Over the past few years, food delivery services have become popular, but with Virginia and the rest of the country dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, companies like Door Dash, Grub Hub, Postmates, and Uber Eats are not only providing a way for families to enjoy take out meals, they are also helping restaurants to stay in business. But what happens if a delivery driver for one of these services is involved in a car accident when they are out making a delivery? Who is liable for any injuries and the losses those injuries cause that a victim may suffer in the crash?
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to speak with one of our Virginia Beach injury attorneys to find out what legal options you may have. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of car accidents with food delivery services.
The majority of delivery service companies classify their delivery drivers as independent contractors. Under the law, independent contractors are not considered employees and absolve the companies of any responsibilities for the drivers. This could mean that if a victim is injured in a crash caused by a delivery driver, it is the driver’s insurance company that would cover the victim’s damages. The concern is if the driver has insurance and has not let it lapse.
Some of the companies do have limited insurance liability in place for their delivery drivers. And although the drivers are required to carry their own vehicle insurance, it may not be enough to cover damages in serious accidents. The other issue is that many personal vehicle insurance companies will not pay if the driver was in a crash while they were working. The following is an overview of what some of the nationally known food delivery companies will or will not cover in the event their drivers are involved in vehicle accidents.
Uber Eat offers collision and liability insurance to cover delivery drivers during the times the driver is picking up food and delivering that order. The policy will cover bodily injury and property damage. If the Uber Eats driver is involved in a crash while waiting online to accept an order, the insurance coverage is still there, however, the amount covered is less than if the driver was actively involved in a delivery.
As soon as a delivery driver accepts an order up to the time the order is delivered, Postmates provides their delivery drivers with liability coverage. This coverage includes bodily injury and property damage. The company does not provide any coverage if the driver was online waiting to accept an order when the crash occurs.
Door Dash’s liability insurance only begins covering the delivery driver once the driver picks up the food the customer has ordered, however, the food and the driver must be in the vehicle. The insurance does not cover any accidents that occur if the driver is on their way to pick up the food or if the driver is online waiting to accept an order.
Delivery drivers who provide service to Grub Hub customers are not provided with any insurance coverage by Grub Hub if they are involved in a crash. This is true even if the driver is in the middle of a delivery. Victims would only be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the delivery driver’s insurance company.
So to sum up the above, if you are in a car accident caused by a delivery driver, you will be covered by the company’s insurance policy if the driver was driving to the restaurant to pick up the food or delivering the food if the driver was working for Uber Eats, Postmates, or Door Dash. If the driver was online waiting to take an order from a customer when the crash occurs, then only Uber Eats or Postmates insurance policy will cover you. If the driver is working for Grub Hub, there is no company insurance coverage under any circumstances.
Keep in mind, however, that just because a company claims no liability, that does not mean that a Virginia car accident attorney cannot help. If a driver is not covered under the company’s policy when the accident occurs and if their policy is only a personal policy that excludes crashes that occur if the driver is working at the time, what options do victims have? Under the law, just because a company calls its driver an independent contractor, that doesn’t mean that classification is always the correct one. Your attorney can determine if there is a legal basis for the company to use this as a defense. Some of the factors the attorney will investigate include:
- Did the company do a complete driving record background check on the driver?
- Were there any past alcohol and/or drug issues by the driver that the company should have been aware of?
- Was there anything in the driver’s background that could indicate a potential risk to other drivers or pedestrians?
Delivery Driver Crash
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a delivery driver, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have. At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, we are dedicated to helping injured clients obtain the compensation they deserve for their medical bills, lost income, and other losses their injuries have caused. Call 800-752-0042for a free case evaluation.