In 2019, Amazon.com Inc. surpassed Walmart Inc. to become the world’s largest retailer. During the fiscal year 2020, the behemoth grossed more than $386 billion in sales. A driver of the company’s success is how it simplifies online purchases by streamlining delivery logistics. Amazon’s customers return again and again because of their easy access to countless products and fast delivery services.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Amazon has warehouses stationed throughout the U.S. and the world. The company uses multiple carriers to transport and deliver packages to its customers. Amazon has multiple distribution centers throughout California with more centers planned. In cities throughout the state, local delivery companies are contracted to pick up and deliver goods to people at commercial and residential addresses. By using third-party delivery companies, Amazon has been able to offer fast turnaround times on its customers’ orders.
The Amazon Flex delivery program also allows independent drivers in the greater Los Angeles area and other cities across California to pick up and deliver Amazon Prime orders to customers. Each driver must wear uniforms, use on-road technology, complete safety training courses, and follow other company policies. However, drivers who drive through the Flex program are independent contractors instead of employees, so they do not receive benefits.
Amazon delivery workers who are injured while working might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and could also have grounds to file third-party personal injury lawsuits. The laws for Amazon delivery workers are complex, and it is critical to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover all of the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at the Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers are prepared to help you pursue compensation in your case.
Work injury risks for Amazon delivery workers
Each day, Amazon delivery services workers face multiple risks. Some of the risks faced by delivery workers include motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, slip-and-fall accidents, robberies, and others. Delivery workers can also suffer work-related injuries caused by repetitive movements, lifting heavy boxes, and others that can result in chronic back injuries, sprains, and strains.
People who work through the Amazon Flex app have to drive to a large variety of different addresses and often have to park in congested areas to deliver packages. Since the drivers spend a substantial amount of time on the road, their chances of being involved in accidents are higher. Delivery drivers also face time pressures and might rush from delivery location to location to try to meet their deadlines. Since Amazon prioritizes productivity, this can lead to driver fatigue and an increased risk of accidents and injuries.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
Delivery workers who are directly employed by Amazon and are not independent contractors are covered under California’s workers’ compensation laws. Employers in the state, including Amazon, must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees’ work-related injuries and occupational illnesses. Amazon delivery employees who are injured on the job may file claims for benefits with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If you are employed by Amazon and are injured, you will not have to prove that the company was negligent to recover workers’ compensation benefits. This type of coverage can provide benefits to pay for your medical expenses, medications, surgery, rehabilitation expenses, and a portion of your income losses if you are temporarily or permanently unable to return to your work because of your injuries.
If you are an Amazon Flex driver who is injured at work, you are not considered to be an employee. As an independent contractor, you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries. However, voters in California passed Proposition 22 on Nov. 3, 2020, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Under this law, driver app companies, including Uber, Door Dash, Lyft, Amazon Flex, and others must provide occupational insurance for their drivers while they are driving with their apps on that provides up to $1 million in coverage for accident-related injuries. This insurance also pays for up to 66% of the average wages earned by the drivers over the past month across all of the driving apps the worker uses. If you are injured in an accident while driving for Amazon Flex, an experienced injury attorney can help you to file your claim to recover the benefits you deserve.
Third-party personal injury lawsuits for Amazon delivery accidents
Amazon delivery drivers who are injured in accidents while working may also have the ability to pursue compensation through third-party personal injury lawsuits. When another driver or other third party negligently causes an accident, the delivery driver can file a lawsuit against the third party or driver to recover compensation for his or her losses.
If you are an Amazon employee who works in a fulfillment center, you can also file a workers’ compensation claim through Amazon’s workers’ compensation coverage. For example, if you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident while gathering packages to fulfill an order within the distribution center, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with Amazon. If you are a Flex driver who is injured in an accident while delivering packages, you could also file a claim with the company’s occupational liability insurance required by Proposition 22 while filing a third-party claim against the person or company responsible for causing your accident.
For example, if another driver hits your car while you are fulfilling orders for Amazon, you might be entitled to pursue compensation against the negligent driver by filing a personal injury claim against him or her. The benefit of being able to file a third-party personal injury claim in addition to a worker’s compensation or occupational liability claim through Amazon is that you can seek to recover damages for your non-economic losses through a personal injury lawsuit. These types of damages are not available through a workers’ compensation or occupational liability insurance claim through Amazon itself.
Damages for your non-economic losses include compensation for the pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and other losses you might have suffered because of your accident. While a workers’ comp claim might replace a percentage of your lost wages, a personal injury claim might pay for all of the income you have lost as well as the income you will likely lose in the future because of your injuries.
Third-party personal injury claims frequently involve complex liability issues. Various factors may complicate the process of determining fault, including the available insurance coverage, the circumstances surrounding the accident, what happened in the moments leading up to the collision, the status of the worker, and others. An experienced injury attorney can help to explain the legal options available to you for recovering compensation for your losses following your work-related accident.
Steps to take following an Amazon delivery worker accident
Whether you were injured while working in an Amazon fulfillment center or while delivering packages as an Amazon Flex driver, you should follow specific steps to protect your rights to recover compensation. These steps include the following:
- If you are in a vehicle accident, call 911 to report it and get help.
- If you were injured in a slip-and-fall or equipment accident, report what happened to your supervisor immediately.
- Submit a detailed accident report stating exactly what occurred.
- Gather important documents about your accident and injuries, including medical records and police reports.
- If you had a vehicle accident, take photographs of the damage to both vehicles and the accident scene.
- Get the other driver’s contact, insurance, and registration information.
- Get the names and contact information of anyone who saw your accident.
- Get immediate medical attention.
- Schedule a consultation with an experienced Amazon worker injury lawyer.
Get help from the law firm of Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers today
If you have been injured while working as an Amazon delivery worker in Los Angeles, you should contact the law firm of Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. Trying to deal with a vast corporation like Amazon without legal help can be difficult. Our attorneys can help you to identify all of the potential sources of recovery to help you maximize the amount of compensation you might recover. Call us today for a free consultation at 866.966.5240.