When Uber and Lyft first entered the market, there was some concern about whether drivers were properly covered by insurance and whether passengers would be able to seek compensation to cover their medical expenses in the event of an accident. Many of these companies often offer additional coverage for their drivers. However, some experts have expressed concern about how driving safety is impacted when individuals turn their vehicles into a personal business.
According to Yahoo Finance, there aren’t enough drivers on the road to deliver all of Amazon’s packages. In response to this shortfall, Amazon has been hiring regional delivery companies and contractors to deliver its packages within cities. It’s often called “last mile” service, and Amazon simply has so many packages that FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service, and UPS simply cannot keep up.
Yet, hiring contractors and third-party delivery services comes with risk. Yahoo notes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking into how third-party delivery services might increase the risk of food borne illness. Another risk occurs when Amazon hires independent contractors to make its “last mile” deliveries. These workers are self-employed and may not be bound to the same restrictions on hours of service laws that are imposed on truck drivers.
One writer for the Atlantic revealed some of the challenges that Amazon Flex drivers face. Amazon Flex pays drivers $18 to $25 an hour to deliver packages for that “last mile.” Yet, these drivers may have to foot the bill for gas, insurance, and other expenses out of their own pockets. When their shifts take longer than expected, Amazon may not pay them for the overtime.
According to the Atlantic, it can be less expensive for Amazon to hire independent contractors to deliver goods. The company doesn’t have to pay for the driver’s health insurance nor does it guarantee drivers any number of hours in a given week. During busy seasons, like holidays, Amazon workers may put in more hours, while there may be seasons or times where these drivers make less money. New contractors may also not understand that they will be responsible for paying their own self-employment tax on their incomes and won’t necessarily know whether the job they are taking is better than a minimum wage gig, or better than working for a shipping company that will offer benefits. According to the Atlantic, UPS pays workers $36 an hour and the Postal Service pays its workers on average $75,000 a year. Unlike employees, delivery personnel who work as private contractors may not earn time and a half if they work more than 40 hours a week.
This can be problematic because these workers may take on more driving jobs or two driving jobs to make ends meet. This means that these drivers could be more fatigued, putting them at risk of accidents. Most insurance policies won’t cover these workers if they get into an accident on the job, so they need to take out commercial insurance coverage. Amazon doesn’t offer additional insurance coverage for its contractors, meaning its contractors are responsible for paying the bills if they get into an accident. However, there hasn’t yet been a major case where a person was seriously injured by an Amazon Flex driver. Families and victims may try to sue the company if drivers can’t afford to cover medical expenses and other costs, but it isn’t clear how the courts might rule. Amazon Flex may go the way of other car share services, where eventually the company will be required to cover some insurance costs of drivers. As it stands, Amazon doesn’t cover insurance, according to the Atlantic.
The complexity of filing a personal injury lawsuit when the person responsible was on the job, can increase. If you were hurt in a car crash due to another person or company’s neglect or negligence, you may have the right to seek damages for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Law Offices of Robert Gregg are Dallas, Texas truck accident lawyers. We may be able to help you seek the damages you deserve if you’ve been hurt in a crash.