Seattle, Washington-based Amazon Inc. remains the largest online retailer worldwide that operates numerous websites, warehouses and fulfillment centers in North America and around the globe. In 2016, the company grossed over $136 billion in sales. The secret to their success lies in their ability to simplify complex purchase and delivery logistics when providing millions of quality products that are for sale online to consumers. These products are readily available and quickly delivered from 28 sorting centers and over 180 warehouses worldwide. In addition, Amazon uses company leased airplanes and semi-tractor-trailers and relies on logistical parcel freight carriers including UPS, FedEx, and others to transport sold cargo.
In the Chicago Metropolitan Area, Amazon hires local companies through contractual agreements. These delivery providers transport and distribute goods, packages and daily essentials from a nearby Amazon warehouse location to the consumer’s door. The company has streamlined its delivery system by using third-party transport businesses. To ensure the company’s success, Amazon provides their contracted third-party delivery businesses extensive tools including planning and delivering strategies that guarantee the highest level of customer service.
Contracted Delivery Companies
Amazon delivery drivers work for the privately-owned delivery provider that operates under a contract with Amazon. To deliver packages and goods for Amazon, the third-party business must hire their own employees who drive privately-owned delivery vehicle(s) with a minimum of 300 cubic feet capacity to hold deliverable cargo. The delivery drivers are assigned by Amazon to deliver packages, goods, and boxes that weigh up to 50 pounds or more. The cargo is delivered to both residential and commercial addresses on routes that are approximately 75 miles in distance.
The delivery provider is fully responsible their employees’ safety, scheduling and payment. These drivers cannot receive Amazon employment benefits. Every privately-owned business contracted by Amazon must provide the driver safety and driver training programs. Every driver who delivers Amazon packages works for the delivery provider and is not an employee of Amazon.
Even so, the driver must wear a uniform in accordance with Amazon rules and regulations. In addition, Amazon provides online training for delivery provider employees that teaches on-road technology.
Chicago Area Amazon Centers
Typically, a delivery provider will work out of a single Chicago-based Amazon warehouse in the metropolitan area that might include:
Amazon Distribution Center #1
2801 Southwestern Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608
Amazon Distribution Center #2
8290 Austin Ave.
Morton Grove, IL 60053
Amazon Fulfillment Center – Joliet
201 Emerald Dr.
Joliet, IL 60433
Amazon Fulfilment Center – Elk Grove Village
1925 Busse Rd.
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Amazon Fulfillment Center – Wood Dale
1250 N. Mittel Blvd.
Wood Dale, IL 60191
Amazon Fulfillment Center – Romeoville
1125 Remington Blvd.
Romeoville, IL 60446
Amazon Cross-Dock Facility
250 Emerald Dr.
Joliet, IL 60433
Amazon Fulfillment Center – Monee
6605 West Monee Manhattan Road
Monee, IL 60449
1111 N. Cherry Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
Amazon Fulfillment Center – Kenosha
3501 120th Ave.
Kenosha, WI 53144
Amazon Flex Delivery Program
In 2015, Amazon began its flex delivery program by hiring independent delivery drivers to deliver boxes, packages, and goods to local consumers. These drivers work as their own boss fulfilling Prime Same Day and Prime Now (one- to two-hour delivery) orders in many major cities in the U.S., including throughout Chicagoland.
The drivers hired to deliver Amazon products through the Flex program work as independent subcontractors who have met the minimum requirements that include being 21 years or older with the good operating vehicle and a valid driver’s license. In addition, these drivers must pass a background check, pay for their own Android-based smartphone and are available to work in blocks of time in looting 2-hours, 4-hours, 8-hours and up to 12-hours on workdays.
Amazon does not provide benefits to independent delivery drivers. However, every driver must follow company policies and participate in Amazon-developed safety programs.
Delivery Drivers Accidents
Seven days a week, Amazon trucks and subcontracting vans and cars weave through busy streets in heavy traffic areas delivering parcels and packages to their customer’s front door. The probability of being involved in a serious accident is dramatically increased by delivery drivers who log many miles every year working transporting packages for Amazon.
Accidents are often the result of meeting tight delivery schedules and rushing from one destination to the next. Unfortunately, vehicle crashes are one of the regrettable downsides to operating a massive warehouse, sales, and delivery business. When accidents occur involving an Amazon delivery vehicle, who is liable for the property damage, injuries or fatality involved in the incident? The answer can be complicated especially if the driver is working as an independent contractor delivering packages for a large company, like Amazon.
