Pizza Delivery Driver Accident Lawyers in Aurora, Colorado
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Pizza delivery is the most emblematic form of food delivery. Whether for an office gathering, a college party, or a movie night away from the kitchen, chances are most people have ordered a pizza for delivery at some point in their lives. However, with the introduction of smartphones, we have entered a brave new world of food delivery. Delivery services have proliferated and diversified in recent years, resulting in an increased number of delivery drivers on the road. Yet, one thing remains unchanged: more drivers equals more accidents. Our Aurora pizza delivery accident lawyers are here to help.
If you or a loved one was injured in a pizza delivery accident in Aurora, do not hesitate to speak with an Aurora personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with experienced Aurora pizza delivery accident lawyers.
FOOD delivery accidents — STATISTICS
Of course, pizza was already popular in the United States, but in recent years routine pizza consumption has become ubiquitous in large part due to pizza delivery. Who does not enjoy receiving a fresh pizza delivered to their door? However, the introduction of consumer-friendly apps and tech-enabled driver networks have quickly changed the way people acquire food. Today, food delivery options in urban settings are limited only by the number and kinds of restaurants willing to engage with delivery service providers.
Currently, the top provider of food delivery services in the United States is DoorDash. According to a study published by prominent consulting firm McKinsey & Company, as of May 2021, DoorDash prevailed over its competitors “in San Jose (with 77 percent of the market), Houston (56 percent), Philadelphia (51 percent), and San Antonio (51 percent).” However, their competition is gaining.
In an effort to tap into the food delivery market, in 2020 Uber purchased Postmates, a DoorDash rival. Since that acquisition, Uber has managed to overpower DoorDash in the two largest markets in the country. According to the same McKinsey study, as of May 2021, “Uber Eats and Postmates led the market in Los Angeles (50 percent) and New York City (41 percent).”
Notably, much of this growth and competition in the food delivery industry was fueled by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. As tens of thousands of restaurants were forced to close their doors, many went out of business. Those that survived largely relied on food delivery services to stay afloat.
As the pandemic recedes and patrons return to restaurant tables across the country, only time will tell what the impact will be on the food delivery industry. Though food delivery is likely less essential in absence of an economically debilitating pandemic, odds are the new developments are here to stay.
Currently, specific statistics on food delivery accidents are limited; that said, one measure of risk is the rate of accident-related fatalities among delivery drivers themselves. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “driver/sales” workers held about 458,200 jobs in 2020. Nearly half of these (46 percent) were held by workers in “restaurants and other eating places.”
In 2018, the BLS further reported a total of 5,250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States. In that year, “transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event at 2,080, accounting for 40 percent of all work-related fatalities.” Two years later in 2020, the BLS reported 4,764 fatal occupational injuries nationally.
Though total deaths went down since 2018, transportation incidents still led the pack. Transportation-related accidents in 2020 resulted in 1,778 fatal injuries, accounting for 37.3 percent of all work-related fatalities. Again, statistics charting the risk associated with food delivery services are sparse.
Further, because of ongoing changes in the food delivery market due to the initial onset and eventual subsidence of the Covid-19 pandemic, any available statistics are likely to evolve. However, one thing remains certain: the more drivers on the road, the more likely it is that an accident will occur. Food delivery drivers are not excepted from this reality.
Read more: McKinsey & Company, Ordering In: The Rapid Evolution of Food Delivery
ARE FOOD DELIVERY DRIVERS INSURED?
Most food delivery services require their drivers to have at least personal auto insurance. However, most personal auto insurance policies include a “commercial use” exclusion clause. Auto insurance policies typically make it clear that the insurance company will not provide liability coverage for any insured who maintains or uses any vehicle while employed or “otherwise engaged in any ‘business,’ defined as any trade, profession, or occupation.”
Food delivery likely falls within this exclusion, and an accident victim in Aurora who is seeking compensation from the pizza delivery driver’s insurance may be forced to turn elsewhere. Where might they turn?
Traditional brick-and-mortar pizza shops generally have commercial business insurance policies. These are more sophisticated forms of insurance that may provide coverage for accidents caused by employees. However, insurance-policy language can vary widely; even slight nuances may have a large impact on your case. In the event of a dispute, Aurora auto-accident victims seeking coverage are advised to consult with a personal injury attorney.
DoorDash, the largest food delivery company in the United States, requires that its drivers maintain up-to-date personal auto insurance. The company also provides insurance up to $1 million in bodily injury and property damage for accidents caused by its drivers. However, because DoorDash’s coverage is an “excess” policy, it only applies once the driver’s personal insurance coverage has been exhausted or denied.
There is a second caveat. For coverage to apply, the delivery driver must be liable for damages or injuries to another party while on an “active” delivery. What is an active delivery? DoorDash considers delivery drivers to be on active delivery from the time they accept a delivery request until the time the customer receives their order, or the order is canceled. If the driver is online but has not yet accepted a delivery request, their personal insurance is the policy that will apply.
Read more: DoorDash Dasher Support, Does DoorDash Have Auto Insurance?
Grubhub is another popular food delivery service. Like other such services, individuals must meet certain minimum requirements before working as a Grubhub driver. Among these requirements is auto insurance; however, as has been explained, most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage for commercial use of vehicles.
Unlike many other major food delivery services, Grubhub does not insure its delivery drivers beyond the driver’s personal auto insurance. Therefore, in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured Grubhub driver, both the delivery driver and any accident victims are left high and dry. Our Aurora injury attorneys can help you understand your other options if you find yourself in this situation.
