Amazon Delivery Truck Accidents
Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world. The e-commerce giant delivers over 1.5 million packages a day in the U.S. alone. During its nascent years, it exclusively used third-party delivery services such as FedEx, UPS, DHL Express and the U.S. Postal Service for its deliveries. Over the last ten years, Amazon has built a huge logistical operation, dubbed Amazon Logistics, to meet its unrivaled delivery promises. As more and more online retailers matched Amazon’s two-day shipping, Amazon set itself apart by offering next-day, same-day, Amazon Fresh, a grocery delivery service, and Amazon Now, which delivers store items in as little as an hour.
Amazon now subcontracts small delivery companies who work exclusively for them through their Delivery Service Partners Program. Even more recently, Amazon has started contracting individuals to make its deliveries in a similar vein to Uber or LIft through a program called Amazon Flex. All these different delivery mechanisms ensure that your packages arrive on time and save Amazon money, but they almost make legal issues surrounding Amazon delivery truck accidents, like fault and liability, more nebulous. If you’ve been in an accident involving an Amazon delivery vehicle, here is what you need to know.
Common Causes of Amazon Delivery Accidents
Some Amazon delivery truck accidents happen for the same reasons that any other traffic accidents can happen. Ever since smartphones have become commonplace, there has been an uptick in distracted driving accidents, and delivery truck drivers are no exception. In fact, because delivery truck drivers are always driving to new unknown locations, they are constantly using their phone GPS for directions. Unfamiliarity with new locations will also make it more likely that you miss turns or traffic signs. Add on top of those constant notifications from various apps and contact with Amazon, and you have a perfect recipe for a car accident.
Amazon’s strict demands of its delivery drivers are no secret. Reports of delivery drivers unable to take bathroom breaks and speed to make their tight delivery routes are frequent. Because delivery drivers must meet numerous deliveries per route in a limited amount of time to keep working for Amazon, many will do anything necessary to keep their job. This means Amazon delivery trucks are more likely to speed excessively, ignore traffic signs, and blow red lights. We all know the more pressed for time we are, the more likely we are to drive recklessly. Other causes of Amazon truck delivery accidents include:
- Improperly loaded trucks
- Lack of experience
- Lack of training
- Intense working conditions
- Reckless driver history
How to File a Claim After an Amazon Delivery Accident
If you were involved in a serious Amazon accident in Orange County, it is imperative that you immediately take steps to preserve the relevant evidence needed to submit a police report as well as an insurance claim. Please remember, if your injuries are serious or life-threatening, your priority should be seeking medical attention. After you are sure everyone is okay, the first thing you need to do is report the accident to the authorities. Make sure to gather all necessary insurance and identifying information from the delivery truck driver and any other driver involved in the collision. You will also want to take any pictures of the physical damage to your car and other property as well as any visible injuries suffered by you and others in your vehicle due to Amazon’s negligence. You will want to seek legal counsel as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your mind. An attorney specializing in Amazon accidents will help you figure out if you need to conduct a further investigation so that you have all the necessary evidence to prove negligence and liability. He or she will also help you figure out who you need to file your claim with – an issue complicated by Amazon’s varying delivery mechanisms.
Who is at Fault for An Amazon Delivery Driver’s Negligence?
You have all your evidence proving negligence on the part of the Amazon truck driver, but you still need to figure out who is at fault, as in who is actually going to be liable for paying out your claim. You may be wondering with so many moving parts exactly who this may be. We will review the different parties who may be at fault to help you understand who you should file your claim with.
- Third-Party Delivery Companies
If the delivery was made by a third-party delivery company, a claim directly against Amazon following an accident is likely to fail. Let’s say you see your Amazon package delivered at your front door. When you step out to get it, you witness the delivery driver hitting your parked car as they drive away. Your instinct might be to file a claim with Amazon, but if the delivery truck belongs to a well-known third-party delivery service, you will be more likely to file a successful claim with them. Companies that make Amazon deliveries, such as FedEx, DHL Express, and UPS, carry their own liability insurance. FedEx, for example, carries a $1,000,000 accident liability policy for all drivers, even when they are making Amazon deliveries. In this instance, submitting your claim directly with them will be your fastest and most efficient way to be properly compensated for your losses.