The liability or responsibility for an accident involving a company truck, car or van is usually determined by the employee’s status, the privately-owned company or driver’s personal insurance policy. Identifying defendants in a compensation claim or lawsuit will likely be based on who owns the vehicle, the condition of the vehicle, and culpability.
While the liability burden might appear to fall on the independent contractor that hired the employee driver, the law might see things differently. Depending on what the driver was doing at the time of the accident, the contracting company (like Amazon), subcontractor or driver might be individually or collectively at fault.
An investigation into the accident might reveal that the condition of the vehicle caused the accident due to faulty equipment or a lack of maintenance. It might be determined the improper training caused the crash if the subcontractor encouraged their delivery drivers to carelessly or recklessly deliver packages quickly at unsafe speeds. Even if an investigation determines that the delivery driver was careless, reckless, or negligent in their actions, the employer (the privately-owned subcontractor) might be at least partially responsible for “vicarious liability.”
Every insurance policy covering a delivery driver and their vehicle will have different coverage components involving liability and collision. The liability coverage that pays out funds to compensate a serious accident with severe injuries or fatalities might not be sufficient to pay out the entire claim, which could leave the driver responsible for the remainder that is owed to the victim or surviving family members. Collision coverage will provide financial compensation for property damage in the accident.
The driver’s personal insurance policy will likely not cover any damages or injuries is the vehicle was being used to make deliveries for a commercial enterprise. If the Amazon-contracted privately-owned business that hired the driver does not maintain their own insurance to cover accidents, they leave their driver employees vulnerable to lawsuits.
Riding as a Passenger
If a passenger riding along with a delivery driver was hurt or injured in an accident, they are entitled to seek financial compensation from any party at fault. This could include the driver of the delivery truck, the owners of the delivery company, Amazon, other motorists involved in the incident and other entities like the vehicle manufacturer, roadway maintenance crews or bicyclists, and pedestrians.
The State of Illinois requires most businesses, including delivery services, to provide Worker’s Compensation (Workman’s Comp.) to protect drivers who suffer injuries that happened while on the job. The compensation provides sufficient compensation to pay for medical care, surgery, prescription medications and reimbursement of lost wages directly related to the accident or incident that caused harm.
Job-Related Injury: What to Do
If you work as a subcontracting independent delivery driver for Amazon and were hurt on the job while making deliveries you must take appropriate actions to ensure your case is handled correctly. You should:
- Notify your immediate supervisor if you have been involved in a vehicle accident that was or was not your fault, it is imperative to call law enforcement to start the process of the investigation. If the injury is the result of a slip and fall, heavy lifting, or another dangerous pitfall, reporting the event to your supervisor immediately is crucially important to protect your rights.
- Complete and sign an accident report by writing down exactly what happened immediately after the incident. Police documents and medical reports can assist you in documenting what occurred that can be used to file a Workers’ Compensation claim or protect your personal interest in cases involving others who filed a lawsuit against you for injuries and damages.
- Seek immediate medical attention. If you were driving and making deliveries and suffered some type of injury through a slip and fall, dog bite, or vehicle accident, call 911 and ask that you be transported to the local emergency room for evaluation. If your injuries are not considered to be serious, it still important to read over Worker’s Compensation policy and seek the advice of a doctor who can accurately diagnose any problem that may arise that might not seem obvious at first.
- Hire an Attorney – A competent lawyer working on your behalf can ensure that your rights are protected so you can receive the maximum amount of benefits possible through the Workmen’s Comp. program. In addition, your attorney can determine which parties are at fault for your injuries to ensure you receive adequate recompense from each party responsible for your harm and damages. Your lawyer may investigate your case further to determine if any other third-party entity might also be responsible for your accident or incident that caused your damages.
Filing a Compensation Lawsuit
If you, or your loved one, suffered injuries or damages caused by an accident or incident involving an Amazon delivery driver, you likely have the right to seek and obtain financial compensation for your harm. However, these cases are complex and determining who might be at fault or responsible for all or part of the accident can be difficult. This is why many injured victims will hire an attorney to work on their behalf.
Your lawyer can investigate the case, collect evidence, speak to witnesses and build your case for compensation, even if one or more motorists had no insurance coverage. With legal assistance, you can fight for financial recovery to pay your medical bills, hospitalization expenses, the cost of future medical care and surgeries, physical therapy, rehabilitation, pain, and suffering.
If you were the delivery driver at the time of the accident, your lawyer can also help you in filing a Worker’s Compensation claim to ensure you receive every available benefit to cover ongoing expenses now and in the future.