Are you a food delivery driver in California? It is common to have questions about what happens if you get in a motor vehicle accident while delivering food. What should you do after an accident? Does the delivery service provide insurance coverage? Below, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys answer these questions and more.
Common Causes of Food Delivery Accidents
Common causes of delivery accidents include, but are not limited to:
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from driving. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a second, can significantly increase your risk of getting into an accident.
For delivery drivers, a common distraction is using a navigation system. Drivers must use a navigation system to get to their pick-up spots and customers’ locations. Other common distractions may include talking or texting on the phone, eating and drinking, or changing the music.
Fatigue is a state of mental or physical exhaustion that can impair one’s ability to perform tasks. Many factors can cause fatigue, including lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and underlying health conditions.
Delivery drivers often work long hours and drive extended distances to deliver food. When fatigue sets in, it can cause problems with concentration, coordination, and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents.
Harsh Weather Conditions
People want food delivered in all weather conditions, and drivers will do it to get paid. Unfortunately, bad weather puts delivery drivers at an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.
For example, storms reduce visibility, making it harder for drivers to see potential hazards, especially at night or in low-light conditions. In addition, wet roads can make it difficult to maintain control of the vehicle.
Pressure to Make Fast Deliveries
Many food delivery drivers are paid by delivery, not hourly. This model incentivizes drivers to make as many deliveries as possible to get more money. Delivery companies even run promotion programs, incentivizing drivers to make a certain amount of deliveries within a specific timeframe to get a bonus.
Additionally, drivers strive to make early or on-time deliveries to get tips and positive ratings and avoid late penalties from the delivery service. When drivers feel pressure to make quick deliveries, they are more likely to take risks they would not usually take.
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They may speed, tailgate other motorists, make sudden lane changes, and neglect traffic laws to get to their locations. In addition, pressure to deliver can lead to driver fatigue, as drivers try to squeeze in extra hours on the road.
Information to Gather if You Have Been in an Accident
The first thing you should do after an accident is to assess the situation and make sure everyone involved is unharmed. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
You also need to gather information and evidence before leaving the accident scene, including:
Exchanging Details With the Other Motorist
Ensure you obtain vital information from the other driver before leaving the accident scene. For example, you should get:
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Vehicle make and model
- Insurance information
- Contact information
Taking Pictures of the Accident Site
Gathering as much evidence as possible at the scene is essential if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Pictures and videos can help to establish what happened and who was at fault.
You should document the following:
- Damage to both vehicles
- Accident location
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions
Asking for Witness Names and Contact Information
If there are any witnesses of the car crash, you should request their names and contact information. Witnesses can provide valuable testimony about what happened, who was at fault, and any hazards at the accident scene.
Can I Recover Compensation for My Injuries?
Did you suffer injuries in a food delivery driver accident? You may have a viable claim to recover compensation for your injuries.
Consider reaching out to an attorney after an accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine which insurance policies may cover your losses.
Sources of compensation may include, but are not limited to:
- The at-fault motorist’s insurance policy
- Your own insurance policy
- Your delivery company’s uninsured or underinsured bodily injury insurance, if applicable
- Your delivery company’s occupational accident insurance, if applicable
Our Auto Attorneys May Be Able to Help You Recover Losses
An experienced car accident lawyer can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a viable claim to recover compensation for your damages. Once we establish an attorney-client relationship, we may be able to help you recover compensation for the following:
- Medical bills and hospital bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Prescription medication costs.
- Recover lost wages after an accident
- Loss of future earning potential
- Property damages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Do Food Delivery Companies Provide Vehicle Insurance?
Similar to rideshare companies like Lyft, some food delivery services may have supplemental commercial auto insurance. However, it is essential for you to have a commercial auto policy if you are using your vehicle to deliver food.
Delivering food is considered a business use of the car, even if you deliver food part-time. A commercial auto policy will better protect you in an accident.
DoorDash Auto Insurance Coverage
DoorDash has $1,000,000 in commercial liability coverage. This policy covers bodily injury and property damage incurred by a third party in the event of an accident.
However, it only applies if the accident occurs during an active delivery and if:
- The delivery driver is found at fault for the accident
- The delivery driver has valid personal auto insurance
- The delivery driver’s insurance company denies coverage or the damages exceed the driver’s policy limits
If a driver is between deliveries when the accident occurs or does not have up-to-date auto insurance, DoorDash coverage may not apply.
