The demand for delivery drivers over the past few years has increased dramatically with the popularity of Amazon and other e-commerce websites. This trend has only increased with the pandemic. As a result of the abrupt increase in online shopping, Amazon, Federal Express, and UPS have dramatically increased the number of delivery drivers. While delivery jobs offer competitive pay, they can also be dangerous. In recent months, the attorneys at the law firm of Console & Associates have seen a sharp uptick in the number of delivery drivers who reported sustaining injuries in auto accidents, slip and falls, and dog bite incidents. Delivery drivers should know that they have the right to seek legal recourse, including compensation, for these and other accidents that occur while they are working.
Delivery Driver Car Accidents
Amazon drivers, as well as FedEx and UPS drivers, spend most of their day in their delivery vehicles. Given the amount of time spent on the road, it is inevitable that some delivery drivers will get into an accident due to no fault of their own. As is the case with most car accidents, the vast majority of these accidents are entirely preventable.
All motorists take on a certain amount of risk when they get behind the wheel. However, due to the nature of their job, Amazon drivers deal with additional risks. For example, delivery drivers are frequently struck by passing vehicles as they get out to make a delivery. Similarly, delivery drivers commonly get rear-ended as they slow down to make a delivery.
All drivers have a duty to those with whom they share the road, requiring they follow all traffic laws, posted signage, and operate their vehicle with care. When an Amazon delivery driver is injured in a car accident, they can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. One aspect of Amazon delivery driver accidents that can further complicate things is that delivery drivers are not typically considered “employees.” Instead, Amazon classifies drivers as independent contractors. This designation may enable Amazon drivers to pursue an injury claim against Amazon. For injured delivery drivers, this highlights the importance of working with an experienced personal injury law firm that will aggressively represent their interests.
Slip-and-Fall Accidents on Others’ Properties
While Amazon drivers spend the majority of their time in a vehicle making deliveries, they must also get out of the vehicle and physically carry packages to customer’s doors. For the majority of deliveries, this is a smooth process; however, some property owners fail to perform the necessary maintenance of their driveway or walkway, potentially resulting in hazards that drivers must negotiate. Common hazards include:
Accumulations of snow or ice;
Broken, cracked, or uneven pavement; and
Defective or uneven steps leading up to the home.
If a delivery driver trips, falls, or is otherwise injured on another’s property while making a delivery, the property owner may be liable for the driver’s injuries. Under general principles of premises liability law, property owners owe a duty of care to those whom they allow onto their land. This includes postal carriers and delivery drivers. A homeowner’s duty requires they take reasonable steps to ensure that their property is safe, including taking care to discover unknown defects and dangerous conditions, correct the dangers, or provide sufficient warning of the hazards.
Notably, unlike postal workers, Amazon delivery drivers are not considered employees. Thus, they may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. That said, Amazon workers can pursue a personal injury claim against the homeowner. However, slip and fall cases can be challenging because the burden to prove that a homeowner was unreasonable in the maintenance of their home rests with the delivery driver. Having an experienced attorney who knows how to prove liability for a slip and fall is crucial for getting the payout you deserve for an accident that occurred while delivering a package to a private or commercial property.
Third-Party Claims After an Animal Attack
While most dogs are friendly with those they know, they are also fiercely protective. Delivery drivers must approach many homes, not knowing what they will encounter. Too often, homeowners who keep vicious animals in their homes or on their property fail to take the necessary steps to protect delivery drivers. Allowing a dog to run loose on a property and not securing an animal when opening the door are two common examples. Amazon allows for drivers to skip making a delivery if a vicious dog is present. However, not all delivery drivers are fortunate enough to notice a dog’s presence before it is too late.
If a dog attacks an Amazon delivery driver as they are making a delivery, the animal’s owner may be liable for any resulting injuries. Dog bite law varies substantially by state. However, homeowners may be held strictly liable for their dog’s behavior in some cases, especially when the dog’s owner knows that the animal is dangerous. That said, a dog’s owner may still be liable for their pet’s actions even if they do not know the dog to be dangerous. Given the nuances of dog bite law, these claims are best handled by attorneys experienced in animal attack cases.
Waiting too long to take legal action
Waiting too long to take legal action could result in delivery drivers' rights expiring before they are able to recover for their injuries.
Legal claims for injuries sustained while making deliveries, like other types of injury claims, must follow strict deadlines established by the state in which they occur. To avoid missing these deadlines, it's important for any delivery driver who is harmed on the job to quickly take action. The delivery driver should report the accident to the authorities, seek medical care immediately, and promptly contact an experienced accident attorney to navigate the complex injury claims process for them.