- Delivery Service Partners Program
Amazon rolled out its Delivery Service Partner Program in 2018. The program hires small subcontracted parcel delivery firms with twenty to forty delivery vans each. Though they exclusively deliver Amazon packages for Prime customers, they are not considered Amazon employees. In order to keep these fleets from unionizing and to keep its control over prices paid per delivery, Amazon keeps these fleets to under forty vans and to under 100 employees. You’ve undoubtedly seen a grey-blue van with the Amazon logo emblazoned across the side and an employee dressed in an Amazon uniform step out to make a delivery. You might be surprised to learn that these vans aren’t owned by Amazon and these uniformed delivery persons aren’t actually considered Amazon employees. Amazon requires these Delivery Service Partners to carry their own liability insurance. This means that, despite the efforts to make these subcontractors look like Amazon employees, you will need to file your claim with these service partners directly. Unfortunately, Amazon’s website doesn’t give clear directions of how exactly to do this, so you will have to do some research to figure out exactly how to do this.
- Amazon Flex
Another thing that makes liability complicated is the Amazon Flex program. Amazon provides delivery services by contracting with independent drivers who use their own cars. Because Flex drivers earn between $18-$25 an hour, this program attracts plenty of potential workers who own cars and are looking for flexible work. For normal deliveries as well as Prime Now and Amazon Fresh, drivers will pick up their packages at their designated Amazon delivery station and deliver them within a predetermined time block, usually between three and six hours. In limited areas, Amazon offers store pick-up and instant deliveries, and these drivers are responsible for making these timely deliveries as well. Instant deliveries are usually promised in an hour or less, putting added pressure on Flex drivers. Amazon requires Flex drivers to have personal car insurance. Additionally, it allows them to opt-in to their commercial auto policy, Amazon Flex Auto Policy. This insurance program provides Flex drivers with liability coverage, contingent collision and comprehensive coverage, and with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If the Flex driver is at fault due to their negligence, their Flex insurance will cover up to $1 million dollars in property and bodily harm damages. However, this insurance only applies when these drivers are “on the job,’ and what is considered “on the job” may be more limiting than you think. The driver must be transporting or delivering packages for Amazon at the time of the accident. If a driver is on their way or his or her way home from working or back to the office, their Amazon Flex insurance policy will not kick in.
Will Amazon Pay for Accidents Caused By Their Drivers?
The $1 million liability limit that Amazon requires of its subcontractors and flex drivers will cover the vast majority of car accident damage caused by driver negligence. In the rare instance of a higher payout, Amazon maintains it bears no liability, despite the arduous demands it places on its drivers. The company directs routes and tracks drivers as they go about their deliveries.
Because of the way that Amazon has set up its logistical delivery operation, liability is rarely straightforward. It will vary on a case-by-case basis and it will not always be easy to flesh out without the help of legal counsel. On top of this, laws are ever-evolving to keep up with the complications that continue to arise from expanding delivery logistics. Cases are continuously going to court in which lawyers and their clients argue with growing evidence that because of the tight grip Amazon holds over these drivers, they should be responsible for the negligence and consequential damages caused by these drivers, regardless of their claims that they are independent contractors.
Contact an Experienced Amazon Delivery Truck Accident Attorney in California
If you have been involved in an accident with an Amazon Delivery driver and are looking to hire an attorney, you’ll want the best California Accident lawyers in town. Contact the truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates today for help with your Amazon delivery truck accident.
We have offices throughout Southern California including Los Angeles, El Segundo, Irvine, San Diego and Riverside. Our experienced truck accident attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call 949-727-9300.