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Holding Amazon Accountable for More Than Lost Packages

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on April 30, 2020

We all have experienced the joy stepping outside to check the mail and finding the package we ordered the night before on our doorstep. It’s become a mainstay of the 21st century. But this age of convenience also comes with new dangers that we now have to contend with – reckless delivery drivers.

Dangers of Speedy Delivery

With the rise of same-day, next-day, and two-day delivery, it is not uncommon to now see an Amazon-branded van or semi-truck rolling down the highway or through your neighborhood. While we are grateful for the convenience and the hard work of delivery drivers, many are pressured to reach unobtainable standards and tight deadlines. It’s not simply that they have one package to delivery, but hundreds upon hundreds in a given day. Amazon has strict rules about meeting customer’s needs, requiring drivers to drop off 999 out of 1,000 packages on time, according to another joint report by ProPublica and the New York Times (NYT).

As a result of these demands, many drivers have to cut corners, which can result in speeding, fatigue, rolling stops at stop signs, or dangerous sharp turns. Some drivers may not be familiar with the various neighborhoods they deliver to and not realize they are speeding through a school zone, which can quickly end in tragedy depending on the time of day.

Liability and Amazon

One would expect Amazon to crack down heavily on dangerous driver practices to avoid liability and costly lawsuits, but, instead, they have worked to shirk any responsibility. In another joint report published by ProPublica and Buzzfeed News, insiders revealed that Amazon actually vetoed a five-day driving safety course for new delivery drivers. In addition, the company would continue to pack on a large number of orders on each driver’s route in order to fulfill customer expectations. Sadly, this has continued to lead to serious accidents all in the name of unchecked growth and profit.

Amazon has also actively defended their unsafe business practices in a variety of lawsuits, per the NYT article. The company argues that because many of the delivery routes they utilize for their packages are through third-party contractors, they are not legally liable for damages. Instead, they require delivery companies to sign strict liability agreements before agreeing to work with them that demand that the contractors hold all liability in the cases of injuries and deaths as a result of a delivery truck accident. In some cases, they have sued these contractors to uphold this agreement.

This can make it difficult for victims to seek compensation after an injury or a loved one to file a wrongful death claim with Amazon, but it is not completely impossible. If negligence resulted in a delivery accident, then the driver and their employer can be held liable for any costs a victim has suffered, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. You may not be able to file a claim directly with Amazon and their insurance company, but you can with the contract company’s policy.

Advocating on Behalf of Delivery Accident Victims

Human life and safety should always be upheld over profits, no matter the circumstances. Sadly, it is unclear whether or not Amazon will ever bear responsibility for the harm their demanding delivery practices have caused. Pulling back Prime delivery is extremely unlikely and changing their liability contracts may require strong social pressure.

However, if you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one because of a reckless delivery driver, there are still options available to you. The Seattle commercial vehicle accident attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. are well versed in pursuing compensation after a collision with a delivery truck or van. We can evaluate if you have a case, investigating the evidence, and relentlessly pursue compensation on your behalf from the at-fault party. Call us at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 to schedule a free consultation and secure sound legal representation.

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