A pizza delivery driver is rushing to drop off an order and ignores a stop sign. He smashes into your car and you suffer a serious neck injury. Who is responsible for the car accident? Is it the driver? Is it the company? Is it someone else? The answer isn’t always clear. Learn more about pizza delivery driver car accidents below.
Pizza Delivery Drivers Have a Higher Likelihood of Crashing
Delivery service drivers are among a group of occupations with the highest fatality rate in the United States. Undoubtedly, pizza delivery is a difficult profession, but it’s not just drivers who are in danger during a crash. Everyone on the road is a potential victim.
Many factors increase the risk for a delivery driver car wreck.
1. A Lack of Driving Experience
Many delivery drivers are young and inexperienced. Rookie drivers are more likely to make driving errors, speed, act impulsively, and get into a crash.
2. Pressure to Make Fast Deliveries
Restaurants and delivery services often pressure drivers to make quick deliveries. Many incentivize speed over safety by offering bonuses for quick turnarounds or making drivers reliant on tips. This can encourage reckless driving.
3. More Miles Behind the Wheel
The job itself increases delivery drivers’ risk for causing a crash. The more miles you drive, the more likely you’ll be involved in a wreck. Pizza delivery drivers log a lot of miles, sometimes at night, on unfamiliar roads, and in hazardous weather conditions. When you combine all of these factors, it’s no surprise that delivery drivers are more likely to cause crashes.
Steps to Take After a Crash With a Pizza Delivery Driver
Your first priority after any crash should be your safety and health. Call 911, cooperate with the police investigation, and seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
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At the scene, you or a loved one should attempt to get:
- The name and contact information for the driver and his or her employer
- The driver’s insurance information
- Pictures of the crash scene, including the vehicles, skid marks, injuries, etc.
- Witnesses’ names and contact information
Finally, you should contact an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. A lawyer can help you discover all the different insurance policies that may cover your losses. They and their team can also investigate every aspect of the crash (including whether the delivery driver had been involved in previous wrecks), file your lawsuit, and take your case all the way to the courtroom in front of a jury.
Acting quickly is important. As time passes, you might lose valuable evidence. Witnesses might forget important details. Defective car parts might get repaired or thrown away. Texas also imposes a two-year statute of limitations on car accident claims. If you file your lawsuit more than two years after the crash, the court could dismiss your claim, and you’ll lose your right to compensation.
You Might Have Numerous Insurance Claims Against Multiple Parties After a Car Crash
Pizza and other delivery driver accidents typically involve multiple claims. Compared to a car crash involving two private individuals, delivery driver cases are much more complex. Your personal injury lawyer will have to carefully evaluate the driver, restaurant, or delivery service’s insurance policies.
Many Personal Insurance Policies Won’t Cover Commercial Driving
Many restaurants and delivery services ask for proof of insurance from their drivers. Unfortunately, most personal insurance policies will deny coverage for accidents that occur while a driver is working. This means that the delivery driver’s policy probably won’t cover your losses.
And because delivery drivers don’t make a lot of money, most can’t afford extra coverage. Others don’t even know it’s available. When a pizza delivery driver does not have coverage for a crash, you’ll either have to try and collect against the low-income worker or look for alternate insurance coverage, like the kind a delivery driver’s employer may have.
You May Be Able to File an Insurance Claim Against the Restaurant or Delivery Service
If the driver is an employee of a restaurant or other business, you may be able to file a claim against the company. Employers are typically responsible for their employees’ negligence when it occurs during the course of their employment. In legal terms, this is knowns as vicarious liability.
Your car accident attorney will need to carefully examine the business’ insurance policies. While some large franchises and restaurants have robust coverage, others purchase minimal policies or don’t cover their drivers at all.
Additionally, many delivery drivers are independent contractors. In these cases, you might have a more challenging time filing claims. Typically, a company isn’t liable for an independent contractor’s negligence, although exceptions do exist.
Can You Sue a Franchise?
Many popular pizza and delivery restaurants are franchises. Independent business owners purchase a franchise license that gives them the right to operate their business under a popular brand name, such as Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Domino’s, etc. Most franchises must follow rules about their food, marketing, and operations.
After an accident caused by a delivery driver, you might want to file a lawsuit against the franchising company. However, proving liability against a franchising company is difficult. While some franchise agreements include vague statements about delivery operations, most franchising companies do not directly control their franchise holders’ delivery drivers.
For example, in 2013 a Texas jury awarded $32 million to a family when a Domino’s Pizza driver injured their loved ones. The driver’s tires were bald and he lost control on wet pavement. During the crash, a woman died, and her husband suffered a severe brain injury. In its award, the jury assigned significant liability to the Domino’s Pizza corporation due to an inspection requirement in its franchise agreement.
However, an appeals court overturned this decision, finding that Domino’s lack of daily control over the driver freed it from liability. The family still received compensation from the local franchise holder who hired the negligent driver and failed to inspect his unsafe vehicle.
You Can Also File PIP and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims
If the driver’s insurance company denies the claim and the restaurant has minimal coverage, you can turn to your personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist policies.
· PIP Insurance
These policies cover your medical bills and lost income, up to your policy limits, regardless of fault.
· Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
These policies steps in when the negligent driver doesn’t have insurance or lacks sufficient coverage to pay for your losses.
While these types of coverage are optional, it’s in every Texas drivers’ best interest to purchase these types of policies. There are too many uninsured and underinsured drivers on the road.
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Grubhub and UberEATS: How Meal Delivery Services Can Complicate Your Claim
Meal delivery apps are an increasingly popular way to get food. When you order from Grubhub, UberEATS, Doordash, Postmates, or other meal delivery services, one of their drivers picks up and delivers your order. These drivers are independent contractors who are not employed by either the restaurants or the meal delivery app company.
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While some meal delivery companies offer their drivers supplemental insurance policies, others do not. Your ability to recover compensation might depend on which app the driver was using. Below are examples of some current company policies (as of June 2018):
- Grubhub does not provide any liability insurance for its drivers. You will have to pursue a claim against the negligent driver.
- UberEats applies a three-stage liability system for its drivers. If the driver was actively delivering an order, you could file a claim against Uber’s $1 million policy.
- Doordash and Postmates you must file a claim with the driver’s insurance first. Doordash and Postmate’s supplemental policies will cover damages that exceed the driver’s insurance limits.
If you have questions about a car crash involving a delivery app driver, contact an injury lawyer immediately. These claims require detailed analysis, and you might make serious mistakes without help from an attorney.
Crosley Law Fights for Victims of Delivery Driver Crashes in San Antonio and Throughout Texas
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a crash with a pizza delivery driver or other driving service, contact Crosley Law for a free consultation. We assist accident victims throughout Texas and pride ourselves on our cutting-edge, aggressive representation and our focus on client satisfaction. You can schedule a free case evaluation by completing our online form or calling 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
Chen, G. X., Amandus, H. E., & Wu, N. (2014, July). Occupational fatalities among driver/sales workers and truck drivers in the United States, 2003-2008. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 57(7), pp. 800-809. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4565185/
Yates, D. (2015, March 19). Texas justices wipe big 2013 jury verdict, reverse $32M judgment against Domino’s. SE Texas Record. Retrieved from https://setexasrecord.com/stories/510607010-texas-justices-wipe-big-2013-jury-verdict-reverse-32m-judgment-against-domino-rsquo-s
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.