Driving all over the place providing maximum consumer delivery, Amazon trucks have become ubiquitous in neighborhoods all over. Whether downtown serving corporate customers, out in the industrial parks delivering bulk supplies, or rolling through suburban neighborhoods and leaving packages on doorsteps, Amazon trucks are as common now as stop signs at intersections. Unfortunately, these trucks are just as prone to car accidents as any other vehicles on the road, sometimes even more so, given the delivery schedules drivers have to maintain. Fortunately, there should be one or more insurance policies to help provide for costly mistakes by their drivers. And there may be other theories of negligence to hold the driver, Amazon, or even other third parties liable for the damages to you or your loved ones.
Basic Vehicle Requirements
Amazon as a company is not exempt from the rules of the road. Those relate to both the driver’s performance in managing the vehicle as well as the purchase of accident and damage casualty protection for the given vehicle on a public road. While Amazon’s fleet can range from full-size big rigs to delivery vans and flex cars (private vehicles driven by contract employees), the company still bears responsibility for their operation. This is why companies are required to have commercial insurance coverage on their fleets at all times when being operated by an Amazon driver on duty. Moreover, that liability does not disappear just because Amazon uses a contract driver instead of its own employee.
Responsibility and Liability
Things typically get complicated when trying to determine who is responsible for an accident in terms of financial accountability. In fact, in many cases, more than one party has a portion of the cost associated with them, depending on how the accident occurred. It’s quite common for a third party to be involved as the actual driver, Amazon as the owner of the vehicle, and a private party as the victim of the impact. Therefore, it is uncommon for 100% of the fault to lie with Amazon, unless it’s a clearcut case of an Amazon employee and Amazon vehicle causing all the damage entirely.
Dealing with the Accident
The first thing to do in an accident is to confirm your own medical health and safety. If you’ve been hurt, seek medical care first. On the other hand, if you’re not hurt and you are able, try to obtain the Amazon truck’s license number as well as the driver’s information from their driver’s license. Ideally, the driver will also provide their insurance coverage, but they may also not know it offhand. It is quite common for drivers to be swapped out on shifts.
Obtaining a Recovery
Once you have seen a doctor or been cared for, then it’s time to talk to an attorney. It might seem extreme to do so rather than just filing a claim yourself; but the fact is, Amazon utilizes a well-practiced process of insurance and legal protection to channel claims against it. This keeps costs down and avoids as much responsibility as possible. To wade through this quagmire, you will benefit from speaking with an experienced accident attorney familiar with Amazon’s practices.
Insurance Should be Pursued First with Flex Drivers
As mentioned earlier, Amazon uses contract drivers, who essentially are private freelancers driving their own private cars. In the case where there is an accident with this type of driver, start first with contacting their insurance company. Many times, your attorney can easily set things in motion for their insurance carrier to process the claim and settle the matter accordingly. Surprisingly, these channels tend to be smoother, as insurance companies are regularly used to dealing with each other to settle accident claims. If you have your own insurance as well, they should be contacted even if you have an attorney involved already. This can be important, especially if it turns out the driver is uninsured altogether, complicating the matter if Amazon is not necessarily the primary responsible party.
Insurance Claims with Regular Amazon Drivers
Where the accident involves a regular Amazon truck and driver versus a flex driver, things could still be muddy given that Amazon utilizes a wide array of third parties, even those wearing Amazon uniforms and labels. It’s often the case that a third party provides the staffing and logistics, managing Amazon vehicle assets. Claims should start with the drivers and their insurance coverage. Amazon has to require their third parties to retain commercial insurance, so these parties are going to have a policy in place for accidents and casualty. This type of coverage will process claims similar to other car insurance companies, assigning an adjuster to review and process the matter. However, even as smooth as it seems in response, it is best to have your attorney deal with the claim filing. Adjusters are trained to find and use information against claimants to reduce costs.
What to Do If an Amazon Driver Hits My Car
While it is technically possible for a driver or injured party to sue Amazon directly, such as in small claims court, the approach is oftentimes frustrating. Amazon’s common defense is that someone else is responsible since the drivers are not their employees. This then may require a lot of discovery, which the small claims process doesn’t really entertain. Going with an attorney can move the case into a regular lawsuit arena where Amazon has a lot more to lose and has to respond far more clearly. It’s to your legal advantage to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side seeking recovery from Amazon.
Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law has helped many clients dealing with motor vehicle accidents involving large companies and their fleets operating in the Houston area. There’s no reason to be overwhelmed on your own when you’re harmed by an Amazon vehicle and driver. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law has the ability and expertise you need to take on the e-commerce giant and take care of your bodily injury claim the right way the first time. Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free and confidential consultation.