Bagen Law Firm | March 17, 2023 | Car Accidents
A food delivery driver is rushing to drop off a food order and runs through a stop sign in your neighborhood. They collide with your vehicle as you legally drive through the intersection. As a result, you suffer a serious neck and back injury. Who is responsible for this accident? Is it the food delivery driver? Is it the food delivery company? Or is it someone else? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always clear.
With food delivery drivers for UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, Postmates, and Shipt all racing for coveted five-star ratings, it’s crucial to know who is responsible when accidents happen. The best way to determine this and protect your legal rights is to hire a knowledgeable car accident attorney. The right lawyer can navigate the complex web of insurance claims that often follows a food delivery accident.
Food Delivery Drivers Have Higher Chances of Causing Accidents
Food delivery apps are becoming increasingly popular as many Americans realize the benefits of having a hot dinner or even their weekly groceries delivered right to their door at a convenient time. As such, there’s an increase in food delivery drivers on the road who are frequently in less-than-ideal traffic conditions like storms or rush hour traffic.
Food service delivery driving is a demanding profession, but it’s not only the drivers in danger on the roads; anyone involved in a food delivery collision is at risk.
Several factors increase the risk of a food delivery car accident, including:
- Unfamiliarity with the road: Due to the nature of the job, many food delivery drivers are young and inexperienced behind the wheel. As such, they are more likely to make mistakes, speed, make impulsive decisions, and get into accidents.
- More time on the road: This type of job in itself increases the risk of causing a crash. It’s a fact that the more miles someone drives, the more likely they will be involved in a crash. Food delivery drivers cover many miles, many of which are driven at night, on unfamiliar roads, in the dark, and in dangerous weather conditions.
- Performance pressure: Restaurants and delivery services frequently pressure their delivery drivers to make quick deliveries. Fast delivery means increased tips, more stars, and reflects better on the delivery company or restaurant, sometimes motivating delivery drivers to drive recklessly.
- Moonlighting fatigue: For some delivery drivers, this is a second job. They work a regular day job and then deliver food in the evenings and at night. While this is a great way to make extra cash, it often makes delivery drivers fatigued and drowsy. Recent studies show that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as impaired driving.
With all these factors combined, it shouldn’t be a shock that delivery drivers are more likely to cause accidents than non-commercial drivers.
Food Delivery Services Can Complicate Your Car Accident Claim
There’s no denying that food delivery apps are convenient and save time in your busy schedule. When you order from UberEats, Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, or other delivery services, one of their drivers picks up your food and delivers it right to you at your chosen location. In addition, other convenience delivery services like Walmart +, Instacart, and Shipt deliver groceries right to your door, allowing you to avoid the hassle of navigating crowded aisles and busy roads. So what’s not to like?
Unfortunately, the drivers working for these companies are independent contractors not employed by the grocery store, a restaurant, or the meal delivery app business. By arranging it this way, the businesses that use delivery drivers decrease their liability in the event of an accident.
While some food delivery companies offer their drivers supplemental insurance policies, many don’t. If you are in a crash caused by a food delivery driver, your ability to recover compensation might depend on which app they used at the time of the accident.
Below are the current policies of some popular food delivery apps:
- UberEats and Postmates: These services use a three-stage liability process for their food delivery drivers, depending on if the driver was actively delivering food or working at the time of the accident. Suppose the driver was actively delivering an order for UberEats. In that case, you can file a claim against Uber’s $1 million per accident policy. Uber acquired Postmates in 2020; therefore, Postmates has the same policy.
- Doordash: You must file a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier first. Then, DoorDash’s supplemental policy will cover damages that might exceed the food delivery driver’s insurance policy limits. For instance, suppose the driver had $15,000 in coverage for bodily injury, but your medical bills were $20,000. Once the driver’s policy pays you $15,000, DoorDash should pay the remaining $5,000.
- Grubhub and Instacart: Unfortunately, neither company provides any liability insurance for its food delivery drivers. Suppose you are involved in an accident with one while they are working. In that case, you must pursue a claim against the negligent delivery driver. This means that if your damages exceed their policy limits, you may need to file a lawsuit or rely on your own insurance coverage.
- Shipt: Has optional liability insurance for food delivery drivers who actively have a customer order in their car; otherwise, they provide no additional coverage for drivers. Therefore, drivers must rely on their own vehicle insurance policies.
