Tell us about your case and our attorneys will contact you promptly
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of people choose not to go out unless they really need to. Some people still opt to go out to buy food and groceries, while others turn to food delivery services to avoid the risk of getting covid-19. Customers just have to use their smartphones, tablets, or laptops to connect with the food delivery service, look at menus from countless restaurants, pick what they want to eat, and have it delivered to them at home.
According to a recent report by Statista, the revenue of food delivery services increased by 20% or more in 2020 when compared to 2019. Also, grocery deliveries are becoming more popular, with more and more grocery shops offering pick-up or home delivery options. Additionally, approximately 44% of Gen Z and 45% of millennials have been shopping online for their groceries even before the coronavirus health crisis.
These days, you can expect thousands of food delivery drivers on California roads every single day. It’s just inevitable that the more drivers there are on the road, the more chances there are of getting into an accident. So what should you do when you get injured in an accident caused by a food delivery driver’s negligent and careless actions?
Accidents that have resulted in injuries and/or property damage caused by food delivery drivers could be particularly problematic when trying to determine liability. Food delivery companies often argue that they can’t be held liable for such accidents because their drivers are merely independent contractors and not employees, so you should go after the driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company if the driver is insured or underinsured.
However, it must be pointed out that Governor Newsom signed into legislation California Assembly Bill 5 last September 2019, which took effect on January 1, 2020. This law addresses the misclassification of gig workers, including food delivery drivers, and works against the interests of businesses that hire gig workers. Under the new law, instead of gig workers being automatically classified as independent contractors, businesses are now required to implement the ABC test before classifying all gig workers as independent contractors. As employees, employers should provide benefits to gig workers, including sufficient auto insurance coverage.
Due to this reclassification law, businesses are now more vulnerable to various lawsuits and claims, which include those brought on by accident victims of negligent drivers. In general, these injured victims can include pedestrians, other motorists, skateboarders, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. This also means that food delivery companies can now be held liable for their delivery drivers’ negligent actions.
So, for example, if a food delivery driver causes an accident while delivering a meal for the food delivery business, the business can be held vicariously liable or responsible for the driver’s actions. The problem is that this law is still considered new, and liability for accidents might be difficult to determine, depending on the specific facts of the case. This is especially true in cases where vicarious liability is involved.
It’s no secret that food delivery drivers are always rushing because they’re under immense pressure to complete their delivery schedules. This helps ensure customer satisfaction and repeat transactions. It also means more income for the drivers. In general, the quicker that the delivery drivers complete their deliveries, the quicker they can move on to the next deliveries. On the other hand, rushing could lead to carelessness, which, in turn, could result in all kinds of traffic accidents due to negligence. Below are the most common causes of accidents due to driver negligence:
But whatever the reason for the accident, food delivery drivers should always exercise reasonable care when driving because all road users owe other road users a duty of care. This means that drivers are legally obligated to take reasonable care and make certain that their actions don’t cause injuries to other people or damage to vehicles and other property. Remember, a momentary lapse of focus could result in an accident.
Food delivery drivers may only have insurance coverage for personal injury under the minimum liability limits imposed by California, which are $15,000 per individual and $30 for every occurrence. The problem is that depending on the accident victim’s type and severity of injury, the insurance may not be adequate enough to cover everything. There’s also the compensation for damages, which can include:
Furthermore, food delivery drivers’ insurance coverage greatly varies from one individual to another. In most cases, their personal liability insurance is considered the primary coverage for accidents, and the insurance coverage of the food delivery company they work for is secondary. This means that the food delivery company’s coverage will only be triggered once the driver’s coverage has been exhausted. But not all companies provide insurance to their drivers, so some drivers only have their personal coverage to fall back on in case of accidents.
In addition, depending on the specific terms of the driver’s own insurance coverage and the food delivery company’s insurance coverage, a gap may exist between the two insurance policies. For instance, drivers may be covered under the food delivery company’s policy while delivering orders, but not while they’re heading to a restaurant to get a customer’s order.
DoorDash provides food delivery drivers auto insurance coverage of up to $1 million for property and bodily damage if the drivers cause an accident during active deliveries. However, this coverage is considered an excess insurance policy, meaning that if drivers cause accidents during deliveries, the coverage of DoorDash will only kick in once a driver’s personal insurance has been exhausted. So DoorDash’s policy won’t cover drivers who don’t have their own auto insurance.
According to the independent contractor agreement of Instacart, drivers should have their own insurance coverage in accordance with the state’s legal requirements. The company doesn’t offer excess insurance coverage for its drivers.
Uber Eats covers food delivery drivers for up to $1 million from the minute they accept a delivery until the delivery’s completion. The company also has comprehensive and collision coverage for vehicle repairs if the driver’s car was damaged during a delivery, but there’s a $1,000 deductible. However, these are contingent upon drivers having their own comprehensive and collision insurance policies.
Uber’s policy could also cover drivers between deliveries when they’re waiting for their next delivery assignments if they don’t have their own insurance. Uber also has a commercial liability policy of up to $25,000 per accident for property damage, $50,000 for every accident for bodily injury, and $100,000 for bodily injury in accidents where multiple people have been injured.
Postmates has excess liability insurance coverage of up to $1 million for every accident for injuries and property damage their drivers caused in an accident. Food delivery drivers are also required to have personal auto insurance because the Postmates policy will only take effect after the driver’s own coverage limits have been exhausted.
Similar to Instacart, GrubHub requires its food delivery drivers to have personal auto insurance and doesn’t offer its drivers commercial liability coverage.
So if you sustained injuries and/property damage in an accident that a food delivery driver caused, you have all the right to pursue a claim and seek compensation for your losses. It is, however, very crucial to note that you shouldn’t expect the driver’s insurance company to just accept your insurance claim. Keep in mind insurance companies prioritize collecting premiums and settling claims for as little money as possible.
You should also be aware that in most cases, a defendant’s insurance company adjuster or representative may try to get in touch with accident victims even before the victim has filed a claim. The alleged purpose of this interaction is to simply see how the victim is doing. But this isn’t really the case because the real purpose of the interaction is to try and obtain statements from you.
Take note that you’re not legally obligated to give the adjuster any kind of statement before a claim is filed. Also, the adjuster already has the facts of the accident through the defendant and may have also examined the police report about the accident. So whatever the adjuster says, do not give a statement. You may unintentionally say something that may be used against you to refute or downplay your claim. Leave the negotiations and discussions to your attorney.
After getting injured in California due to the careless actions of a food delivery driver, consult with one of our skilled Los Angeles food delivery accident lawyers here at The Ride App Attorneys. You should bring all liable parties to justice or risk having someone else getting injured due to their negligence. We have extensive experience in handling insurance companies, and we know how to fight them if they don’t play fair.
You can reach The Ride App Attorneys by phone at 866-641-0497 or contact us online to schedule your free case review and consultation with a Los Angeles food delivery accident attorney.
Tenny Mirzayan is the best out there. She handled our car accident case, and destroyed the other side. Farmers Insurance offered us $0, and she got us deep into the six figures. She did not let us get pushed around. Thank you!!!