Our lawyers handle serious injury and wrongful death delivery truck accidents involving Amazon in all 50 states. Our attorneys only handle Amazon delivery accident claims where the injuries are severe.
Amazon is the largest online retailer on the planet. Billions of Amazon packages get delivered around the U.S. every year. This leads to hundreds of Amazon truck accidents. Our Amazon truck accident attorneys handle these claims.
Even as the number of packages rapidly expands, delivery turnaround times keep getting faster and faster. When you buy something on Amazon, the speed at which the package arrives at your door is often astounding. You can buy something on Amazon on Monday afternoon and by the time you wake up Tuesday morning the box with the smile logo is at your door.
Amazon has accomplished this by becoming not just an online retailer, but one of the largest shipping companies in the world. Ten years ago almost all Amazon packages arrived in a USPA mail truck or by UPS. Today, they will probably come to your door in a Mercedes van. Amazon is now delivering its packages through a new division called Amazon Logistics.
Amazon Logistics is Amazon’s own shipping and delivery division that has exploded in size and scope over the past few years. Today, Amazon Logistics is so massive that it now rivals the traditional big two carriers, Federal Express and UPS, in terms of size and volume of deliveries. As of 2023, Amazon Logistics is delivering 4.6 billion packages worldwide each year. That accounted for about half of all Amazon’s orders; this percentage is expected to grow even higher going forward.
So how does Amazon Logistics compare to other major carriers? At 4.6 billion annual package deliveries, Amazon Logistics has now surpassed FedEx which delivers a little over 3 billion every year. UPS is still bigger with about 5.2 billion packages delivered. However, that might change shortly as Amazon Logistics has doubled its delivery volume yearly.
You might expect our lawyers to say that Amazon is a bad company with drivers with terrible safety records. That would be a helpful narrative for our attorneys. But it is not true. Amazon is a great company. But they have many delivery drivers and by the sheer volume and the size of their vehicles, there are a large number of car and truck accidents where the Amazon driver is at fault for the crash.
Amazon Delivery Accidents
The explosive growth of Amazon Logistics has invariably led to an increasing number of auto and truck accidents involving Amazon delivery drivers. Amazon delivery drivers log millions of miles daily in high-risk environments like neighborhood side streets and driveways where people jog, and kids play. This amount of driving in these areas would lead to many accidents under any conditions. When you factor in the added pressure of making deliveries on time, it is little wonder that people are getting killed and seriously injured by Amazon drivers.
Amazon exercises substantial control over its Delivery Service Partners (DSPs), independent companies with a cap of forty vans each, a limit set to prevent unionization and gaining significant bargaining power against Amazon. Amazon dictates the delivery routes, sets the package delivery quotas, monitors the drivers’ progress in real-time, and contacts drivers if they fall behind schedule. The company mandates a 99.9% on-time delivery rate. That requires speed.
Tracking exactly how many accidents Amazon Logistics drivers have caused is almost impossible because of how the division is structured. Almost all of the drivers in those white vans that come up your driveway are not Amazon employees. Instead, they are independent contractors that have joined the Amazon Logistics delivery network. Amazon is usually not even a named part in accident claims involving their drivers.
Even with this limitation, a recent report from ProPublica revealed at least 10 fatalities involving Amazon delivery drivers over 4 years. The actual number could 4 times that. Compared to collisions involving regular passenger vehicles, accidents involving Amazon delivery vans tend to cause more severe injuries and damage. This is primarily because the delivery vans are bigger and heavier than a typical car, so the impact force is much greater.
Who Can You Sue for Amazon Delivery Truck Accidents?
If you have been involved in an accident caused by an Amazon delivery van or truck, you may wonder if you can sue Amazon for your injuries. In most cases, you won’t be able to sue Amazon directly. But our Amazon accident lawyers are not focused on who pays you. Just that you get a reasonable settlement. You will get compensation from the delivery contractor, who Amazon requires to carry a great deal of insurance. So that is our accident attorneys’ singular focus in cases where the damages are under $1 million
What his the argument for why you can’t sue Amazon for an accident? Most of the white Amazon delivery vans you see on the road today are not owned by Amazon, and the driver is not an Amazon employee. Rather, the delivery driver is usually an independent contractor who works for Amazon Delivery Partner Services (a division within Amazon Logistics).
This means the defendant in an accident claim would not be Amazon but the delivery contractor, such as ABC Delivery, LLC. Most delivery contractors for Amazon are small, local businesses. In many cases, notwithstanding the Amazon logo on the van, the contractor may just be one person and a single van.
Because the drivers are independent contractors, Amazon tries to avoid any direct liability for accidents caused by the driver. Despite this extensive involvement, Amazon’s contracts with the DSPs stipulate that these companies must “defend, indemnify and hold harmless Amazon” for any property damage, bodily harm, or death occurring during deliveries.
So the setup then from Amazon is that the responsible party in the accident will be the contractor, not Amazon.
Amazon’s Effort to Avoid Responsibility Handing on a Thread
How long with the dam hold on Amazon’s liability? We will see. Amazon rigorously monitors its delivery drivers, tracking various aspects of their performance such as reversing, speed, braking, acceleration, cornering, seatbelt use, phone usage, and even detecting yawning through in-van cameras with artificial intelligence. If drivers lag in their schedule, Amazon staff send texts urging that the driver, referred to as being ‘behind the rabbit,’ should be ‘rescued’ to meet Amazon’s stringent and potentially unsafe delivery speed targets.