Uber Eats Auto Insurance Coverage
Uber Eats provides third-party liability coverage for its drivers from when they are available to make deliveries to when they stop delivering. If the driver is available but is waiting on a delivery request, Uber Eats offers third-party liability insurance in covered accidents. This coverage includes:
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
If the driver has accepted a delivery request and is en route to the pick-up point or delivering food to a customer, then Uber provides $1,000,000 in third-party coverage. However, these policies only apply if the driver’s auto insurance policy gets denied or if the damages exceed the driver’s policy amounts.
Uber also provides uninsured or underinsured bodily injury coverage to its drivers if another party is at-fault for the accident. It also offers contingent comprehensive and collision coverage for property damage to the driver’s vehicle.
Grubhub Auto Insurance Coverage
Unlike DoorDash and Uber Eats, Grubhub does not provide auto liability coverage to its drivers. Its drivers must have their own auto insurance policy. No matter the circumstances, the Grubhub driver is liable for damages in an accident.
Who Is Liable if I Get Into an Accident With a Delivery Food Driver?
If you get into an accident with a delivery driver, you may wonder who is liable. Do you file a claim against the driver’s or delivery company’s insurance policy? Who is responsible for damages? There are a few things to consider regarding accident liability, including worker status and insurance coverage.
Many Delivery Drivers Are Independent Contractors
Most delivery drivers are independent contractors, not employees. This work status helps to absolve food delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats from liability when their drivers get into accidents.
As independent contractors, delivery drivers must keep up-to-date personal auto insurance policies. You would pursue compensation through the driver’s insurance policy first.
When Is the Delivery Service Liable?
Employer liability will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident. In many cases, the driver is at-fault for the accident, not the delivery service. However, there are exceptions.
It may be possible to sue a company like DoorDash for an accident. For example, if DoorDash allowed a driver who failed its background check to work through the platform and the driver caused an accident, DoorDash may share liability.
Additionally, if the driver is an employee, the employer may be liable for an accident in certain situations. For example, suppose the company provides the delivery vehicle and is responsible for its maintenance. The employer may share liability if the accident resulted from an unmaintained vehicle.
Reimbursement for Damages Depends on Insurance Coverage
Delivery drivers using personal vehicles need a commercial auto policy because delivering food is considered a business use of the vehicle. Even so, most delivery companies only require proof of personal auto insurance to sign up as a delivery driver.
The dilemma with this is that in the event of an accident, the driver’s insurance company may outright deny coverage due to the driver having the incorrect insurance. If this occurs, you will need to try to recover compensation from the delivery company’s third-party liability policy, if it has one.
Seek Compensation Due to a Delivery Driver’s Recklessness
Were you injured in an accident caused by a food delivery service driver? You may have a viable claim to recover compensation for your damages. Damages may include monetary losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. They may also include non-monetary losses like pain and suffering.
Can You Sue a Franchise After an Accident With a Delivery Driver?
Many factors may determine whether you have a viable claim against the franchise. For example, is the delivery driver an employee or an independent contractor? Was the delivery driver working at the time of the crash? What are the terms of the franchise’s insurance policies?
Proving that the franchise is liable for damages may be challenging, especially if the driver is an independent contractor. You must show that the franchise had direct control over the driver. We recommend speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your legal options.
How to Protect Yourself From an Uninsured Delivery Driver
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is essential for protecting yourself from drivers who do not have insurance. In this case, you may be unable to recover compensation from the driver or the delivery company.
You may need to rely on your insurance policy to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help cover these costs.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney After Your Accident
Are you a food delivery driver who has been involved in an accident? Or have you been involved in an accident with a food delivery driver? These accident claims can be complex and vary depending on the company the driver works for and the unique circumstances surrounding your case. Consider speaking to our Los Angeles car accident lawyers about your situation.
At Steers & Associates, our team helps motor vehicle accident victims seek the compensation they deserve. Request a free consultation to learn about your potential legal options.
We provide phone consultations, video conferencing, and in-office visits. Our firm has offices across Southern California, including Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Lancaster, and Long Beach. Call us at (800) 824-5416 or fill out our online contact form.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.