Legal Guide

Dealing with Delivery App-Related Auto Accidents

Is there anything that signals we’re living in the future like food delivery apps? Whether you use DoorDash, Bite Squad, or Uber Eats, the sheer ability to order any food you want, to just about any location, has changed the way we think about takeout. These delivery apps certainly carried many of us through the lockdowns of 2020, both consumers and businesses alike.

However, when you’re enlisting a veritable army of contractors, all operating independently with almost no supervision, the potential for casualties is high. In the mad rush to rack up deliveries and collect tips, especially during evening dinner hours when the sun is down and the pay is slightly increased, not all drivers take the proper care. A relatively sparse vetting process, as well as low base pay that encourages drivers to complete as many deliveries as possible in a short amount of time, has led to instances of harmful negligence and, naturally, lawsuits. 

Just like with any accident claim in a commercial context, it’s a little more complicated to get your due after a delivery-related accident than it is after your typical auto collision. Not only are you dealing with an individual driver, but you’re dealing with their employer as well, and, as you may already know, the support relationship between Silicon Valley tech giants and their legions of contractors is not always well defined. 

That’s why the best thing to do if you’re involved in an auto accident with a delivery driver is to consult an attorney who specializes in auto accident claims -- particularly those involving commercial drivers. The right attorney will help you recover your medical expenses, lost wages, and repair costs, as well as help you achieve compensation for any distress caused.

How the Delivery Giants Deal with Accidents

All of the delivery app operators have protocols in place to handle accident claims, but there isn’t much uniformity among them. The dollar amount of coverage supplied in the event of accidents varies. However, most of these services require that their delivery drivers be insured on personal auto insurance policies before being hired.

If a driver is involved in an accident and causes damages beyond what their personal insurance policy can cover, Postmates and DoorDash provide $1 million in excess auto insurance to cover any property damage or bodily harm caused by their drivers during active deliveries. This refers to the period of time between when the driver accepts a delivery request and when the customer has been given their food.

Uber uses a tiered system of supplemental coverage which takes into account the delivery status of the contractor at the time of the accident. Naturally, accidents prior to the driver signing into UberEats are not covered by Uber. However, if the driver is signed into the app and is involved in an accident before even taking a delivery job, Uber will provide $50 thousand per person involved, as well as $25 thousand per instance of damaged property. $1 million in third party liability coverage is provided if the accident takes place during an active delivery.

It’s important to file claims as soon as possible, and that means you should always know who to call in case you’re involved in an accident with a commercially operated vehicle. The degree to which you can recover losses depends not only on the type and quality of legal representation you choose, but also on the speed with which you act. Consulting with a reputable personal injury attorney will be the first step to making sure that you are not at risk of being unfairly treated after a delivery app-related accident. 

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