Amazon has become part of most of our lives.
The Amazon Prime vans have become ubiquitous in our neighborhoods. But there’s a catch. If something bad happens, Amazon will disavow responsibility and try to pass the buck to a no value, underinsured third party.
It’s no secret that Amazon attempts to avoid liability for accidents caused by its delivery drivers.
Amazon often says they have no legal responsibility for accidents involving its delivery drivers by claiming drivers are not employees of Amazon Logistics the company, but are employed by “Delivery Service Partners” (DSPs) of Amazon.
A DSP is an owner-operated delivery business that Amazon contracts to make deliveries. This practice isn’t unique to Amazon; companies like Uber also use DSPs to mislead people about their liability.
By using DSPs, Amazon can try to avoid liability altogether by claiming a delivery driver involved in an accident is not an Amazon employee.
Despite its claim that DSP drivers are not Amazon employees, Amazon exerts significant control over its hired DSP drivers.
Under most state laws, just because parties call themselves “independent contractors”, doesn’t mean the hiring company, like Amazon, is off the hook liability-wise. Control over the driver is the most important factor and, in court, an “independent” driver can be the responsibility of the company in control.
Another concept called “ostensible agency” could make Amazon liable. Ostensible agency is a principle that applies when a contractor appears to be an employee. The drivers are driving an Amazon Prime van, wearing an Amazon Prime uniform, communicating with the customer through the Amazon app, etc. All of these factors imply that the driver is an agent of Amazon.
Finally, Amazon prioritizes tech surveillance for its DSP drivers. Amazon monitors drivers through the “Mentor App” and AI dash cams. These technologies track everything from driving habits to levels of drowsiness, clearly showing Amazon’s deep involvement. Amazon also hires drivers directly via the “Flex App,” which tracks drivers similarly and dictates the driver routes and drop-off points.
It’s time Amazon — and similar large corporations — are held accountable.