Amazon is known for its fast deliveries and competitive prices. However, when Amazon truck drivers are held to tight schedules to ensure prompt delivery, drivers can find themselves in trouble. In October 2021, one Amazon delivery driver injured a motorcyclist after being distracted by the company-required GPS system. The driver suffered serious injuries which resulted in the amputation of his left leg. The victim has since sued the company saying the unrealistic expectations put in place by Amazon have left many drivers being negligent.
In a report by Bloomberg, Amazon Logistics has been a defendant in more than 119 motor vehicle injury lawsuits in 35 states in 2021. These accidents range from minor injuries in car accidents to head-on collisions resulting in catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injuries and paralysis, and even death.
What the common thread is in these preventable accidents are the algorithms, apps, and devices Amazon uses to manage its logistics operation.
Drivers for both Amazon.com and Amazon Logistics must use the Amazon “Flex App,” which controls everything for the driver’s route from what directions to follow, when to take breaks, and when to return from daily deliveries.
In one lawsuit, the driver explained that if they fall behind on a route, the company will send a text message to the driver that they are “behind the rabbit” and needs to be “rescued”. This ensures that deliveries are back on schedule. However, the problem is that when a driver falls behind on deliveries or needs to be rescued too many times, their pay will be reduced.
Naturally, when jobs are on the line, drivers will work diligently to maintain these speed and delivery schedules, even when they hold unrealistic expectations.
So far, Amazon has maintained in countless lawsuits that they are not responsible for the collisions as the lawsuits do not prove that Amazon has a “legal or contractual responsibility owed” and that the company is not “vicariously responsible for the acts or omissions of [the] defendant”. In the case of the injured motorcyclist, the company also does not hold the driver negligent for the cause of the crash.
But, many personal injury attorneys across the United States disagree, saying that the company does hold a lot of power and control over their employees, which can leave them liable.
However, the company also counterargues that because many of the drivers are contracted out via another delivery service company, which specifically works to deliver Amazon packages. But, because of the control Amazon has on these outsourced drivers, lawyers argue that despite who the driver works for–Amazon directly or one of the hundreds of small businesses– Amazon manages the drivers from afar, which can hold them responsible for damages incurred by victims.
The loophole Amazon and many other delivery companies like UPS and FedEx Corp. have found is that if the drivers are independent contractors and not full-time employees, state law will dictate if the company who has hired the contractor can be held liable for any accidents caused by those drivers.
Yet, drivers are now seeking employee rights and protections from the tech giant since they are recruited by Amazon then referred to delivery firms where they receive training on company property, are required to use the Amazon Flex app, and must wear Amazon uniforms.
Should they get employee status, it also could mean that if accidents occur, there is no question Amazon is on the hook–not the employee or referral company.
While the overall control Amazon has over its drivers has often been to blame for delivery truck accidents, there are some events that can cause drivers to collide with other motorists and pedestrians. Common causes of delivery truck and van accidents include:
While there are many causes of a car accident with a delivery van, due to the size and speed at which these vehicles move, these accidents can have long-lasting implications. Common collisions with Amazon delivery vans include:
While these accidents can range in severity, they can have serious outcomes.
Amazon delivery van accidents are complicated simply because of the number of independent contractors Amazon hires, leaving state law to dictate who is liable for your losses. Regardless of who is at fault, there are steps you should take following an accident with an Amazon delivery van.
It will be nearly impossible for you to determine on your own who is responsible for paying for your damages. This is why you should seek legal representation. Amazon doesn’t want to take responsibility for the unrealistic expectations it places on drivers. But we can.
Personal injury lawsuits involving corporate giants like Amazon can make you feel intimidated to the point of not taking action at all. However, when you or a loved one has been hurt because of the unrealistic expectations placed on drivers, Amazon must be held accountable.
With over 100 years of experience as a Washington, DC car accident lawyer, Regan Zambri Long can assist you with the claims process after your accident and take the liable parties to court if it comes to it.
We know that being involved in a car, truck, or van accident can be traumatizing to you and your family, but when your health and financial well-being are on the line, you must remain vigilant. Our attorneys can help you recover losses for:
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the Amazon delivery van accident lawyers of Regan Zambri Long by calling 202-960-4596 or contacting us online.