So Amazon’s relentless pursuit of faster delivery services, including promises of same-day delivery, is significantly increasing the pressure on its drivers. At the same time, Amazon wants to sidestep the consequences associated with this accelerated delivery pace.
Amazon wants it both ways. While it’s natural for a business to want to avoid legal liabilities, the evolving nature of business relationships in today’s digital age may prompt a legal shift. This potential change could address issues where companies like Amazon benefit from their delivery drivers’ actions through technological advancements and legal strategies yet avoid accountability for any harm caused to innocent third parties by these drivers.
Bottom line – our attorneys think this is enough to marshal a claim that Amazon is responsible. We flush this out more below.
Insurance Requirements for Independent Contractors
All independent contractors who deliver for Amazon are required to have something called Amazon Flex Insurance coverage. Amazon Flex Insurance provides delivery contractors with auto liability coverage of $1 million. This covers damages and injuries caused to 3rd parties with limits of up to $1,000,000 per accident. This is very similar to the amount of liability coverage that most trucking companies carry. So if you get hit and injured by an Amazon driver, there should be at least $1 million in insurance coverage for you to collect.
One catch, however, is that Amazon Flex Insurance and its $1 million in liability coverage only applies if the accident occurs when the contractor is “on the clock.” If the accident occurs after the driver has completed their deliveries for that day and is on their way home or back to their office, Flex Insurance does not cover the accident.
What If $1 Million Under Amazon Flex Insurance is Not Enough?
The $1 million in liability coverage under Amazon Flex Insurance for contract drivers is more than enough to cover damages for 95% of auto accident cases. Even auto accident cases resulting in significant injuries, such as fractured legs, rarely have a settlement value greater than $600,000. But in a small percentage of significant auto accident cases, damages can easily exceed $1 million.
So what happens when the $1 million in coverage is exhausted in these cases? Can Amazon be held legally liable for damages in these situations? So far, the answer seems to be no. But lawyers are starting to push the issue. Legally, companies like Amazon are fully liable for the negligent acts of their employees, but not under the law for the actions of independent contractors. There are several ways to get around this and hold Amazon liable, but none are straightforward.
The Arguments for Amazon’s Liability
The first way to go after Amazon directly would be to argue that Amazon had so much control over the contractor that the court should treat them as an employee for liability purposes. Our lawyers have settled a case leveraging this very issue but not against Amazon.
Amazon’s extensive technological control over its delivery partners should implicate the company in these crashes. Amazon’s technological influence on drivers – its algorithms and operational controls – establishes its responsibility.
The challenge lies in proving Amazon’s liability, as employment laws vary by state, and court rulings have been inconsistent. But the key issue is whether Amazon’s level of control over the driver establishes vicarious liability as if it were the employer. Given Amazon’s significant control, the company could potentially be held responsible in cases where the damages exceed $1 million.
The other way to potentially go after Amazon directly is with a claim based on negligent hiring or negligent supervision. We see these types of claims a lot in truck accident cases that sue the broker or shipper. The plaintiff must show that Amazon’s decision to hire the contractor was somehow inappropriate or negligent.
Here is a quick, oversimplified example of how this type of claim against Amazon might work.
Example Amazon Lawsuit Fact Pattern
Let’s say John Doe from Baltimore wants to work as a delivery driver for Amazon. He makes all the investments to buy the delivery van, goes through the sign-up process, and gets hired by Amazon Delivery Partner Services as an independent contractor. But it turns out John is an alcoholic with 2 prior drunk driving convictions. After 6 months of working as an Amazon contractor, 2 customers have made complaints about John’s driving. John then gets drunk and hits a 4-year-old while making a delivery for Amazon. The plaintiff could sue Amazon for negligent hiring and/or supervision in this situation. The theory would be that Amazon failed to screen John properly and should never have hired him in light of his prior DUIs.
So far, no reported cases have been reported in which a plaintiff has successfully held Amazon directly liable under either of these theories. Based on information gathered by the New York Times, Amazon has been named as a direct defendant in 45 auto accident cases involving one of its contract drivers. In most of those cases, Amazon was dismissed from the case. The rest resulted in confidential settlements that may or may not have involved a payment from Amazon.
Amazon Accident Verdicts & Settlements
Below are summaries of verdicts and settlements in accident injury cases involving Amazon delivery trucks.
$1,000,000 Settlement (Connecticut 2022): A motorcycle rider sustained severe injuries, including multiple fractures, lung injuries, and long-term psychological effects, after being struck by an Amazon delivery van whose driver failed to yield. Despite complexities involving Amazon’s use of leased vehicles and independent contractors, his attorney was able to negotiate a $1 million settlement for the injured client.
$5,000,000 Verdict (California 2022): A woman was struck by an Amazon delivery van in a parking lot, suffering injuries to her left leg, neck, back, and a condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). A California state court jury later awarded her $5 million in damages. The award amount was lower than the $24 million sought by the plaintiff’s attorneys but higher than the $1.3 million Amazon settlement offer.
Contact Us About Amazon Delivery Accident Cases
If you or a loved one has been injured in an Amazon van accident in the Baltimore-Washington area, our Amazon truck accident lawyers can help get you the financial compensation you are entitled to. Call us today at 800-553-8082.