The pandemic has led to a surge in the popularity of food delivery services. Even though most restrictions have been lifted, the desire for this convenience has stayed, and a growing number of people are using food delivery services all across the country. Studies have shown that by May 2020, web searches for online grocery searches increased by 202%. This also led to a 20% increase in revenue for food delivery services compared to 2019.
With a big bulk of orders to deliver, delivery drivers often find themselves in a hurry to deliver their orders on time, which leads to over-speeding, and, you guessed it, accidents. If you have ever been in an accident with a food delivery driver, here are a few questions that might pop into your head.
Who Is Responsible In a Food Delivery Driver Accident?
Who is to blame if you collide with a food delivery driver? Is it the driver themselves? Is it the delivery company, is it you, or someone else? These questions are hard to answer, and the answers aren’t always clear. While in most cases, the delivery driver takes the blame, there are other factors at play as well. Here are a few factors that lead to accidents with delivery drivers.
Lack of Experience
Some delivery drivers lack experience or are underage. Most Rookie drivers are youngsters working part-time to make some extra bucks. These drivers are most likely to act impulsively or overspeed, which leads to car crashes.
Pressure to Deliver Fast
Restaurants and delivery services pressure their delivery drivers to make quick deliveries. Quicker deliveries are incentivized through better tips, which makes them drive recklessly.
Delivery Driving Isn’t Easy.
Delivery drivers have to drive long hours, which is exhausting. Sometimes they have to take unfamiliar routes, which can be dangerous. Furthermore, they even have to deliver food at night and in adverse weather conditions when visibility is minimal.
After you have been in an accident with a food delivery driver, you must call 911 immediately. You should cooperate with the police and seek necessary medical care. Here are a few things you should gather if you’ve been in an accident.
- Name and the contact details of the delivery driver and their employer.
- Driver’s insurance details.
- Pictures of the accident site, your car, and your injuries and wounds, if any.
- Names and contact information of the witnesses.
After contacting the police, you should contact your injury lawyer. Your insurance claims may vary, depending upon the food delivery services and the fact of your case. Besides educating you on various insurance policies to cover your losses, a personal injury lawyer will investigate every aspect of the case.
For example, the lawyer will run background checks to see whether or not the driver was involved in any previous car wrecks. Moreover, the lawyer will file a lawsuit on your behalf and take the case to court if need be.
In such cases, third-party motorists should act quickly. Some states have a two-year statute of limitations for car crashes. Suppose you report the accident two years after it took place. In that case, the court has the authority to dismiss the claim, depriving you of your rights to compensation.
Unlike accidents involving a couple of individuals, delivery driver accidents involve various claims. Your lawyer will have to evaluate the insurance policies of the driver, the delivery service, and the restaurant. Most restaurants and delivery applications ask their drivers for proof of insurance.
Sadly, most insurance policies deny coverage while a driver is working. It means the driver’s insurance policies won’t cover your damages, even if the driver is at fault.
Suppose the driver’s insurance policy cannot cover your loss. In that case, you will have to opt for the insurance policies of their employers. These insurance policies may vary from one delivery service to the other. However, a lawyer can help you get the right amount of compensation. The good news is employers are responsible for the negligence of their employees. In legal terminology, this is known as vicarious liability.
While some restaurants and delivery applications have significant insurance policies, others have minimal coverage that doesn’t cover their drivers at all. Another category of delivery drivers includes independent contractors, which makes it even more challenging to file claims. Usually, a company isn’t responsible for a contractor’s negligence, but exceptions exist.
Can You Sue a Franchise After an Accident With a Delivery Driver?
Most popular pizza restaurants and delivery restaurants work as franchises. The restaurant hands out licenses to independent business owners to operate using the restaurant’s name. Pizza Hut and Domino’s are two of the most common examples. After getting into an accident with a delivery driver, you can always file a lawsuit against the franchising business.
However, it is pretty difficult to prove liability against a franchising company. While some have vague rules regarding delivery operations, some do not own the delivery drivers or the franchise holders.
In 2013, $32 million were awarded to a family when a Domino’s delivery driver injured one of the family members. The delivery driver lost control after slipping over a pavement, killing a woman, while her husband suffered a brain injury. Significant liability was awarded to Domino’s Pizza Corporation due to an inspection requirement within their franchise agreement.
However, this decision was overturned when an Appeals court found that Domino’s had no daily control over the driver. However, the franchise holder compensated the family to whom the delivery driver would report.
Insurance Coverage Considerations with Different Delivery Services
Suppose you just got into an accident with a delivery driver. In that case, you might be wondering which company is involved and what benefits they will offer. Here are some of the biggest food delivery services in the US.
Grubhub is a superior delivery service in the US that operates primarily through cellphones. The Chicago-based delivery service, which was established in 2004, connects delivery drivers with restaurants. As per Grubhub’s website, they place restrictions upon delivery drivers.
