NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A North Carolina motorcyclist who lost a leg after colliding with an Amazon delivery truck has filed a lawsuit arguing that unrealistic expectations for the tech giant’s delivery drivers drove to negligence.
According to his lawsuit, filed in Norfolk Circuit Court in January, Justin Hartley was riding his motorcycle in Virginia Beach on Oct. 4 when a rental truck with an Amazon logo turned directly into his lane, The Virginia Pilot reported.
The truck hit Hartley, causing fractures to his left wrist and left leg. Doctors were unable to save his left leg and amputated it just below the knee, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon delivery driver Christopher Gill admitted to authorities that when the accident happened he was looking at GPS directions on his Amazon-provided navigation device.
“The unrealistic expectations that are placed on drivers fuel these negligence cases,” Hartley attorney Kevin Biniazan said. “The driver was so excited to make his delivery that he didn’t see our customer.”
Represented by law firm Wilson Elser, Amazon’s response denied all allegations and said the lawsuit did not involve “legal or contractual liability on behalf of Amazon.” The response denied that Amazon was “vicariously liable for the acts or omissions of the defendant Gill,” while denying that Gill was guilty of “any negligent act” that caused the crash.
Amazon.com and Amazon Logistics drivers are required to use Amazon’s “Flex App,” according to the lawsuit. The app, according to the lawsuit, manages all aspects of a delivery driver’s route, including which directions to take, when to take breaks and when to return to the station.
When a driver falls behind the desired pace during a route, the lawsuit says Amazon sends text messages that the driver is ‘behind the rabbit’ and needs to be ‘rescued’ to ensure he or she is returns on time. A driver’s pay can be reduced if they fall ‘behind the rabbit’ or require rescues too often, according to the $100 million lawsuit.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has been sued over its delivery drivers. Bloomberg reported in November that Amazon had been charged in at least 119 motor vehicle injury lawsuits in 35 states.
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