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Who Is Responsible for a Food Delivery Driver Accident?

Written by Tom Crosley
Jan 26, 2022 Vehicle Wrecks
  1. 1. Food Delivery Drivers Have a Higher Likelihood of Crashing
  2. 2. Steps to Take After a Crash With a Food Delivery Driver
  3. 3. You Might Have Numerous Insurance Claims Against Multiple Parties After a Car Crash
  4. 4. Many Personal Insurance Policies Won’t Cover Commercial Driving
  5. 5. You May Be Able to File an Insurance Claim Against the Restaurant or Food Delivery Company
  6. 6. Can You Sue a Franchise?
  7. 7. You Can Also File PIP and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims
  8. 8. Grubhub and Instacart: How Food Delivery Apps Can Complicate Your Claim
  9. 9. Crosley Law Fights for Victims of Delivery Driver Crashes in San Antonio and Throughout Texas

Who Is Responsible for a Food Delivery Driver Accident?

A food delivery driver is rushing to drop off an order and ignores a stop sign. They smash into your car and you suffer a serious neck injury. Who is responsible for the car accident? Is it the driver? Is it the delivery company? Is it someone else? The answer isn’t always clear.

With drivers for DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, Postmates, Shipt, and Uber Eats all racing for those five-star ratings, it’s important to understand who is responsible when crashes happen. Learn more about food delivery driver car accidents below.

Food Delivery Drivers Have a Higher Likelihood of Crashing

Food delivery apps are becoming increasingly popular, as Texans realize the benefits of having dinner or groceries delivered right to their home. This has resulted in an increase in food delivery drivers, often in adverse road conditions like storms or rush hour traffic.

Gig food service delivery is a difficult profession, but it’s not just drivers who are in danger during a crash. Anyone involved in a delivery driver accident is at risk.

Many factors increase the risk for a delivery driver car wreck.

  • 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.
  • Pressure to Make Fast Deliveries: restaurants and delivery services often pressure drivers to make quick deliveries. A fast delivery means better tips or more stars, which can motivate delivery drivers to behave recklessly.
  • 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. Food delivery drivers log a lot of miles, often at night, on unfamiliar roads, and in hazardous weather conditions.

When you combine all these factors, it’s no surprise that delivery drivers are more likely to cause crashes than non-commercial drivers.

Steps to Take After a Crash With a Food Delivery Driver

If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident caused by a food delivery driver, it’s important to take these steps. 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.

At the scene, you or a loved one should try to get:

  • The name and contact information for the driver and their employer
  • The driver’s insurance information
  • Pictures of the crash scene, including the vehicles, skid marks, and your injuries
  • Witnesses’ names and contact information

Finally, you should contact an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. The food delivery accident claims process can vary depending on which service the driver works for and the facts of your case. A lawyer can help you discover all the different insurance policies that may cover your losses. They will 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.

RELATED: What Happens if You Get In an Accident With a Delivery Driver?

You Might Have Numerous Insurance Claims Against Multiple Parties After a Car Crash

Food 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 popular food delivery app companies 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 personal policy probably won’t cover your losses, even if they are at fault for the car accident.

When a delivery driver does not have coverage for a crash, you may have to try and collect against alternate insurance coverage, like the kind a delivery driver’s employer may have. The policies in place can vary by food delivery app, but by hiring an expert Texas food delivery accident lawyer, you can be rest assured that your legal team will discover all the important details to get you the settlement you deserve.

You May Be Able to File an Insurance Claim Against the Restaurant or Food Delivery Company

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 their employment. In legal terms this is known 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, some food delivery services provide minimal insurance 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, Jimmy John’s, and Domino’s. 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. Most Texans have at least a modest amount of PIP insurance.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

These policies step 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 driver’s best interest to buy these types of policies. There are many uninsured and underinsured drivers on the road, and you don’t want to be burdened with unpaid medical bills and other losses caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

RELATED: Denied Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Compensation? Here’s What You Can Do

Grubhub and Instacart: How Food Delivery Apps Can Complicate Your Claim

Food delivery apps are an increasingly popular way to save time in your busy schedule. When you order from Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, Uber Eats, or other delivery services, one of their drivers picks up your meal and delivers a meal straight to you. Other services like Instacart and Shipt deliver groceries right to your door, saving you the hassle of navigating busy aisles and busy roads.

These drivers are independent contractors who are not employed by either the grocery or the meal delivery app company. Online message boards are full of food delivery app drivers encouraging each other to conceal the fact that they were working in the event of a motor vehicle accident. This is insurance fraud!

While some meal delivery companies offer their drivers supplemental insurance policies, others do not. If you are in an accident caused by a delivery driver, your ability to recover compensation might depend on which app the driver was using. Below are the policies of some popular food delivery apps (as of January 2022):

  • Doordash: you must file a claim with the driver’s insurance first. Doordash’s supplemental policy will cover damages that exceed the driver’s insurance limits.
  • Grubhub and Instacart: neither provides any liability insurance for its drivers. You will have to pursue a claim against the negligent driver.
  • Uber Eats and Postmates: this service applies a three-stage liability system for its drivers. If the driver was actively delivering an order for Uber Eats, you could file a claim against Uber’s $1 million policy. Postmates was acquired by Uber in 2020.
  • Shipt: offers liability insurance for drivers who actively have a customer order in their vehicle, otherwise they provide no additional coverage for drivers.

RELATED: Who Is Responsible for Grocery Delivery Driver Crashes?

If you have questions about a car crash involving a food delivery app driver, contact an injury lawyer immediately. These claims require detailed analysis, and you might make serious mistakes without help from an attorney. An expert auto accident attorney will know what insurance coverage may cover settlements for victims of food delivery companies.

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 meal delivery driver or other driving service, contact Crosley Law for a free consultation. We help 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.

References

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.

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