- The drivers should be 18 years of age or older.
- They should own a smartphone with a data plan.
- They should have a valid driver’s license.
- The drivers should have their auto insurance.
Here are some of their limitations.
- Grubhub’s drivers do not receive any liability coverage. Drivers without insurance coverage will have to pay if they hurt someone while driving.
- Private policies might disclaim coverage on private vehicles when they get into an accident with a delivery driver. As a result, Grubhub’s delivery drivers will have to reach out to their private insurance policy providers if they cause damage to a third-party motorist. However, they will have to purchase a commercial policy, but it may vary from one state to the next.
- If the driver has no liability coverage to pay for the damages, the affected party may face some issues. For example, suppose a delivery driver doesn’t have insurance coverage or drive commercially without any commercial coverage. In that case, the third-party claimant will have to make an Uninsured Motorist Claim.
- However, in some states, third-party motorists have the right to make claims against the Grubhub parent entity. However, they should argue under the law that the driver was an employee of the company and not an independent driver. The problem is Grubhub doesn’t refer to its drivers as employees. Instead, they are called independent contractors and, in some states, business partners.
Like the previous delivery service, the San-Francisco-based DOORDASH requires its drivers to be 18 years old. Furthermore, the drivers shouldn’t have any prior record of reckless driving or DUI during the last 7 years. They also conduct a criminal background check of the driver before bringing them on board. Here are some of their insurance considerations.
- According to DOORDASH’s website, they offer excess auto insurance coverage to their drivers, provided they caused bodily or property damage to a third party. Their website also states that their insurance policy covers up to $1,000,000 in property or bodily damage expenses if their driver is on an active delivery. To qualify for an active delivery, the driver should possess the food or the goods to be delivered.
- DOORDASH refers to its drivers as third-party contractors. It doesn’t provide any insurance coverage, and therefore, drivers must maintain their insurance policies. If they fail to do so, no coverage will apply. Long story short, DOORDASH drivers will have to deal with their property or bodily damage claims through independent insurance plans.
- Many insurance plans have coverage exclusions for private vehicles operating commercially as taxis or delivery vehicles. As a result, the drivers will find themselves struggling in a grey area where their employers fail to provide coverage. Drivers have to check with their insurance companies if they have medical coverage or property damage coverage in an accident while delivering orders for DOORDASH.
- The motorists hurt in accidents with DOORDASH drivers can make claims through the company’s insurance coverage.
Uber Eats is another popular delivery service based in San Francisco, California. Here are some of their insurance considerations.
- Suppose an Uber Eats driver gets into an accident and hurts someone on the road while delivering an order for their employers. In that case, the company will cover up to $1,000,000 for bodily and property damage. These rules are similar to the ones offered by Uber to its captains that transport people instead of food and groceries. Interestingly, Uber Eats provides coverage to their drivers, even when they aren’t delivering orders.
- Furthermore, the covered amounts may vary depending upon the driver’s status. For example, suppose the application is on while the driver hasn’t begun a delivery. In that case, the company will cover $50,000 for individuals, $1,000,000 for liability, and $25000 for property damage.
- Uber Eats drivers need to make sure they are covered if they get into an accident where they are at fault. This way, they don’t end up paying the damages from their own pockets. However, the drivers should inform their independent insurance companies about their coverage if they don’t find themselves in an insurance grey area. It is essential for Uber Eats drivers to read their agreements and talk to their attorneys before a mishap.
- For motorists injured by Uber Eats, the company’s insurance can cover drivers. To cover each loss, Uber carries million-dollar insurance. Another provision includes $1.25 million if the affected motorist has no insurance coverage. In some cases, this insurance plan will cover the individuals driving with the driver in an Uber Eats vehicle at the time of the accident.
- Postmates doesn’t identify its drivers as independent contractors. However, they encourage their drivers to have a personal auto liability policy.
- Just like Uber, Postmates now carries a $1,000,000 insurance policy. According to their website, delivery occurs when the rider clicks “accept” and ends when the order is delivered to the customer. Postmates also covers medical expenses up to $1,000,000 and other benefits.
- Postmates drivers might be able to access the coverage portion of the uninsured and underinsured motorists if the at-fault driver didn’t have coverage at the time of the accident.
- If a delivery driver hurts a motorist, they will be covered by Postmates’ insurance coverage if delivery is in progress.
Getting yourself covered by a delivery service is not an easy task. Most delivery services do not own delivery drivers and identify them as independent contractors. While you need coverage for your damages, the delivery service may think otherwise.
To get the right compensation, you need to assign the task to a personal injury lawyer in California. At Phoong Law, we make sure our clients receive the best legal services to fight for their rights. To benefit from our services, feel free to visit our website today.