx Ground deliveries but was owned by a contracting business named Tiris Trucking. The truck driver was also a Tiris Trucking worker.
The ensuing investigation revealed that Tiris Trucking was not authorized to operate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In addition, the trucker had no valid license to drive a car, much less a truck.
These extremely negligent qualities are supposed to be screened in the trucking industry. Freight companies typically vet their drivers during the hiring process to ensure that the hired truckers have the right license and sufficient experience.
But because of the contracting arrangement, FedEx was able to assert that it had no responsibility for the fatal accident. When the victims’ families learned of this business structure, they decided not to sue FedEx at all.
FedEx Truck Accident Statistics
Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, and is one of the leading courier firms in the world. In the US alone, FedEx has 21,000 tractor-trailers and straight trucks that transport 3 billion packages a year. It also employs 42,218 drivers on top of the independent contractors under FedEx Home and FedEx Ground.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compiles safety data on carrier companies like FedEx. According to the agency, in the last 24 months as of June 29, 2021, FedEx has had:
- 423 total crashes in the US, including
- 152 injury crashes
- 9 fatal crashes
- 102 out-of-service vehicles, indicating one or more violations during FMCSA inspection
- 20 out-of-service drivers, also reflecting FMCSA violations.
What is FedEx Truck Insurance Coverage for Bodily Injury?
If the FedEx Corporation is held liable in a truck crash, each of their vehicles carries a liability policy with a combined single limit of $5 million. A “combined single limit” is the per-accident maximum that covers property damage, bodily injury, or both.
The FedEx Ground division has the same insurance coverage. But first, accident claimants have to hurdle the challenge of holding the company liable despite its ability to distance itself from contractors.
FedEx Truck Accident Settlements: How Much Will I Get?
There is no true ‘average’ amount when it comes to truck accident settlements because they vary widely and each case is unique. To determine how much you may receive, you’ll need to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer and examine the many factors in your case. These include the severity of your injuries, any safety violations, any contributing circumstances, and more.
There are some notable cases where FedEx has to pay multi-million dollar amounts as settlements or verdicts. The following are some examples. Note that claims against the company can have vastly different results.
New Mexico’s biggest civil award in history was a jury verdict of $165.5 million in a multi-fatal FedEx crash case. A tractor-trailer contracted by FedEx had rear-ended a pickup truck. Two pickup occupants died as well as the delivery driver, while a one-year-old child survived with serious injuries.
The verdict came in 2015, but FedEx made several efforts to lower it. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, the New Mexico Appeals Court reaffirmed the jury award in 2018. A lawyer for the surviving families said that their case exposed the cargo giant’s outsourcing practice and that some of the company’s contracted drivers didn’t even have the right safety training.
An injured Connecticut woman received a $15 million settlement from several defendants after she was hit by a delivery truck while using a crosswalk. The truck was owned by Seyam Services Inc. but was being contracted by FedEx Ground.
In her lawsuit, Kathleen McDonald named FedEx Ground Package System Inc., FedEx Corp., Seyam Services Inc., and the contracted driver Ousmane Diallo. She claimed that they caused her bodily injuries, sustained pain and suffering, disability to a certain degree, and loss of enjoyment of life. McDonald’s suit settled in 2017, three years after the crash.
A woman was fatally run over by a FedEx delivery truck as she was walking on a sidewalk near an intersection in Chicago. Witnesses said that the truck was preparing to make a right turn when it struck Marysia Harrer from behind, knocking her to the ground. The truck did not stop but instead pulled away, its front tire running over the woman’s body.
Harrer’s family and lawyers pursued a claim against FedEx, noting that “time is a mantra of FedEx, but sometimes, rushing to complete a job hurts somebody.” The suit was settled three years after her passing.
FedEx Truck Accident Today
Here are a few recent FedEx accidents worth noting.
2021 June 21 — A collision in Schenectady, NY left a sedan pinned under a FedEx truck, injuring three people including one 15-year-old in critical condition.
