Amazon Sued Over Crash That Paralyzed Motorist
Rear-end crashes involving large commercial delivery trucks are becoming more of a problem for motorists. While rear-end collisions are not necessarily associated with fatal accidents, they sure are when the vehicle doing the rear-ending is more than three times the mass of the vehicle being rear-ended. This has resulted in a growing number of fatal accidents involving large commercial trucks. These trucks take longer to stop and thus drivers need better reaction time than your average commuter.
Amazon is being sued after a wreck that left an aspiring doctor paralyzed. Amazon, however, is attempting to shield itself from liability by claiming that it outsourced its logistics to another company which is solely liable for the accident. However, Amazon uses an app and algorithms which determine the driver’s quality, how many packages they deliver, and whether or not they should be kept or fired. Since Amazon exerts direct control over the third-party drivers, they may not be able to divorce themselves from liability in this case. That is what the plaintiffs are hoping as Amazon likely has much deeper pockets than the logistics companies that have sprung up around them to handle the sprawling operation.
Understanding how corporate structure impacts lawsuits
Amazon is simply a facilitator of commerce. Each of their vendors are private companies. Amazon wants to claim that, much like a mall, they are not responsible for the quality of the products they offer. This includes dangerous products that injure customers. Instead, customers are directed to file lawsuits against the company that manufactured the product. Amazon did well with this strategy for years until a plaintiff pointed out that one of their most dangerous products, a hoverboard, had numerous complaints posted on Amazon’s marketplace concerning a fire hazard that injured customers. Amazon was forced to settle the suits on the basis that it knew that the product was dangerous due to customer reviews.
Today, we have another issue with Amazon’s business model. Amazon wants to outsource all of its logistics and liability for logistics but they also want to retain direct control over the workers. While Amazon is a powerful corporation that can do almost anything that it wants, there are often reckonings that happen down the road when their maneuvering becomes a problem. Now, their maneuvering is a problem.
Amazon wants it both ways. They want to retain direct control over employees who don’t work for their company while shifting liability to these companies. Frankly, the relationship is one-sided and exploitative which is why Amazon is losing more of these lawsuits. However, large companies like Amazon have considerable lobbying power when it comes to passing beneficial legislation that protects their interests. That being said, disruptive industries like Amazon often present these sorts of problems to the legal system. Just think of all the ex post facto legislation surrounding Uber and Bird.
Amazon may have crafted a legal defense strategy to beat these claims, but so long as they retain direct control over their drivers, injured parties can claim their negligence impacted the situation.
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Injured in a commercial trucking accident? Call the Miami personal injury attorneys at Payer Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.