Amazon Held Liable for Injuries Caused by Delivery Driver

Last month, Amazon was hit with a $44.6 million verdict after a man sustained catastrophic injuries in a motorcycle collision with an Amazon delivery van. This case marks the first time a jury has been presented with the issue of whether Amazon can be held responsible for injuries caused by one of its 285,000 delivery drivers who Amazon calls independent contractors.

Amazon has attempted to shield itself from liability for the delivery of its packages in Amazon-branded and owned vans by creating a network of individually owned Delivery Service Partners who Amazon labels as “independent contractors” and tasks with hiring and employing delivery drivers. Amazon argues that the delivery drivers are direct employees of the Delivery Service Partner, and not Amazon directly, and therefore, Amazon cannot be held vicariously liable. But how the parties define their relationship in an agreement or contract is not determinative.

The test is—Did Amazon, as the alleged principal, have the right to control and direct the means and methods of the agent’s work? In this case, the answer was yes. There was overwhelming evidence that Amazon controls and directs nearly every aspect of these Delivery Service Partners and their delivery routes and consistently monitors drivers while on their routes using mobile technology required by Amazon. Throughout discovery, it was also revealed that the delivery driver involved in the accident had more than 90 instances of distracted driving in the months leading up to the accident. This and other evidence led a jury to find that Amazon was both vicariously liable for the acts of the Delivery Service Partner and delivery driver and directly liable for its gross negligence in hiring, supervising, and retaining the driver, given all that it knew or should have known about the driver’s dangerous driving habits.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident involving an Amazon delivery van or truck, it is important to find a skilled law firm to manage your claim. The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the longest-standing personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys are standing by to assist with your claim. Call us today for your free consultation at 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.