How Stressful Jobs Leads to Reckless Behavior
The expansion of delivery options brought on by Amazon Prime and FedEx Express has allowed shoppers to easily purchase new clothes, TVs, and furniture without leaving the comfort of their homes. As helpful as expedited delivery is, there is still a serious cost to this luxury. Drivers can be pushed to their limits, trucks and vans can become overloaded, and pedestrians can be left devastated after a serious collision.
As more and more companies move to online delivery, Colorado roadways will become more dangerous for everyday drivers and pedestrians. While not everyone who is involved in a delivery accident will suffer severe consequences, many will, and it is extremely important to secure proper legal representation so you can receive a fair shot at compensation following a collision. If you or someone you love was injured by a negligent delivery driver contact a Boulder delivery accident attorney at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC by calling (303) 665-2929. We can review your case and determine your best options after an accident.
The Pressures of Express Shipping
While we are all delighted when a package arrives on time or early, few of us have seen the massive amount of effort that goes into those deliveries. Not only do distribution centers have to respond quickly to online orders, but drivers have to rush during the “last mile,” or the last leg of the delivery route before the package reaches a customer. When companies fail to meet customers’ demands, they can face a string of negative reviews and complaints, or risk losing those customers to competitors.
Because of this added burden to supply two-day, next day, or even same-day shipping options, companies place constant pressure on their drivers to operate at peak efficiency. This is especially dangerous for both truck drivers who travel between distribution centers and delivery van drivers who handle the final mile. They may be docked pay, lose out on bonuses, or be fired, and in such a tight economy that can be devastating.
In order to fulfill delivery quotes and requirements, drivers may be pressured to:
- Ignore traffic signals and signs at intersections
- Make dangerous left-hand turns
- Drive through crosswalks
- Become distracted by GPS or delivery updates
- Become fatigued from a lack of breaks or by working long hours
- Overload their vehicles
- Improperly load their vehicles, leading to lost cargo or a weight shift during a turn
Anyone of these actions can lead to a collision with a pedestrian, biker, motorcyclist, or another driver. Large semi-trucks require attentive minds and keen awareness, otherwise they can be involved in devastating accidents like rollovers, head-on collisions, and T-bones. Delivery vans are less dangerous but are still prone to rollovers and deadly collisions if a driver is not careful.
Evidence in a Delivery Accident
Ultimately, the above events do constitute negligent actions and open up a delivery driver to an auto accident claim. However, proving negligence occurred is a whole other matter. Auto accidents are a complicated affair on their own, but delivery vehicles are a separate story altogether. So many hands are involved in a delivery route, from how they are serviced by mechanics to the way distribution centers load the trailers and vans, that it can be hard to determine if negligence occurred at all and, if it did, which part of the process is responsible.
But several pieces of evidence can demonstrate that negligence occurred and explain how your injuries were caused. Delivery companies are expected to abide by state and federal regulations, as well as keep consistent records, from the weight of their vehicles to how long their drivers have been at the wheel. Some companies also utilize black boxes to record the vehicle’s condition prior to an accident, which can demonstrate that the driver was speeding, fatigued, driving under the influence, or distracted.
Evidence that your attorney may use during your claim can include:
- Accident reports
- Witness statements
- Photos of the accident
- Surveillance footage
- Black box data
- Cell phone records
- Weight station records
- Driving records
- Maintenance reports
- Distribution center logs
- Medical evaluations
- Accident reconstructions
Not every piece of evidence listed above may apply to your case, but with the right attorney, you may be able to build a firm case for compensation. But proving negligence and collecting evidence is only one part of the process. You will also have to contend with the delivery company’s insurance policy, which can be the most complicated part depending on what company your accident was with.
Difficulties Filing Claims Against Amazon
All vehicles in Colorado must have some form of liability insurance in the event of an accident. For most drivers, this is a standard personal auto policy, whereas delivery companies must have a commercial policy. Companies like FedEx and UPS have commercial liability policies with limits of up to $1,000,000 to cover bodily injuries, whether your accident was with a van or a truck.
Amazon, on the other hand, is a different beast entirely. To build up their extensive delivery network, the company employed third-party delivery companies to handle a majority of their last mile deliveries, referring to them as “Delivery Service Partners.” Despite technically being hired by Amazon and having to follow strict company guidelines, Amazon claims they are contractors and that the e-commerce site is not liable in the event of an accident. This confuses most clients as the vehicle that struck them may have an Amazon Prime decal and only handled Amazon packages. But Amazon has written tight contracts with their Delivery Service Partners and require they take all responsibility. That means, if your accident was with an Amazon delivery driver, chances are you will have to file a claim with the third-party company, not Amazon directly. In some cases, this could be with FedEx, DHL Express, or UPS, depending on who was contracted.
This is not universal, however. Amazon still handles some of their own deliveries in house, such as grocery deliveries through Whole Foods. Because this company is owned directly by Amazon, you can hold this branch of their distribution network liable for an accident. Just like FedEx and UPS, Whole Foods has a $1,000,000 policy that would apply if the driver acted negligently during a delivery and caused your injuries. In addition, the company does own a fleet of semi-trucks to handle deliveries between distribution centers, and these vehicles also have to have comprehensive commercial insurance policies.
Standing Up for Accident Victims
Going up against a delivery company and their insurance adjusters is no easy task and should not be pursued without the aid of a skilled legal team. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our Boulder truck accident attorneys have a wealth of experience advocating for individuals and families injured because of negligent drivers. Whether a local delivery company or a megalith like Amazon caused your accident, you deserve fair compensation for the injuries you sustained. To do that, contact us at (303) 665-2929 to schedule a free initial consultation.