Having prepared foods delivered right to your door has become increasingly popular, and food delivery vehicles are everywhere. More delivery vehicles on the road can equal more accidents. If you are injured in an accident involving a food delivery driver, it’s important to seek legal assistance. Contacting an experienced delivery driver accident lawyer in California can make the claims process conclude much more smoothly.
At GJEL Accident Attorneys, our personal injury team has more than 50 years of combined experience handling all types of accidents throughout Northern California. We understand how insurance claims work with the various delivery companies and their insurance policies. Our top priority is to protect your rights and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Whether you are the delivery person or you were injured by an Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash, or pizza delivery driver, our California delivery driver accident attorneys are here to help.
What Makes a Delivery Driver Accident Unique?
Delivery driver accidents are unique because of all the variables involved. The individual circumstances of the accident typically dictate whose policy is primary. For example, if an Uber Eats driver hits you, Uber may or may not be responsible. If the driver was on a food delivery call at the time, then Uber’s liability policy would most likely be primary. However, if the driver had just finished a delivery, the Uber policy probably won’t apply. It all depends on whether the driver had accepted another delivery, was still in between calls, was headed home, etc. Most food delivery companies’ insurance policies apply only to third-party liability claims. Third-party liability accidents involve claims where the delivery driver was negligent and caused a collision with another independent party. That means a food delivery driver cannot make an injury claim against the company as that would be considered a first-party claim. Each company has its own unique delivery driver insurance policy. Delivery companies all handle their own claims processes differently as well. Your accident involving a Postmates driver may have a completely different outcome than one involving a pizza delivery driver. Drivers who work as independent contractors for these food delivery companies must have their own insurance coverage. The regular auto policy that you have on your family car won’t cover someone who is using their vehicle for deliveries. These drivers must carry the correct personal insurance coverage because the delivery companies’ policies are not always responsible.
Delivery Drivers Insurance Coverage
The potential insurance coverage for delivery drivers will vary based on which company the at-fault party was driving for. In most cases, the food delivery company’s policy will provide excess coverage only. What this means is that the delivery driver’s insurance would be the first to pay out your claim. If your claim value exceeds the driver’s limits, then the delivery company’s policy would provide additional coverage.
Requirements on car insurance for pizza delivery drivers may be different than what DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats policies offer.
DoorDash Insurance Coverage
DoorDash requires that all drivers have their own valid auto insurance policies. If the driver does not, then the DoorDash insurance coverage may not apply in the accident. The DoorDash agreement with drivers says that the driver’s insurance policy is primary.
If your bodily injury and/or property damage exceeds the driver’s insurance limits, then the DoorDash policy may cover the excess. However, the excess policy will only kick in for accidents where the delivery driver was on an active delivery. DoorDash defines an active delivery as one where the driver has goods in their vehicle to be delivered.
DoorDash’s liability policy is up to one million dollars in coverage.
Postmates Insurance Coverage
Postmates and DoorDash have similar coverage. The driver must be on an active delivery for the policy to be in effect. Postmates insurance coverage is up to one million dollars as an excess policy for third-party liability claims. It will kick in only once the Postmates driver has exhausted the limits of their own auto insurance policy.
Postmates expects all drivers to maintain their own insurance and be responsible for all costs incurred while making deliveries. There is no coverage for drivers while waiting for Postmates to assign a delivery to them. Once the delivery is complete, there is no coverage until another one is assigned.
For Postmates drivers, there is now an Occupational Accident Insurance benefit that covers some medical expenses and disability benefits in an accident. Drivers may be eligible for coverage for their injuries through Postmates if an accident occurs anytime from clicking accept until the food is delivered.
Uber Eats Insurance Coverage
Uber Eats insurance coverage differs slightly from DoorDash and Postmates. If the delivery driver shows available on their app, but has not started a delivery, Uber Eats will offer some liability coverage. The limits are $50,000 per individual and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury and up to $25,000 for property damage. If the Uber Eats driver is on an active delivery, liability coverage will increase to one million dollars. Uber Eats defines an active delivery as accepting a request and being on the way to pick up the food or being on the way to deliver it.
Pizza Delivery Auto Insurance
Pizza delivery auto insurance is the most complex of food delivery options. Not all delivery drivers are independent contractors. Some may be employees of the pizza company. They may or may not be driving their own vehicle too.
If the delivery driver is an employee of the pizza parlor, then you may be able to present a claim directly against them. This option is through a legal theory known as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability says that employers are responsible for their employees’ negligence, provided it occurs while in the course and scope of their employment. However, most pizza delivery drivers are independent contractors rather than employees.
As a pizza delivery driver, it’s pretty typical that you’re expected to carry your own coverage. A Domino’s Pizza delivery driver insurance policy should have high liability limits. A pizza delivery driver should carry as much as they can afford. The biggest problem with both Domino’s and Pizza Hut delivery driver insurance policies is that companies often deny claims. The denials are due to drivers obtaining the wrong policy type.
