Amazon Finally Held Liable for Delivery Driver Accidents in South Carolina
Those familiar with Amazon will know that the company has an established history of dodging lawsuits with all kinds of tactics. However, a recent case in South Carolina shows that these strategies can only get the e-commerce corporation so far. For years, Amazon has been hiding behind a network of third-party contractors for its delivery services – allowing them to avoid liability for injuries caused by its drivers. Finally, it seems as though this web of legal protections is falling apart – and it has led to the highest non-fatal injury payout in South Carolina’s history.
Injured Motorcyclist Wins Almost $45 Million from Amazon after Delivery Accident
On December 13th, The Post and Courier reported that a motorcyclist had been awarded compensation of $44.6 million after successfully suing Amazon for a delivery driver accident. This is seemingly the most lucrative verdict for any non-fatal injury in South Carolina’s legal history. The accident in question occurred back in 2021, and it involved an Amazon delivery driver moving into the path of a passing motorcyclist while attempting a left-hand turn. Failing to yield the right of way, the delivery driver struck the motorcyclist and caused unspecified, catastrophic injuries.
The injuries were so severe that the patient racked up more than $450,000 in medical bills before the case could even go to trial. These injuries seem to have caused some kind of permanent disability, robbing the plaintiff of the ability to earn any income in the future.
Faced with the possibility of paying out a multi-million-dollar settlement, Amazon once again reverted to its “tried-and-true” strategy of dumping liability onto its network of third-party delivery contractors. However, this tactic did not fly in South Carolina courts. The jury was asked to determine whether Amazon had a “right to control” the third-party contractors involved in this specific case – namely the driver himself and a company called MJV Logistics. The jury subsequently answered in the affirmative – and Amazon was suddenly on the hook for the damages.
During the trial, it was established that Amazon controlled almost every aspect of the delivery company – from its hiring and training to the collection of seemingly meaningless driving data. At the end of the day, the jury was sufficiently convinced that the third-party contractor was – for all intents and purposes – a subsidiary of Amazon.
Delivery Service Partner Business Model Specifically Created as a Liability Shield
The lawsuit also argues that Amazon’s “Delivery Service Partner” business model was specifically created to shield the corporation from liability claims. As the court seemingly accepted this characterization, one has to wonder how this case will affect future claims against Amazon. Could this serve as a precedent, allowing injured plaintiffs to hold Amazon liable for injuries caused by delivery drivers in the future? Only time will tell.
Find a Qualified, Experienced Injury Attorney in South Carolina
If you have suffered injuries as a result of a negligent Amazon delivery driver, you can pursue compensation alongside a qualified Charleston car accident lawyer. Choose Mickelsen Dalton, LLC, and book a consultation to discuss your legal options in more detail. The latest Amazon verdict in South Carolina shows that the tech company can no longer rely on its network of third-party delivery contractors for legal protection – and you could pursue similar results. Reach out today to get started.