Types of Food Delivery Driver Car Accidents
Food delivery drivers can cause all types of car accidents. When you hire a well-versed car accident attorney, they can investigate your accident to determine how it happened and who is liable.
Single Vehicle Accidents
Single-vehicle accidents can happen due to other cars running motorists off the road, other collisions, animals in the street, or even defective vehicles. It’s essential to remember that someone else might be liable for your damages even if you were in a single-car accident. a
A side impact occurs when a car hits another on its side. They are also referred to as T-bone accidents. Cars running stop lights or stop signs are the most common cause of side-impact accidents. Nearly one-third of all accidents fall into this category.
Rollovers occur when a car flips over onto its side or roof. They are frequently the result of a collision or making a tight turn at a high rate of speed. Any car is vulnerable to rollovers; however, vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs and other taller vehicles, are most at risk.
Occurring when one car hits another from behind, rear-end collisions can be minor or severe. The degree of damages and injuries that result usually depends on the types of vehicles involved and the speed at which they were traveling when the impact happened.
When two vehicles hit each other front to front, it’s known as a head-on collision. These accidents are among the most dangerous, with high fatality rates. Going the wrong way in a traffic lane or swerving into the lane of opposite traffic are the most common causes.
No matter what type of accident caused your injuries, you deserve financial recovery for them. Getting that compensation is often challenging on your own, which is why so many injured individuals and their families turn to a skilled car accident lawyer for help.
Negligence in Car Accidents
Most car accident claims are rooted in the legal premise of negligence. In short, negligence means not doing what a prudent person should have done in the same or similar situation.
To effectively establish negligence in your case, your car accident lawyer will collect evidence to prove that:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care—for example, to drive the speed limit or stop at a red light.
- That party violated their duty of care—by speeding or running through the red light.
- Their violation caused the accident and your injuries.
- Your damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages, and medical bills, are directly related to the accident.
Damages in a Car Accident Claim
In the legal realm, damages are the financial translation of your losses and hardships directly caused by the accident and your injuries. Damages typically vary from one claim to the next, depending on the circumstances.
Generally, car accident victims or their family members can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical expenses, including emergency room, physician visits, physical therapy, equipment, surgeries, and prescriptions
- Travel expenses to go to medical appointments
- Lost wages and income
- Property damage
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Whether your car accident lawyer negotiates a settlement on your behalf or your case proceeds to court, any compensation you receive will depend on the value of your damages. While economic damages are easy to establish with receipts and bills, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life can be even more challenging to prove. Many injured in motor vehicle collisions with food delivery drivers seek the services of a car accident lawyer to maximize their claim compensation.
What to Do After a Car Accident With a Delivery Driver
Being in a car accident is shocking, especially when you learn that the driver is in the middle of making a food delivery for work. You may not know what to do after one, especially when you didn’t see it coming and are suffering from injuries.
Unfortunately, taking the proper steps at this point can make the difference between a successful claim and one that never amounts to anything.
Here are the most important things to know and do after a car accident with a food delivery driver on duty:
Even if you think that you are at fault or played a part in causing the accident, avoid apologizing or accepting blame in any way. If you do, other parties can use it against you in your injury claim.
Get Medical Attention
If you suffered an injury, get medical attention as soon as possible. For injuries that are extremely painful or limb-or life-threatening, go to the emergency room right away. While other injuries may not be an emergency, it’s still vital that you are checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Documenting the accident and your injuries will be essential to prove parts of your claim.
Follow Medical Advice
Do what your doctor tells you to do and follow their treatment plan. Take any medications as prescribed and go to your follow-up appointments. Doing this will help establish that you’ve suffered an injury and are pursuing treatment. It shows the other involved parties that you take your injuries seriously, and so should they.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
It’s okay to report the accident to your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, it’s best not to talk to the insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can instruct them to reach out to your car accident lawyer instead. If you speak to them, you risk saying something they can twist to be detrimental to your claim. They are really good at sounding friendly and concerned, so they can get innocent people to say something unknowingly harmful to their claim.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Contact a reputable car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. The sooner you can secure legal representation, the better chances your case will be successful. Your attorney can help ensure that you don’t do anything detrimental to your claim. They can also handle the logistics of your case so that you can rest and heal from your injuries.
Accidents with drivers who deliver for food or grocery services can involve complex legalities. They often involve many different parties, including insurance companies, none of which will readily accept liability for your damages. You need an experienced car accident attorney who will fight for your rights.