With the coronavirus pandemic keeping everyone at home, food delivery services are going stronger than ever. In fact, the pandemic has more than doubled food delivery apps’ business. Now the question is what comes next.
Between changing traffic patterns and greater demand for delivery, the result for many people is more accidents. That opens a whole new can of worms—namely, who’s liable for the accident.
Here’s what you need to know before you file a lawsuit.
How Insurance Companies Cover Food Delivery
The trick about food delivery accidents is that they’re not like regular car accidents.
In a regular accident, you’re dealing with yourself, the other party, and the insurance companies. In a delivery accident, the driver has to carry their own insurance. The problem is that as a delivery driver, they’re a gig worker, which means their personal policy often does not apply. Instead, they have to carry commercial liability insurance.
Then there’s the company they work for, which introduces another layer of liability. Food delivery services do provide liability coverage in the event that their driver was at fault for the accident, but the policy varies between companies. These are tucked in the long terms and conditions agreements that no one reads.
So if you’re dealing with food delivery liability, you have to know the coverage under the company you used.
UberEats uses the same liability policy as the standard Uber policy.
Under this policy, each vehicle is protected by coverage up to $50,000 for personal injuries, $100,000 for accidents, and $25,000 for property damage. This only applies when the driver is on the app but hasn’t picked up an order yet. Once they pick up an order, the total liability coverage jumps to $1 million.
However, keep in mind that the maximums vary by state, and coverage may be reduced if the driver was not at fault.
UberEats is also more generous than most in that it provides uninsured motorist protection. However, this only covers damage to the driver’s own vehicle if the driver was not at fault AND if the other party is not insured.
DoorDash is less comprehensive than UberEats. The company classifies its drivers as independent contractors (legalese for gig workers). This means that they are not recognized as company employees under the law, which means the company cannot be held liable for accidents their drivers cause.
Instead, the driver must rely on their own personal insurance policy to pay out in the event of an accident. DoorDash does have third-party liability coverage, but this only kicks in if the driver hits the upper limit of their own policy.
SkipTheDishes and GrubHub
If you order from SkipTheDishes or GrubHub, we have bad news: neither company carries liability insurance for its drivers. Because of this, your claim will not go to the company at all, but rather to the insurance company of the delivery driver.
And if the driver neglected to inform their insurance company that they’re making food deliveries, the insurance company won’t cover the accident at all. Instead, the driver has to pay out of pocket, which will significantly reduce your final amount.
Who is Liable in a Food Delivery Accident?
This brings us back to one central question: who is liable in a food delivery accident?
Like many states, Louisiana does not consider independent contractors to be employees. Since most food delivery companies classify their drivers as independent contractors, it can be quite difficult to hold the delivery company accountable. This usually means that your insurance claim will be with the driver’s own insurance company.
Here’s the catch: many personal auto insurance policies will refuse to cover an accident that occurred while the driver was working on the argument that it would be covered under commercial insurance, not personal insurance. This is why it’s important to know the liability policy of the company, because this is the point where the company’s liability policy picks up the slack.
If you can establish that the policy applies, that is. And how much it applies.
In short? Liability in a food delivery accident is a mess of case-specific details. You may be dealing with multiple insurance companies, all refusing to pay, all arguing over who covers what, and all agreeing that none of them should have to pay you anything.
The Basics of a Food Delivery Claim
Don’t let that deter you from filing a claim or a lawsuit, though. It is still possible to recover the compensation you are owed after a food delivery accident, especially if the driver was at fault.
In a food delivery accident claim, it’s critical to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side, specifically an attorney with extensive experience in rideshare accidents. They know how to navigate the maze of liability and ensure that your case is decided with your best interests in mind.
Need Help Navigating Insurance Claims with a Food Delivery Company?
That’s where we can help.
Our firm has years of experience as dedicated trial attorneys with a record of success in the courtroom. When you work with us, you get an expert attorney who listens to every detail of your case, thoroughly reviews your case for a pragmatic assessment, and does not quit until they get the best possible outcome for you and your family. When you contact us, you can count on us.
If you’ve been involved in a food delivery accident and need to speak with an attorney about your options, schedule your free consultation today.