Accidents Caused by Food Delivery Drivers are Ever-Increasing
Nowadays, convenience is a top priority for most. That said, food delivery services and their corresponding applications have reinvented the ways in which we order food, with many applications and services being operated with a click of a button without having to leave the comfort of your home. Typically, restaurants partner with these companies in order to provide their customers with food delivery services through a mobile app. Some of these services include Chicago-based Grubhub which was founded in 2004, Postmates, which was founded in 2011 and later purchased by Uber Eats, DoorDash which was founded in 2013, and Uber Eats, under their parent company Uber, soon followed and was established in 2014. Especially during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of these services spiked with many restaurants closing their doors for dining-in service and now, accidents caused by food delivery drivers are drastically increasing.
However, by increasing the number of drivers on the roads, there are risks carried when sharing the roads with these drivers, or even working as a driver yourself. The questions that arise are:
- What type of insurance coverage do these companies provide?
- What happens if you are in an accident with a food delivery driver?
- What happens if you are a food delivery driver and get into an accident?
Insurance Coverage Provided
When determining liability in an accident with a food delivery driver, it is important to note that most delivery drivers are considered independent contractors by the companies they work for. This means that the drivers are not classified employees under the law which allows the companies they work for to avoid liability when accidents occur. Thus, drivers are required to provide their own personal insurance.
While these companies often carry policies with $1,000,000 liability coverage, in Louisiana, La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 45:201.1 permits Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber, to reject the underinsured motorist coverage. Similarly, La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 45:201.7(A)(3) shifts the responsibility of acquiring UM coverage for ride-sharing activity under personal insurance policies to transportation network company drivers. This leaves many injury victims fighting for compensation for their injuries but stuck with minimal limits under a driver’s personal policy. Another issue that arises is that many insurance companies have the right and will deny payment for claims that arise out of accidents involving companies like Uber.
Portier LLC, a subsidiary of Uber, is the entity that provides car insurance to Uber Eats drivers. Uber Eats insurance operates under a similar scheme as Uber used for ridesharing which varies depending upon which step of the delivery process they are in at the time of the accident. The coverage is summarized below:
- Offline or the Driver app is off: Your personal insurance applies.
- From the moment delivery is accepted to the time the request is complete: Uber Eats provides $1 million of commercial auto liability insurance per incident.
- Between deliveries: Uber Eats provides a $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 liability insurance policy. This policy gives drivers $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per driver, $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $25,000 of property damage liability coverage. This coverage only applies if you do not have applicable coverage.
Thus, in Louisiana, this last category of coverage would not apply because Louisiana drivers are required to carry at least coverage of at least $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle, $30,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle, and $25,000 for property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle.
Shockingly, Grubhub does not provide auto insurance coverage to their drivers, but it does require their drivers to obtain personal auto insurance. This means that injury victims can only pursue a claim against the driver and the driver’s own insurance company, regardless of whether the driver accepted delivery or was in the middle of completing a delivery. There are simply no circumstances in which Grubhub provides any coverage.
Similar to Uber Eats, Postmates provides its drivers with insurance coverage from the time an order is accepted up until the delivery of the food to the customer. During this time, Postmates provides liability coverage including both coverages for bodily injury and property damage. However, the company does not provide coverage when the driver is online, waiting for a new order.
DoorDash provides auto insurance coverage to its drivers from the time the food is picked up to the moment the food is delivered to the customer. However, coverage is only provided if the driver and food are inside the vehicle at the time of the accident. Like Postmates, no coverage is provided during the time that the driver is waiting to accept a new order.
Accidents with Food Delivery Drivers
Sometimes, the first difficulty with an accident with a food delivery driver is identifying that they are working or making a delivery for one of these services. Some drivers make their capacity known with a sticker or emblem being placed in their windows. If not, it is important to contact an attorney to obtain this information following your accident. Your attorney will be able to request a disclosure from the driver or the company to determine the coverage at the time of the accident. Determining liability is not always a straightforward process, and it is vital that you have an attorney by your side to assist you in navigating this process.
If you are injured in a car accident involving Uber or another food delivery service, you will need to consult an accident attorney who has experience with these issues and can answer your questions regarding insurance coverage and compensation.
Accidents as a Food Delivery Driver
While working as a delivery driver can be lucrative especially following the COVID-19 pandemic’s spike in deliveries, there are a variety of risks assumed as a food delivery driver, including the risk of getting in an auto accident while on the job.
The following are steps a driver should take following an accident that occurs while completing a food delivery:
- First, be sure that you and any other drivers or pedestrians involved are okay. Call emergency services if you or another individual are severely injured.
- Second, call the police and report the accident. Louisiana law requires that the police be called following an accident when there is an injury to any person or damage to property over $500. Police will provide the drivers with an accident report and ticket any drivers they believe to be at fault. Police reports are pertinent to the work of a personal injury attorney.
- Third, collect any evidence or information from the other driver at the scene. Make sure to take photos especially in the area where the vehicles made contact. Also, be sure to collect any information from the other driver and any witnesses at the scene to build an accurate picture of how the accident happened. If the other driver is willing, collect their insurance information as well.
- Fourth, be sure to report the crash to the company you were working for at the time of the accident.
- Lastly, contact a personal injury attorney who can provide assistance in your case. Litigating with these large companies can be complex and exhausting, and it is very important to have the help of an attorney when doing so.
If you have suffered from an injury involving a food delivery service, contact our Louisiana personal injury attorneys today. We will review your case and determine if you have legal rights to file for monetary compensation. Let our experienced attorneys work for you. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.