Seattle Food Delivery Accident Attorneys
Convenience is an important commodity for consumers these days. Food delivery services, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats, have been gaining in popularity in recent years as a simple way to enjoy delicious meals without having to leave your home. But to support this demand, restaurants need fleets of delivery drivers working at all hours, but many are untrained and unprepared for the requirements of delivering food full-time. With so many food delivery vehicles on the road, accidents are bound to occur.
If you or someone you love was injured because of a reckless delivery driver, contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., to learn if you are eligible for compensation. Our legal team can review all available liability policies and accident reports to determine how you can pursue damages from a negligent driver. Reach out to a Seattle food delivery accident attorney at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 today to schedule a free consultation.
Unlike pizza delivery drivers or packaged handlers, most food delivery drivers are considered gig-workers, or third-party contractors who work on a temporary basis for a delivery company. As such, many of them are not considered employees by delivery companies, meaning that they do not share liability. For example, if you were hit by a driver for a maintenance company, he or she is likely a full-time or part-time employee. In this instance, so long as the driver was on-duty, you could file a claim against the maintenance company’s commercial auto insurance policy.
Gig-workers, on the other hand, are independent of their parent company and often have more control over how they do their job, including what deliveries they accept and when they work. This makes filing a claim more difficult, as gig-workers do not usually have the benefit of their parent company’s liability insurance policies. However, many food service companies have extended liability policies to cover drivers who drive negligently when in the middle of a delivery. To file a claim under such a policy, you will first need to prove that the driver was at-fault and that may vary depending on what caused the accident.
Like most delivery drivers, food service drivers for DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and other companies are often in a rush. Their pay is based on each delivery, so they will often accept multiple orders and zig-zag between restaurants and customers to receive bonuses and larger tips. This sense of urgency associated with their jobs may prompt them to take risks on the roadways. Common causes of accidents involving food delivery drivers include:
- Speeding: Like Uber and Lyft drivers, food delivery drivers get paid by each job. Consequently, they are in a hurry and may be tempted to exceed the speed limit.
- Distracted driving: Food delivery drivers work from their cell phones and are frequently checking apps or GPS while driving, which is a simple way to cause a distracted driving accident.
- Running red lights and stop signs: Because of the rush to arrive at their destinations, food delivery drivers may take dangerous risks or fail to observe a stop sign or red light.
- Driver fatigue: Grubhub, Postmates, Instacart, and other food delivery drivers may work long hours to earn an adequate income and drive late at night, leading to fatigue.
- Aggressive driving: Drivers who are on the road for long hours may become impatient with traffic delays and are more prone to engage in aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, unsafe lane changes, and violating the right-of-way for others sharing the streets or highways.
Most food delivery companies classify their drivers as independent contractors. Traditionally, this would mean that if a driver is not an employee, the company is not responsible for his or her actions. However, these same delivery companies tend to have some form of liability insurance that may apply to your accident and provide coverage in addition to the delivery driver’s personal policy.
DoorDash has a commercial auto insurance policy to cover up to $1 million in bodily injury and property damage to third parties caused by an accident that occurs while the driver is on an active delivery—in possession of the food to be delivered to the customer. This policy works in conjunction with the driver’s personal policy, meaning that if the driver’s policy is not enough to cover the costs of the accident, then DoorDash’s liability policy would come into play. However, this policy does not cover accidents that occur when the driver is on the way to pick up the food or online waiting for a delivery request. In those situations, the driver’s personal insurance or a commercial policy would apply, if he or she has one.
Postmates provides excess coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage if a driver is involved in an accident while on an active delivery for up to $1 million, similar to how DoorDash’s policy works.
Uber also maintains commercial auto insurance with $1 million in liability coverage per accident that functions in the same way as a rideshare accident. This coverage kicks in from the moment the driver accepts the delivery request and continues until the delivery is complete. Between deliveries, when an Uber Eats driver is available and waiting, Uber provides liability coverage for bodily injury of $50,000 per individual and $100,000 per accident, plus $25,000 for property damage.
Grubhub requires its drivers to carry their own insurance and does not provide any added protection.
Like Grubhub, Instacart does not have a liability policy in place. Accidents with Instacart drivers will require you to file a claim against the driver’s personal policy.
Convenience and rushing are not excuses for reckless driving. Delivery drivers are expected to follow all the same rules of the road as any other driver and, when their negligence contributes to an accident, accident victims are often eligible to file a claim based on their poor behavior.
With over 40 years of experience, the Seattle car accident attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., can thoroughly review all available liability policies and provide in-depth legal advice on how to move forward with a claim. If you have been hurt in a food delivery accident, call us at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 to discuss your case.
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