Authorities said that before the crash, they had been following the car concerning multiple calls about two persons fighting with weapons. One of those persons reportedly left in the sedan, prompting the police to set up a traffic stop ahead of it. But instead of stopping, the sedan sped through the stop, triggering the police chase. The officers then saw the car strike the FedEx semi.
The car driver, 53-year-old Leon Graves, was injured alongside two teenagers. Graves has been charged with drug possession and unlawfully fleeing the police.
2021 June 15 — A motorcycle rider was airlifted to the hospital after colliding with a FedEx truck in Scioto County, Ohio. The rider reportedly sustained an open hip fracture in the crash.
Part of Ohio State Route 125 was closed for cleanup. Authorities are investigating what caused the accident.
2021 June 7 — At least two people — the Jefferson County deputy sheriff and a bus passenger — were hospitalized with minor injuries following a multi-vehicle wreck in Jefferson County, Alabama.
Preliminary investigation showed that the accident may have been triggered by a FedEx truck that hydroplaned and crossed the highway median. It then collided with the sheriff’s vehicle and a Greyhound bus. Police investigation continues.
2021 May 7 — Student-teacher Mercedes Luna, 21, died in an accident involving a wrong-way SUV and a FedEx truck near Rogersville, Missouri.
Police investigation revealed that Luna was traveling to the Logan-Rogersville Primary School when a wrong-way SUV came up in front of her. The SUV was trying to pass a FedEx box truck in a no-pass zone. Luna swerved off the road to avoid the SUV but instead collided with the FedEx truck.
The SUV driver fled the scene but has since been identified by authorities. No details about the suspect could be released at the moment.
2021 May 19 — A Knoxville Area Transit bus smashed into a house in Knoxville, Tennessee after it collided with a FedEx truck that failed to yield.
The Kentucky PD crash report said that the FedEx truck failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign, just as the bus approached the intersection. The bus driver tried to avoid hitting the truck but was unable to. The ensuing collision sent the bus crashing into a house, while the truck continued rolling until it struck a utility pole.
The bus driver and one passenger sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, the FedEx driver was not hurt. Video footage showed that he was not restrained when the accident occurred and that he fell out through the open driver’s door, just inches from the colliding bus.
Two occupants of the house that was smashed also needed to be extracted by fire personnel.
2021 April 13 — A 75-year-old passenger was killed in a multi-vehicle wreck involving a FedEx semi-truck in Gloucester County, NJ.
According to NJ State Police, the FedEx semi hit the rear of the dump truck, causing the latter to cross into another lane where it collided with a car. Dump truck passenger Gary Shute was pronounced dead at the scene, while its driver was seriously injured. The car driver sustained moderate injuries. The FedEx driver, meanwhile, was uninjured.
No charges were filed as the investigation was ongoing at the time of writing.
2021 February 25 — A FedEx truck driver was hospitalized with injuries after his vehicle triggered a multi-vehicle crash on I-80 in Roseville, California.
According to California Highway Patrol, the driver lost control of his rig and slammed into a wall, causing other vehicles to crash into the truck. One lane of the highway was closed for hours as authorities began investigation and cleanup.
Contact a Trusted Lawyer for Your FedEx Accident Case
Recovering from a devastating truck accident can be difficult, especially if you’re up against a powerful company like FedEx. Let a reliable attorney help you claim your much-needed compensation.
In Southern California, the Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers are highly trusted by individuals and families who have suffered from a truck crash. Our firm has over two decades of legal experience and has won favorable settlements from corporations.
Whether you were hurt as a car driver, truck driver, passenger, or pedestrian, we are ready to listen to you. Your consultation with us is free.
Call (619) 550-1355 or use our online contact form.
Robert Hamparyan is one of California’s most accomplished personal injury lawyers. Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers San Diego was founded so that Robert could bring more of his skill and knowledge to personal injury victims in all types of cases. Robert and his team have dealt with semi truck accidents, wrongful death cases, brain & spine injuries, and many other types of personal injury cases with soaring success.
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