Seeking Justice for Amazon Delivery Accidents

Amazon’s impressive business reach has enabled the company to create products and services that make life easier for people in many ways. However, the company’s constant efforts to improve its business profile and reap massive profits have not come without cost. It has been indicted in multiple complaints, including selling dangerous counterfeit products, terrible working conditions, and deadly road accidents caused by its delivery partners.

For example, Amazon Flex allows individuals and small companies to partner with Amazon to deliver the company’s products. The companies allocate key routes to these partners, who agree to assume the financial risk of running the business. At the same time, Amazon exercises extensive oversight of hiring and performance. However, the company is curiously lacking in enforcing good safety and work standards on these partners, which has led to significant complaints and multiple deadly occurrences every year.

Hundreds of families and individuals suffer losses yearly due to Amazon delivery accidents. The drive for profit should never come at the cost of broken families, unsafe communities, or deadly roads. Fiore Legal has a team of skilled attorneys dedicated to helping those affected by Amazon delivery accidents. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury or property loss due to an accident with an Amazon driver, we are here to help. Don't hesitate to take action and explore your legal options.

Amazon Flex and Deadly Accidents

Amazon Flex operates according to a structure similar to the company’s delivery contracts with UPS, FedEx, and other significant partners. The small companies provide drivers and vehicles, and Amazon assigns them a share of its highly lucrative e-commerce delivery network. However, while operations like UPS and FedEx are subject to rigorous standards, Amazon adopts a laissez-faire approach to safety and workplace fairness at its small company delivery partners. A detailed investigation by ProPublica and Buzzfeed in August 2019 found that the company has failed to ensure its delivery partners prioritize safety. While Amazon demands that drivers pass a background check, pass a road test, and have at least six months of experience, job postings from Amazon partner firms often skip some of these requirements.

Amazon exerts extreme pressure on the companies to meet performance targets, and failure is often punished by either reducing the routes assigned to these companies or firing them entirely. Amazon sometimes pays these companies a flat fee per route, meaning that when packages increase, the companies must take the extra work within the flat fee. They must do this even while paying drivers hourly rates of between $15-$18 per hour. This squeezes thin margins even tighter, leading companies to skimp on critical safety measures. Drivers of many of these companies complain of poorly maintained vans, with some showing balding tires, malfunctioning doors, broken rearview mirrors, and missing or cracked side view mirrors. Drivers must meet their deliveries at all costs, and all drivers are monitored with technology that tells Amazon exactly who is slacking off and where.

This translates to severe pressure on drivers to deliver the goods. In many cases, they attempt to do this by all means necessary, including running red lights, taking dangerous left turns, carelessly backing out into traffic, and generally breaking all the rules of the road. These drivers also try to maximize their time as much as possible by stacking packages on their dashboards. But this effectively limits their view of the road, making it all the more likely that an accident will happen. There is very little to no training conducted for these drivers, and during hectic periods, Amazon’s delivery partners often forgo all but the most rudimentary checks. The report by ProPublica and Buzzfeed documented one instance of a manager for an Amazon delivery partner promising to hire anybody on the spot. This has combined into four-wheeled disasters waiting to happen, leading to predictable results.

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Amazon Delivery Accidents Are Intentionally Complicated

Ordinarily, when a driver causes damage or injury to another person, their employer can be held liable if the driver is on the job. This principle allows courts to keep employers on their toes, ensuring they enforce compliance with reasonable safety standards in their workplace. Here’s how Amazon tries to get around any liability for severe and deadly accidents:

Questionable Contracts

Amazon tries to skirt the operation of this principle entirely in the contracts it enters with its delivery partners. Under the agreements, Amazon is not an employer for the drivers carrying out the deliveries. This means they cannot be sued for the wrongful conduct of the drivers or when they cause injury to others.

In addition, the contract entirely absolves Amazon of liability in any of its relations with its delivery partners. The delivery companies are required to indemnify Amazon against any liability arising out of the actions of their drivers.

This aims to ensure that Amazon cannot be held responsible when a disaster happens, and its delivery partners may even be liable to Amazon.

Size and Specifications of its Delivery Vans

The company requires its partners to use a smaller type of van called “Sprinters.” These vans are smaller than standard UPS or FedEx trucks and fall just beneath the weight limit that would put them within the Department of Transportation oversight. Amazon usually purchases these vans and then sells or leases them to their delivery partners, who use them to deliver packages.

The entire structure of the Amazon Flex program is designed to prioritize fast, efficient deliveries, deflect liability where disaster occurs, and squeeze every drop of profit possible out of Amazon’s delivery network. However, our experienced Amazon delivery accident attorneys explain to our clients this does not mean that you cannot hold someone, including Amazon, responsible for your accident.

Collecting Compensation After an Amazon Accident

One of the primary options for filing a compensation claim after an Amazon accident is to sue the at-fault driver or their direct employer. Amazon requires its delivery partners to carry commercial insurance coverage, which can be an excellent avenue to recover substantial compensation for your loss.

If the accident were caused by a driver working for FedEx, UPS, the US Postal Service, or any other delivery partner of Amazon, your first option for compensation would usually be these companies or the at-fault driver. However, in certain circumstances, Amazon can be held responsible, and we know how to make them pay.

One of these is where the driver delivered packages for Amazon Fresh-- Amazon’s delivery service for Whole Foods. In this case, the driver will be an employee since Amazon handles deliveries alone. In these cases, Amazon offers a liability policy with coverage of up to $1 million. Amazon’s insistence that its contracts with its delivery partners protect it from liability is also increasingly under attack. A Department of Labor investigation into unlawful work conditions at one of Amazon’s delivery partners concluded that Amazon was a joint employer in the circumstances. Experienced Amazon delivery accident attorneys can explore one or more of these options on your behalf.

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Yesenia Sanchez with Fiore Legal Injury Attorneys working with client and laptop in front of her

Our Experienced Amazon Delivery Accident Attorneys Can Help

Large corporations such as Amazon owe a duty to exercise due care in pursuing profit and structuring their business operations. When they allow the drive for profit to eclipse their duty to refrain from acts that threaten the safety of our communities, you can rely on the attorneys at Fiore Legal to hold them accountable. If you have suffered a loss in any way due to an Amazon delivery accident, contact our attorneys for a free consultation at once. We take all Amazon accident cases on a contingency fee, meaning you pay us nothing unless we get you paid. Contact us today.

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