The COVID-19 pandemic utterly changed the landscape of the food delivery industry in the United States. As restaurants across the country closed their doors to in-house dining, the proliferation of food delivery drivers on the road illustrated the unanticipated spike in the food delivery business. Uber reported in 2020 that they had seen a tenfold increase in restaurants signing up to utilize the delivery services of Uber Eats. Other companies such as Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash, grocery delivery services like Instacart, and private restaurant delivery drivers became ubiquitous, and continue to operate in record numbers. The combined revenue of Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates between April and September of 2020 was more than twice what it was for the same period in 2019.
Food delivery drivers provide an essential service to countless people. Yet, a sharp increase in the number of delivery drivers in a short span of time has brought complications. As numbers grew, it quickly became evident that the rise in food deliveries was coupled with a rise in vehicular accident rates. To further complicate matters, the many people who found themselves unemployed and began using their personal vehicles to take jobs as delivery drivers did so largely without any training or experience, and even without adequate auto insurance, in many cases. When accidents occur under these conditions, achieving justice can pose a distinct challenge.
If you were involved in an automobile accident caused by a food delivery driver, it is important to speak with a competent car accident lawyer to understand your rights and duties in this unique situation.
How Do Accidents Happen?
There are a number of reasons vehicular crashes occur, and the following factors are some of the most common causes of car accidents of any type:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to follow the rules of the road
- Cell phone use
- Drug or alcohol use
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Aggression or road rage
- Failure to adjust to weather conditions
In addition to these issues, food delivery drivers may be prone to several other concerns or behaviors related to their work. In 2019 in the state of Kentucky, almost 50,000 collisions were reported with “driver inattention” as the cause of the accident. The following are risk factors specific to food delivery drivers who may frequently be involved in distracting activities behind the wheel:
- Looking for specific addresses
- Following a GPS or other directions
- Lack of professional driving experience
- Using the phone to communicate with customers or restaurants
- Noises of work-related updates and alerts
- Speeding to arrive on time
- Anxiety or pressure to complete orders on time without mistakes
- Driving on unfamiliar roads
- Driving at night
- Large packages moving inside the vehicle
- Fatigue due to long working hours without a break
- Emotional burden to get high reviews from customers to avoid being fired
- Driving during peak traffic hours
- Fear of the dangers of delivery driving, such as armed robbery, auto theft, or even murder
What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident with a Food Delivery Driver
If you were in an accident involving a food delivery driver, legal action can be a necessary step toward helping you recover your losses and receive compensation for the injuries your sustained. It can also help bring awareness to a dangerous situation and hold negligent parties accountable for the unsafe road conditions resulting from their harmful actions.
When you are involved in a crash that was not your fault, it is well within your right to seek compensation for damages. You should not have to bear the financial responsibility for an accident you did not cause. Speaking with your attorney immediately following the accident is the first step. Your lawyer will help you figure out the complicated issues of liability and insurance, so you are not left to decipher the legal matters on your own. When it comes to food delivery drivers, issues of liability and insurance can be even more difficult and complex than they usually are, for several reasons.
Unique Complications Related to Liability and Insurance
Individuals who work as delivery drivers are often categorized as independent contractors rather than employees. This serves to distance a company from the driver, protecting the company from liability. Consequently, in auto collisions involving delivery drivers who are independent contractors, it can be very difficult to prove responsibility on the part of the company. It is important to determine whether the driver who caused the wreck is an employee or an independent contractor, and how their employer handles insurance in regard to the amount of coverage they provide for drivers, if any.
This also means that most food delivery drivers are not protected by commercial accident insurance. Drivers are typically required to secure their own insurance policies. The driver will ideally obtain a policy which covers injuries and damages in the event of a crash, but not every driver does this. Some drivers have inadequate policies, have policies that do not cover the business use of their vehicle, or even have no policy at all. There may also be coverage gaps, depending on the driver’s personal insurance and the insurance provided by the company. It is the job of your lawyer to conduct a thorough investigation to accurately understand the entirety of the situation surrounding the driver’s insurance policy and employment status.
Whether the wreck was the result of negligence on the part of the company or the driver, your lawyer can help you prevent the dangerous circumstances from occurring again in the future.
We Can Help Keep Our Roads Safe for All of Us
We have a long history of fighting for the rights of our neighbors in the Richmond area. Safety in our community is important to us. If you’ve been in an accident involving a food delivery driver, we want to help. Our attorneys at Golden Law Office are prepared to review your claim and determine what course of action will best benefit you, your loved ones, and drivers who depend on safe roads. To learn more about how we can support you, contact us today.