08 Oct Amazon, 10 WC Mistakes, Cars without License Plates
Welcome to the Newsletter
Rana Law Group Newsletter
In this issue:
- Cost of Amazon’s Free Shipping
- 10 Mistakes Not to Make After a Work Injury
- Just for Fun: Cars without License Plates?
The Cost of Amazon’s Free Shipping
There was an interesting article on the hidden cost we all pay for fast/free shipping through Amazon. The gist of the article is that Amazon runs a complex logistics operation to ensure all their packages are delivered accurately and on time, however, they insulate themselves from liability by using independent contractors who are not Amazon employees. The “independent” contractors are required to take certain routes and make their deliveries within an allotted amount of time, which encourages rushing to make those deliveries. One could argue that Amazon is directing the course and scope of the work, making these independent contractors de facto employees of Amazon. The distinction is important because being a delivery driver is one of the deadlier jobs in America, according to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on the article cited above, there have been many serious or fatal crashes with these drivers. These contractors (or their employers) are forced to sign indemnity agreements so they assume all the risk of liability, so Amazon oftentimes sidesteps any liability. This can be problematic if these independent contractors do not have adequate insurance coverage and cause catastrophic or fatal injuries.
The distinction between independent contractor and employee has been a hot topic lately, especially in light of ride sharing programs. California recently proposed a law that would make drivers employees rather than contractors. The issue many people fail to realize is that companies like Lyft and Uber (vs. traditional taxis) and Amazon (vs. brick and mortar stores) cannot thrive without independent contractors. The cost of an employee (with benefits, liability coverage and other employee perks) would quickly make their business model unprofitable. Therefore, these companies must rely on non-employees to remain profitable. If they cannot remain profitable, Uber/Lyft rides would become much more expensive and shipping all those Amazon items would become expensive again (think pre-Amazon shipping rates, which were exorbitant). It will be interesting to see what happens to Amazon and ride share companies in the future.
10 Mistakes NOT to Make After a Work Injury
These are some of the mistakes I see people make when they are hurt at work. Please follow this link to see the full descriptions of these.
- Not reporting the injury to your job
- Not seeking medical care
- Getting medical care on your own through private health insurance
- Rushing medical care in order to get back to work
- Believing the employer is loyal to you because the employee has been there X number of years
- Not getting surgery if it is recommended by the doctor
- Believing the workers’ compensation doctor is anything but a “company doc”
- Trusting the nurse case manager
- Quitting your job
- Not hiring a lawyer
Just for Fun: Cars Without License Plates?
This summer, my wife and I noticed an inordinate number of vehicles on the road without license plates. I knew people drove without valid driver’s licenses or valid insurance, but I thought it was odd not to have license plates. Apparently, some people find it is less expensive to receive a traffic ticket for not having valid plates rather than obtaining valid plates, which includes paying sales tax (if a newly acquired vehicle), paying property tax, obtaining an inspection (in certain situations) and/or obtaining insurance. This change in thinking is from Missouri eliminating “debtor’s prisons” – the ability of a judge to add jail time to these types of offenses. Without the fear of jail time, the courts can only impose fines, resulting in more flagrant violations. Moral of the story – if you see one of these vehicles, steer clear to avoid a potential crash with a likely uninsured driver!