Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler May 4, 2017

delivery drivers’ unsafe work deadlines
Unsafe delivery drivers and deadlines have led to many car wrecks injuring or killing innocent people. Those crashes have spurred delivery driver lawsuits against companies making such deliveries. One of the latest delivery driver lawsuits is in Austin, after a January crash badly injured teen Macie Martinez. She’s suing Amazon, a contractor and the driver, who was making timed deliveries when the crash occurred. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Martinez was heading south on Ranch to Market 620 when a delivery driver in a commercial van pulled out in front of her from a parking lot and collided with her Jeep. Martinez suffered a concussion, airbag burns, a broken wrist and broken ribs. Her delivery driver lawsuit lawsuit asserts that Amazon pressures drivers without adequate training to meet deadlines which aren’t safe — in this case, a two-hour delivery. Drivers often are subcontracted, but ultimately Amazon can be held responsible. Amazon claims its “delivery partners” get training, pass comprehensive background checks and are vetted thoroughly.

Pizza Driver Accidents

Other such cases have involved pizza delivery drivers, particularly for Domino’s Pizza. In August of 2013, a jury in Texas awarded $32 million to the family of a couple struck in an August 2012 crash by a Domino’s delivery driver in Beaumont, Texas. Killed was Ruth Christopher, 65. Suffering permanent traumatic brain injury was husband Devavaram Christopher, 70. Beyond the fact that the delivery driver was cited for speeding, the lawsuit asserted that the driver’s vehicle had one bald tire and the others were worn, leading to hydroplaning on a rainy road. Plaintiffs’ attorneys said Domino’s allowed the delivery vehicle to be unsafe.

Unsafe Delivery Deadlines

The delivery driver’s speeding may have been encouraged by an allegedly internal Domino’s policy providing bonuses for fast delivery, as plaintiff’s attorneys argued in the Beaumont case. But for years fast delivery was part of the pizza chain’s brandished sales pitches. In 1973, Domino’s offered free pizza if deliveries took longer than 30 minutes. In the 1980s, it changed the offer to $3 off for over 30 minutes to deliver. In 1993, Domino’s dropped the $3 off guarantee. In a lawsuit the previous year, Domino’s had paid $2.8 million to the family of an Indiana woman killed by a delivery driver. In 1993, another Domino’s delivery driver lawsuit was settled for $15 million after a woman was injured by a delivery driver.

More Domino’s Lawsuits

Even without the fast delivery sales pitch, more Domino’s crash lawsuits have arisen, including one in Orange County, FL. There, a jury awarded $9 million in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a man who died 15 months after suffering catastrophic injuries in a Domino’s delivery driver crash. In this case and others involving Domino’s or other companies, the company has contended that the delivery driver was hired by an independent franchise owner and thus the company was not responsible for the driver’s actions. In the Beaumont case, that was part of Domino’s’ defense. But the jury held Domino’s 60% responsible for failing to enforce its vehicle inspection policy with franchisees.

Delivery Driver Insurance a Factor

An important factor in making such claims against companies can be delivery driver insurance. The nature of a driver’s insurance can be vital in making a claim after a delivery driver accident. Amazon Prime delivery drivers who are employed by companies affiliated with Amazon are required to have special insurance. If a driver only has his or her own personal auto insurance, it won’t offer nearly as much coverage as commercial driver insurance.

Deliveries Rise on Roads

All drivers should be warned that deliveries are rising on our roads. Besides Amazon and Domino’s, other companies are offering online takeout, and delivery portals such as the now-merged Seamless and GrubHub represent 25,000 restaurants. With so many delivery drivers and vehicles on our roads, unsafe delivery deadlines are just part of the equation. Even a non-hurried delivery driver can make a fatal mistake. If someone in your family has been injured by a delivery driver, notify a car accident lawyer with Jim Adler & Associates for a free legal review of your case. Your family could be entitled to substantial financial compensation.
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