From cargo vans to 18-wheelers, delivery trucks are a common sight on the roads of Florida. An accident with one of these commercial vehicles could leave you with an unclear picture of who bears financial liability for your medical bills and other losses. Delivery vehicles can be driven by employees or independent contractors. Depending on the circumstances, you might pursue compensation from the driver, the company or both.
Employee vs. independent contractor
A delivery company that directly employs the driver may be wholly or partially responsible for settling your accident claim if you are not at fault for the crash. Usually, the company’s insurance will be your source of compensation if the driver was an employee and performing services at the time of the accident.
The picture gets muddier with an independent contractor driver because the contract places a layer of legal protection between the company and the actions of the driver. For example, Amazon, which has a multitude of branded vehicles on the roads and over 50,000 subcontracted delivery drivers, denies any liability for reckless drivers.
Evidence collected at the accident scene and by the responding police officer usually points to who was at fault for the collision. Additional investigative work may need to be done to determine the driver’s status at the time of the wreck and applicable insurance policies.
Accident victims usually hope to find the delivery company responsible for damages because a commercial company will carry a larger insurance policy. In the case of an independent contractor, you may file insurance claims or lawsuits against both the driver and the contracting company. Subsequent negotiations and litigation will reveal who has to pay and how much.