Amazon has been sued for denying an insurance claim to Lucia Espinal, a Queens woman who was severely injured in a collision involving a company vehicle in Rockaway in October.
Leav & Steinberg LLP, a leading personal injury law firm based in Manhattan, filed the lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court on behalf of Espinal and her husband Johan DeJesus after Amazon refused to accept liability or responsibility for the incident, despite the collision being caught on camera.
The surveillance video shows the Amazon delivery worker trying to pull into traffic along Beach Channel Drive on Oct. 22. As the driver pulls away from the curb, another vehicle accelerates into the path of the Amazon van, which rear-ends Espinal’s vehicle before immediately speeding off in an attempt to flee the scene.
He was later located by the NYPD and admitted to rear-ending the victim in the police report, according to the lawsuit. Espinal suffered serious physical injury in the collision, which potentially includes permanent spinal damage, according to her attorneys.
The lawsuit seeks to compel Amazon to provide an insurance claim and cover the cost of the rental vehicle they have been forced to use to commute to work and drive their children to school, which has been expensive and extended because Amazon and its insurance agents refuse to come out and look at her damaged vehicle.
“Amazon is pushing my family to the brink,” Espinal said. “The company does not care that I have sustained serious injuries that have kept me in the hospital; they want to protect their own bottom line no matter what. All we are seeking is our rightful insurance claim and the expenses that have resulted so we can provide for our family.”
QNS has reached out to Amazon and is awaiting a response.
Espinal’s attorney Edward Steinberg, of Leav & Steinberg, LLP, says that this is not a new tactic by Amazon, as the company often claims they are not responsible or liable for accidents involving delivery drivers.
Steinberg noted previous reporting that revealed that delivery drivers have been instructed to turn off their safe driving monitoring apps. He also said the company’s behavior is incentivized by New York’s “bad faith loophole,” where insurers are not penalized for delaying paying out insurance claims. Queens Senator Jessica Ramos has introduced legislation to address the issue.
“Amazon’s actions are nothing short of outrageous,” Steinberg said. “By refusing to provide an insurance claim, this multibillion-dollar company has cost the family thousands of dollars in expenses, which will come on top of the medical bills they will have to pay for the severe injuries sustained. Amazon’s conduct has also been enabled by gaps in New York’s insurance law, and I call on our lawmakers and regulators to address this horrific corporate greed.”