A multi-vehicle chain-reaction accident involving an Amazon semi-truck left two people dead in Houston, Texas shortly before Easter Sunday. Unfortunately, headlines and stories like this are popping up far too often. Amazon trucks are becoming involved in an ever-increasing number of accidents… accidents causing major injuries and sometimes fatalities. If you are injured in Illinois by an Amazon truck, or by a truck driver delivering items for Amazon, you may be entitled to compensation from the massive corporation. To find who owes you damages for the harm you’ve suffered, reach promptly and speak to a knowledgeable Chicago truck accident attorney about your circumstances.
In the Houston incident, the accident, which occurred in the wee hours of the morning, initially wrecked a Mazda, a Chevrolet pickup truck and a Lincoln SUV, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Mazda’s driver and a passenger in the Lincoln exited their vehicles. As they did so, “an Amazon 18-wheeler plowed through the crash site,” according to the report, killing them. A third person, a “Good Samaritan” who had stopped to help, only escaped the big rig’s path by jumping off the freeway overpass, landing some 10-15 feet below, whereupon he suffered serious injuries, according to ABC 13. The ABC report also indicated that the roads were rain-slickened at the time of the crash.
In late January, an Amazon Prime truck headed northbound on I-77 north of Charlotte abruptly crashed into and through a guardrail at roughly 1:00 a.m. Fortunately, in this accident, no one was seriously injured, as the truck collided with no other vehicles and the roughly 13,000 packages that spilled from the trailer generally landed on the grass to the east of the northbound lanes. WSOC, which covered the accident, stated that it was not known “yet what caused the truck to go off the interstate.”
Details within the reports covering each of these accidents were somewhat sparse, so it is impossible, based on them, to say whether or not the Amazon truck driver in Houston was “unable to avoid the crash” because he was excessively fatigued or was speeding on a rain-slickened expressway… or whether the Amazon truck driver in North Carolina crashed through the guardrail because he was asleep or drowsy.
What we do know, however, is that some Amazon truck drivers report that they are under intense pressure to meet very stringent deadlines. A Buzzfeed News report from last fall indicated that Amazon’s “next-day” delivery option has played a significant role in the increase in crashes involving Amazon drivers. Since 2015, there have been 60+ crashes and 13 deaths, according to that report.
Allegations of federal regulation violations and ‘doctored’ logbooks
A trucker employed by a Chicago-area freight company recently filed a lawsuit that gives some potentially eye-opening insight into how these accidents occur. According to a Geekwire report covering the lawsuit, the driver allegedly exceeded the “hours of service” maximums imposed by federal safety regulations frequently.
The employer, with the knowledge of its client (Amazon,) “doctored” the driver’s “logs to conceal the violations,” according the complaint. The driver also alleged that Amazon and his employer “routinely coerced” him “into driving for unlawfully extended periods of time lasting as long as 20-30 hours or more with only an hour or two of rest.” (The federal regulations say that a driver can only put in a 14-hour shift before taking a break of at least 10 hours and, within that 14-hour shift, only 11 hours may be spent actually driving.) Eventually on one Halloween night, the allegedly severely sleep-deprived driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a concrete barrier in Tennessee.
Certainly, having the right allegations to make out a viable claim is important. However, to achieve success, you have to prove those allegations are true. This requires legal skill, experience and tenacity in completing the pre-trial processes, including discovery, in order to get the evidence you need. Amazon has a large array of very knowledgeable attorneys working hard to ensure the company avoids liability and, whenever possible, avoids even going to trial.
This trucker has given himself an additional disadvantage by pursuing his case on his own. To take on a well-financed and well-defended entity like Amazon, you need a powerful legal team of your own. If your accident case calls upon you to sue Amazon, call the diligent and experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys have been helping the injured people to take on major corporations like Amazon… and succeed. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.