Under the laws of New Jersey and all other states, when a commercial vehicle driver causes an accident through negligence, and someone else is injured as result, the driver’s employer as well as the driver may be held liable for the damages suffered by the injured.
This is an important aspect of personal injury and wrongful death cases involving truck accidents. However, it isn’t always easy to apply this principles to the unique facts of a case. One of the first questions that comes up is: “Was the driver an employee?”
This question is becoming more important and more common in today’s so-called gig economy, where many people work as independent contractors, instead of as traditional employees. There have been cases where drivers for ride-share services have been involved in accidents, only to have the ride-share service claim it cannot be held liable.
The Internet giant Amazon has also been involved in this type of legal battle. As the retailer pursues faster and faster delivery, it pushes delivery drivers to get goods to customers as quickly as possible. Safety advocates have said this emphasis on speed has led to accidents, and recent news reports have put a spotlight on alarming reports of Amazon delivery drivers involved in accidents. Anecdotal evidence suggests Amazon has tried to shield itself from liability by arguing that the drivers are independent contractors.
One problem in understanding the problem is that Amazon is notoriously secretive about its operations, including its delivery systems. Many of the vehicles it uses are too small for the categories regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which monitors safety issues for commercial trucks.
There are many issues to consider when filing a personal injury claim after a motor vehicle accident. It is important to talk to a lawyer about all the options for holding negligent drivers and other parties liable.