In order to meet ever shorter delivery timeframes, Amazon has built a vast network of delivery drivers operating from their own vehicles. For consumers, that means next-day or same-day deliveries, but for those on the road, it may also spell more accidents — with fraught battles over insurance coverage.
Through a program called Amazon Flex, the giant retailer employs thousands of drivers who take to the roads every day. Although Amazon uses large shipping services like UPS to ferry packages across state lines, it relies on a decentralized network of local delivery providers and contractors to complete what is known as “the last mile” — the final leg of the delivery, when packages make their way from local distribution centers to their destination.
Experts say that the fleet of contractors has caused an uptick in accidents but admit that it’s difficult to calculate precise numbers, in part because Amazon tends to deny liability for these collisions and keeps details of its operations tightly under wraps. When accident lawsuits do occur, Amazon often shunts responsibility onto third-party shipping companies. That practice makes it difficult to locate public records on each case. However, one investigation uncovered hundreds of lawsuits naming Amazon as a plaintiff.
If you have been involved in an accident with an Amazon delivery driver — or any commercial driver — you may need help proving liability and understanding what you can do to recover any compensation available to you. To help accident victims like you, our commercial truck injury lawyers examined Amazon accidents and made the following conclusions.
Amazon Drivers Face Enormous Pressure to Meet Tight Delivery Timeframes
Like many commercial drivers, Amazon’s contractors face nearly impossible demands and stressful work conditions that encourage reckless driving. Drivers sign up for “blocks” — shifts that last anywhere from a few hours to a full eight-hour day — and then drive to the nearest distribution center, where they are assigned a load of packages to deliver for the day. Often, this amounts to hundreds of packages.
Whether or not drivers complete those deliveries in a shift depends on a variety of factors, like traffic and the availability of parking. That means that if drivers want to stay on schedule, they’re often forced to move as quickly as possible, which may translate to dangerous driving behaviors. In fact, according to calculations made by Inc. magazine, delivering 200 packages in an eight-hour shift (with one hour deducted for breaks) would require a driver to drop off one package every two minutes and 24 seconds.
Meanwhile, Amazon requires drivers to meet exceptionally demanding standards: at least 999 of 1,000 packages must be delivered on time. Drivers say these strenuous schedules take their toll. Some say they don’t even stop to use the bathroom, and many admit to speeding in order to meet delivery deadlines.
Because Amazon leaves the management of drivers largely to small delivery companies, working conditions and management practices vary depending upon the employer. And Amazon does not exactly have a history of engaging the most reputable businesses. For instance, in one high-profile fatality lawsuit, the Amazon driver involved in the accident was employed by a company called Impax, which boasted a string of unsavory and illegal behaviors, including failure to pay taxes, missed insurance payments, and, most unsettlingly, a CEO with a rap sheet that included several felony charges for cocaine.
Amazon does provide drivers with a free insurance policy, which covers auto liability coverage, uninsured motorist/under-insured motorist coverage, and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage. It also requires drivers to hold their own personal insurance policy. However, those policies are of no use to victims when Amazon denies liability.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
If you have been involved in an accident with an Amazon driver, it’s important that you act quickly to protect your rights. Specifically, you should take the following actions immediately afterward:
- Make sure to obtain the driver’s personal details, insurance information, driver’s license and license plate numbers, and the name and phone number of their direct employer.
- Take pictures of the damage to both vehicles.
- Visit a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Consult with an experienced commercial truck injury lawyer.
At FVF, we have a record of holding corporations liable for driver accidents. Our commercial truck injury lawyers offer a free case evaluation so that accident victims like you can educate yourself on your rights and options. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.