Read more: Grubhub, What are the Requirements for Partnering With Grubhub?
Uber is most famous for its ridesharing service, but the company has also made inroads in the food delivery market. Like other food delivery companies, Uber requires that its drivers maintain auto liability insurance. Specifically, the insurance must have “limits equal to or greater than the minimum requirements for the state where you drive.”
However, if a driver’s personal auto insurance does not provide sufficient coverage, Uber’s company insurance policy kicks in. This coverage applies only in specific circumstances, though. As Uber explains, “coverage starts the instant [a driver] taps ‘go’ on the uber app to wait for a ride request.”
From the time an UberEATS driver is online with Uber until the time they accept a trip, Uber maintains automobile liability coverage on your behalf in amounts of at least:
- $50,000 for the driver’s liability for bodily injury per person of a covered accident;
- $100,000 per covered accident; and
- $25,000 for property damage for which the driver is responsible in a covered accident.
Additionally, while a driver is en route to pick up a delivery and during a trip to deliver an order, Uber provides additional third-party liability coverage. This insures bodily injuries or damages caused to people in other vehicles, pedestrians, or property. Coverage limits in these circumstances vary by state but are at least $1,000,000.
Read more: Uber, Driving & Delivering Insurance
LEGAL ROUTE TO RECOVERY
Ultimately, food delivery accident victims may struggle to recover full compensation through insurance. In these circumstances, victims may be forced to file a civil case. If you were involved in a pizza delivery accident in Aurora, our Aurora injury lawyers can help.
Next we’ll briefly cover two legal concepts that are likely to arise in your case.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is the baseline cause of action brought in most personal injury cases. To successfully argue a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove four elements. If any of the following elements is missing, the claim fails.
- Duty: the obligation to protect others from unreasonable risk of injury
- Breach: the failure to meet that obligation
- Causation: a close causal connection between the action and the injury
- Damages: the loss suffered
The first element—duty—is sometimes referred to as a “duty to use reasonable care.” In an auto accident context, this simply refers to each driver’s duty to drive safely in order to minimize risk of injury to others. This is straightforward.
In delivery accident cases, one of the more complex issues may be answering the question, “Whose duty?” Are we referring to the delivery driver’s duty to drive safely? Or are we referring to the pizza restaurant’s duty to make sure they hired competent drivers?
The answer may be, “Both.” This depends largely on the facts of the case and the governing law in your jurisdiction.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability is invoked less commonly than negligence, but the concept may be pivotal to a plaintiff’s case in accidents involving food delivery drivers. Vicarious liability refers to liability of one party for the harmful actions of another party. Therefore, in the event a pizza delivery driver is underinsured and cannot fully compensate you for the harm they caused, vicarious liability may allow you to seek compensation from the pizza restaurant.
Like negligence, the application of vicarious liability to your case depends largely on the facts of the case and the law of the governing jurisdiction. However, some aspects are consistent across jurisdictions. Most importantly, defending restaurants may only be held vicariously liable for the harmful actions of their employees and not of their independent contractors.
In determining vicarious liability, courts consider whether the driver was operating in the “course and scope of their employment” and how much control the alleged employer had over the driver’s means of delivery. For example, many jurisdictions do not consider an employee commuting to and from work to be operating in the course and scope of their employment (this is known as the “going-and-coming” rule). On the other hand, if a restaurant provides a delivery driver with a business-owned vehicle, then the employer arguably had a great deal of control over the means of delivery.
Many rideshare and food delivery companies attempt to weigh this factor very heavily. For the past decade, companies like Uber have waged a vigorous campaign to ensure that their drivers are classified as contractors and not as employees. They do so, in part, by arguing that their drivers use their own vehicles and, therefore, the parent company cannot be vicariously liable due to lack of control; the governing law remains largely in flux across the country.
Whether arguing negligence or vicarious liability, you will need assistance from a personal injury attorney. Our Aurora injury lawyers are here to help. Call Zinda Law Group today for a 100% free case evaluation.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
At the end of the day, food delivery accident victims should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure best results in their search for maximum compensation. The Aurora injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group are ready to help. Meanwhile, victims can take a proactive approach in their case by being familiar with the governing statute of limitations. This is perhaps the simplest and yet most consequential aspect of any personal injury case.
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline after which you may no longer bring your case. The statute of limitations in Colorado is set at two years. In other words, if you do not file a case seeking compensation within two years after the date of your accident, the window has closed.
In nearly all cases, the statute of limitations acts as an absolute bar. Therefore, do not hesitate to bring your case to an attorney as soon as possible. Not only will this ensure that you do not miss the two-year deadline, but it will also give your attorney maximum time to evaluate your facts, gather evidence, investigate the law, and strategize a path toward compensation.
Read more: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102, Statute of Limitations
OUR Aurora pizza delivery accident lawyers CAN HELP
When contemplating food delivery services, auto accidents may not immediately come to mind. However, the more delivery drivers there are on the road, the greater the likelihood that an accident will occur. When these accidents do occur, Colorado victims are often caught off guard.
At Zinda Law Group, we believe that personal injury victims—regardless of the circumstances of their accident—should never lack excellent legal representation. Our Aurora personal injury lawyers are here to help on your path toward maximum compensation.
If you or a loved one was injured by a food delivery service, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with one of our Aurora pizza delivery accident lawyers. Our clients pay nothing unless we win their case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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