One of the most basic underwriting questions is whether the insured is using the vehicle to conduct business. If someone is delivering pizzas in their personal car, they likely need a commercial auto policy. If a pizza delivery driver’s policy is deemed invalid, it means the driver could be personally exposed for the amount of the lawsuit.
Most pizza companies charge a delivery fee, so insurance companies will often deny claims presented under personal auto policies based on a deliver-for-fee exclusion. This could leave you with seemingly no option for recovery in an accident claim.
Many pizza delivery drivers in California are younger adults. They may not be familiar with the deliver-for-fee exclusion in personal auto policies. They are working hard, and a majority of their pay goes toward their insurance coverage. Since they likely do not have a lot of personal assets and financial resources, trying to collect against them for your injuries may be futile.
If you have your own uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, then you can present a first-party claim to your insurance company for damages. Our California delivery driver lawyers can help with these types of claims as well.
If I Was Hit by a Delivery Driver, What Should I Do?
In the event you are seriously injured by a delivery driver, the first thing you need to do is call 911 and report the accident. When the police arrive, you want to provide them with accurate details for their report. The police report can be an important part of any auto accident claims investigation.
If you are able, make sure you get all of the necessary information about the driver at the scene. This includes contact information, both insurance policies, what delivery company they were working for, etc.
Get the contact information for any witnesses who were at the scene as well. Sometimes, witnesses have to leave before the police arrive because they have other things to attend. They may also assume there are other witnesses so that they won’t be needed. Down the line, the original witnesses may no longer be available or they may not remember the details. Preserving all favorable witness statements from the start can be important when determining liability.
In the event you aren’t taken to the hospital directly from the accident scene, you need to see a doctor to get checked out. Some injuries are not visible to the naked eye. You could have internal bleeding or organ damage. Seeking medical treatment soon after your accident is important. If you wait weeks to see a doctor, the other party’s insurance company and/or the delivery company will use it against you. They may allege that your injuries are not related to the accident at all.
After you seek medical treatment, your next step should be to contact a California delivery driver accident lawyer. Accidents involving delivery drivers are complicated. You need an attorney who has experience representing clients in claims involving food delivery drivers.
If I Was Hit While Making a Delivery, What Should I Do?
Not all accidents involving a food delivery driver are caused by the delivery driver. It’s not uncommon for food delivery people to be struck by other negligent parties. The actions you should take if you’re the delivery driver are pretty much the same as if you were hit while not making a food delivery.
Even if you’re in a car accident while delivering pizza, you must contact the police and make sure your injuries are attended to. If it’s a serious accident, then you should call 911 for emergency medical response. Seeking medical treatment right away is just as important if you’re the delivery driver. As previously mentioned, waiting weeks to see a doctor will not help your claim in any way.
Once you are stable, your next call should be to GJEL Accident Attorneys. Because we have a lot of experience handling these types of claims, we also know how best to represent you. We will help you pursue a claim against the at-fault party. This type of claim can involve a lengthy negotiation process.
You also need to let the delivery company know that you were involved in an accident, even if you feel you were not at fault. While there is typically no first-party coverage available to you as the delivery driver, the company should be put on notice. Giving notice is especially important in cases where liability is disputed. If your auto insurance limits may not be enough to cover the other side’s injuries and they win on liability, the delivery company may be exposed to legal action.
Settlement Value of a Delivery Driver Accident
Your case’s settlement value will be different than any other case. That means it’s impossible to provide an average settlement amount without looking at the individual facts of your case. When you retain GJEL Accident Attorneys, we will provide you with a potential settlement value that is based on your specific circumstances.
To reach a potential settlement value, we look at all of the variables in your case. These include factors like your current medical expenses, loss of earnings, future medical costs, loss of earning capacity, physical damage to your vehicle, and pain and suffering.
Potential insurance coverage also factors in your possible settlement amount. Insurance companies for delivery companies will push to have your case resolved within the limits of the driver’s policy. This means that if your case is on the cusp of going into the excess policy coverage, the food delivery company will be fighting back on liability, the amount of your damages, or both.
California is a pure comparative negligence state. What this means is that you can collect for a portion of your damages even if you are the majority at fault. For example, if a jury determines you are 80% at fault for the accident, then you can still collect 20% of your damages from the other party. However, this also means that the other side can come after you for 80% of their damages. That is why we recommend having an experienced California delivery driver attorney represent you.If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, don’t attempt to handle the claim on your own. Let our experienced team of California car accident attorneys assist. Our top priority is to make sure the negligent party is held responsible, whether it’s the delivery driver or the other vehicle operator. Contact GJEL Accident Attorneys today at 866-254-5579 to schedule an initial consultation.