Amazon’s market share in the e-commerce sphere was 38% as of June 2022, making it the leading online market retailer in the US. This explains the high number of Amazon-branded trucks on American roads in the past few years.
When one gets in a truck accident with a branded truck, it’s only natural to assume that the brand will be liable for damages. While that is the case in many instances, it may be different for Amazon.
Amazon Contracts with Independent Contractors
Traditionally, Amazon has relied on other logistic companies such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL to fulfill orders. However, the company is now moving away from this strategy to involve other independent contractors.
Contracts between Amazon and its delivery companies can be pretty complex. While Amazon may own a good number of delivery trucks, it does not handle the management of its trucks. Instead, it leases them out to contractors who then manage the logistics on behalf of Amazon.
Still, Amazon has much control over what a contractor or their employees can or cannot do, including optimizing delivery routes and calling the drivers directly. As a result, the company often seems to cross the independent contractor’s line from a legal perspective.
Amazon Shifts Liability to the Independent Contractors
There are situations where Amazon could be liable for an accident involving their vehicle. A typical example is if the vehicle involved was being driven by an Amazon employee when the accident happened.
When an independent contractor is involved in an accident, Amazon will not cover damages resulting from the accident. Instead, liability shifts to the independent logistics company, the delivery driver, or another third party.
The Logistics Company
While Amazon retains relative control of the drivers hired by contracted Logistics companies, the companies retain the responsibility of hiring and firing their drivers as they are technically their employees.
Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer is liable for the negligent actions of their employee, a doctrine that Amazon uses to shift liability to the logistics company since it is technically not the driver’s employer.
There are situations where the driver will be liable for the accidents they cause, even when they are employees. Vicarious liability only applies when the driver is on the clock and engaged in an activity within their scope of work and the accident is accidental.
If an Amazon truck got in an accident when the driver was running a personal errand, the driver would be liable for the accident. Also, they will be liable for accidents resulting from intentionally harmful conduct, such as a case of road rage.
Other Third Parties
When another third party is responsible for causing an accident, they will be liable for damages. Third parties can include faulty part makers if a faulty vehicle part is the cause of the problem.
If the accident is caused by poor road quality, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the road to the contractor may be liable for the accident.
Injured By An Amazon Driver?
After getting into an accident with an Amazon truck, the first thing to do is to assess your injuries, including those of other car occupants, to see what you can do to help until help comes. Irrespective of how minor you think the injuries are, it’s best to call 911 for help.
Besides that, you will want to exchange insurance information with the Amazon driver, get witness testimonies, and take pictures of the accident scene and the injuries.
If you intend to file a claim, it’s best to get the help of experienced lawyers from a reputable law firm like Bagen Law to help you navigate the complex process involved. Going against a company as big as Amazon without the help of a lawyer is a big mistake and can significantly reduce the chances of getting what you deserve.
In most cases, recovering damages from a truck accident is always challenging. But recovering from an Amazon truck takes the challenge to a new level. But with the right approach and the best legal minds, it’s possible to recover damages.