As one of the country’s largest retailers, Amazon has moved away from shipping most items they sell through standard shipping services like FexEx, UPS, or even the US Postal Service. Most deliveries of Amazon merchandise are carried out now by independent contractors all over the country. These contractors are sometimes small shipping or trucking companies but a great many of them are individuals that like the idea of working on their own and not having to answer to a boss in the traditional sense.
Unfortunately, as Amazon’s specialized delivery workforce has grown, so have the number of accidents caused by drivers who were in a rush, didn’t get enough sleep, or just plain weren’t paying attention like they should have been.
Many major news outlets have published stories documenting severe and sometimes fatal accidents involving Amazon delivery vehicles as well as surprisingly strict company policies that may have contributed to them. Business Insider, Forbes, ProPublica and The New York Times have all published articles detailing iron-handed enforcement of rules that have caused drivers to do everything from breaking speed limits to carrying bottles with them so they wouldn’t have to stop for bathroom breaks.
What Causes Most Delivery Truck Accidents?
The root causes of most delivery truck accidents shouldn’t be much of a surprise to most people. The cause usually involves either some type of mechanical failure or driver error. What makes delivery truck drivers different from those that drive tractor-trailer trucks, though, is that they often don’t have anywhere near the same type of training and may not even need to obtain a special license.
Some of the most common reasons that an Amazon delivery truck might be involved in an accident include:
- Faulty vehicle parts like brakes or tires
- Improper or neglected vehicle maintenance
- Insufficient driver training
- Improperly loaded cargo
- The driver is intoxicated, drowsy, or otherwise impaired
- The driver is distracted by navigation or tracking device
- Driving in an unsafe manner to meet a quota or deadline
Between the massive amount of packages that Amazon ships on an average day and the fact that their fleet of delivery vehicles is so decentralized, there is, unfortunately, a lot of room for things to slip between the cracks and create situations where things go wrong.
Who Is Responsible For Amazon Delivery Truck Accidents?
Getting to the bottom of who’s responsible when an Amazon delivery truck is involved in an accident is no simple task. When an accident involves a commercial vehicle, there are many factors that must be taken into account to determine who’s really responsible for what.
The packages being delivered are coming from Amazon, but there are plenty more companies and people involved in the process of getting a package from the warehouse to the customer’s door. There is, of course, the driver, but then the driver may also be employed by another company contracted by Amazon.
The vehicle itself has to be considered, too. Depending on what actually caused the accident, it could become the responsibility of the vehicle manufacturer, a vehicle maintenance company, a negligent mechanic, etc. It’s also not uncommon to see Amazon delivery drivers in rented vehicles, which brings an entirely different chain of companies and people into the realm of possibilities.
Determining responsibility in these situations is also tricky because of the working relationship between everyone involved. A driver hired as a contractor is not an employee of Amazon, so Amazon doesn’t bear the same kind of responsibility they would if that driver was a direct employee. The driver could be working on his own, contracted directly to Amazon, or he might be employed by a third-party company that is the actual contractor.
In the end, the responsible party could be one, some, or all of:
- The driver
- The vehicle manufacturer
- A vehicle maintenance company
- The person/company that loaded the vehicle
- A rental truck company
- Anyone else involved in the delivery chain
Contact a Trusted Truck Accident Attorney Today
As you can probably see, if you’ve been involved in any type of accident with an Amazon delivery truck, it’s not a situation that you should try to navigate on your own. You can bet that the companies on the other side are going to have a legal team ready to defend them and you should have a strong Pennsylvania personal injury attorney ready to fight your rights, too.At Solnick & Associates, we have the experience and expertise in Pennsylvania personal injury law to make sure that your rights are protected and that you get all of the benefits that you’re entitled to. You can contact us online anytime, or call (877) 415-6495 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your case and discuss exactly what we can do to help you.