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Food delivery services, including Postmates, GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Instacart, among others, have become increasingly popular these past years but became more significantly in-demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, more delivery vehicles rushing to complete deliveries also means an increased risk of traffic accidents. If you have been injured in a food delivery accident, it’s vital to seek legal counsel right away.
Discussing your case with an experienced San Diego food delivery accident attorney will help ensure that you get compensated properly for the losses you incurred. In California, personal injury victims are awarded compensation to try and get them back to the position or state they were in prior to the accident happening. These awards are called actual damages and can include the following:
After the accident that caused your injuries, you need to understand how you may be entitled to seek damages. The terms of an insurance policy usually dictate how much a claimant can get, but only an experienced attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible settlement amount to cover your losses.
Food delivery accidents involving delivery drivers are unique due to the many different variables they come with. An accident’s individual circumstances usually dictate which insurance coverage will be used to compensate the victim. For instance, courts may or may not hold Postmates liable if you get into an accident with their driver. Generally speaking, determining liability will be dependent on whether the driver was in between deliveries, was completing a delivery, or was headed home, among others, when the accident occurred.
Most insurance policies that food delivery companies have only cover third-party liability claims. These claims involve accidents where a negligent delivery driver caused injuries to another party. On the other hand, drivers may or may not be covered by the food delivery company depending on the terms of their employment. For example, drivers classified as independent contractors should have personal insurance policies since the coverage of food delivery companies doesn’t always cover them.
This means that a food delivery accident that involves an Uber Eats driver may have a significantly different outcome than an accident involving a GrubHub or Instacart driver. Each company also has different insurance policies and processes for handling claims against them.
Fortunately, in most cases, accident victims can hold food delivery businesses liable for their drivers’ negligent and careless acts, for example, drivers that caused an accident while they’re completing deliveries for the food delivery company. In this case, the company can be held vicariously liable or accountable for a driver’s actions, including negligent actions. This liability theory is called respondeat superior. But this type of liability doesn’t provide recovery for an employee’s reckless or intentional acts.
The potential insurance policy that covers drivers will differ depending on which food delivery company the negligent driver was working for. In the majority of cases, the company’s insurance will only offer excess coverage. This means that the delivery driver’s own insurance policy would be used first to cover an accident victim’s claim, and when the value of the claim exceeds the driver’s policy limits, the rest of the claim will be paid out from the delivery company’s excess coverage.
All DoorDash delivery drivers are required to have personal auto insurance policies. Otherwise, the company’s insurance policy may not be used for a food delivery accident. This means that the primary insurance coverage is the driver’s policy, so if the value of your losses is higher than the driver’s policy limits, then the company’s coverage might cover the excess. But the excess coverage only applies to accidents where drivers were on active deliveries. Basically, DoorDash terms state that active deliveries are those where drivers already have the orders to be delivered in their vehicles. The company’s liability policy is up to $1 million.
Postmates’ insurance coverage is similar to DoorDash. Delivery drivers should be on active assignments for the company’s coverage to take effect. The company’s excess liability coverage is up to $1 million for third-party injury claims and will only be triggered when their drivers have exhausted their own insurance policy’s limits. Postmates likewise require their drivers to maintain sufficient auto insurance policies and spend for costs incurred during delivery assignments. Drivers are not covered by Postmates’ excess coverage while they are waiting for a delivery assignment, and once they complete a delivery, they also won’t be covered until they accept a delivery assignment.
Uber Eats’ insurance policy is slightly different and more generous than Postmates and DoorDash. The company provides some liability coverage even for drivers who haven’t started a delivery run but are available to accept assignments on the app. The policy limits include $50,000 for each person and $25,000 for damage to property, and up to $100,000 for each accident for injuries.
Furthermore, for Uber Eats drivers on active delivery assignments, the liability coverage is increased to $1 million. Under Uber Eats terms and conditions, active deliveries are defined as accepting delivery requests and going to the restaurant to pick up the customer’s order or going to the customer’s address to deliver their orders.
Instacart doesn’t provide its food delivery drivers excess insurance coverage and requires drivers and shoppers to have their own insurance policies. The company also doesn’t offer workers any injury protection compensation. Similarly, GrubHub does not also provide any kind of insurance coverage for their drivers. But given the new developments in California labor laws, this lack of insurance coverage for food delivery drivers may be problematic for Instacart and GrubHub.
California passed the Assembly Bill 5 last September 2019 with the goal of resolving the misclassification of gig workers, including food delivery drivers. The law took effect last January 1, 2020, and requires the implementation of the ABC test, which has been utilized by government agencies and courts for determining the status of an employee. Workers who are erroneously misclassified, whether intentional or not, bear the burdens of misclassification because most state and federal employment and labor protections are only provided to employees, and not independent contractors or gig workers.
Likewise, when workers are misclassified as independent contractors, employers rob workers of essential protections required for all workers. Also, workers have to deal with extra financial responsibilities such as insurance obligations and taxes. This means that if you get into an accident with a GrubHub or Instacart delivery driver, you’ll need to file a claim against the driver’s personal insurance, which may not be enough to cover your losses instead of the delivery company’s insurance policy.
The first thing you should know is that settlement values differ significantly from one claim to another. Your attorney will be able to estimate how much your claim is worth by evaluating the individual circumstances of your case. When figuring out the potential settlement value of your claim, your attorney will consider all various factors, which may include your medical bills, future medical treatments, lost income, loss of earning opportunities, pain and suffering, as well as any damage to your vehicle.
Potential insurance coverage will likewise factor into your settlement amount. Expect the insurance company of the food delivery business to settle your claim within their driver’s insurance coverage limits. This means that when the insurer finds out that your claim may exceed the driver’s limits, it will try its best to refute its client’s liability and the amount of damages you’re claiming.
It’s also important to note that California follows the pure comparative negligence standard, which means that you’re entitled to collect damages even if you may be at fault for an accident. For instance, if the court determines that you’re 30% at fault, you could still seek 70% of damages from the liable party. But the opposing party can also attempt to collect 30% of their damages from you. With an experienced attorney on your side, however, you can collect the most appropriate settlement amount that’s commensurate to all the losses you incurred due to the food delivery accident.
You cannot expect the liable party’s insurance company to play fair. You just can’t. You must understand that their profits are based on undervaluing or even denying settlement claims, so they will find ways to avoid paying out claims. This is why consulting an attorney with experience handling food delivery accidents is important. A competent attorney will know how to deal with unscrupulous insurance companies and negotiate a settlement amount that will be fair for everyone involved.
Never sign your name on anything that the insurance company gives you before an attorney has had the chance to examine it. A lot of times, accident victims sign documents or agree to statements only to find out later on that they’ve waived certain rights or have given statements that the insurance company can use to deny their claim. Don’t accept the insurer’s initial settlement because it will be lower than what your claim is actually worth. This is also a test to see if you will cave or stand your ground until you’re fairly compensated for your losses.
Here at The Ride App Attorneys, our San Diego food delivery accident attorneys regularly deal with insurance claims that arise from accidents involving food delivery companies and their drivers. Reach out to us online or call 866-641-0497 to arrange your free case evaluation today.
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!!!