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When it comes to food, pizza is a universal crowd pleaser. In just the United States, we eat 100 acres of pizza every day. Delivery makes pizza all the more accessible and convenient. Even if you do not have a frozen pizza on hand, you can always dial up your local pizzeria to keep your guests fed or tuck into a movie night.
But what does fresh, fast pizza delivery mean for drivers on the road? While customers love the speedy delivery services of pizzerias for the reasons mentioned above, other drivers on the road could fall victim to negligent driving and car crashes.
If have been in an accident with a pizza delivery driver, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for your free consultation.
When did PIZZA DELIVERY DRIVER ACCIDENTs start?
Pizza deliveries popularized after soldiers returned from Italy to the United States after WWII. Then, pizzerias began advertising pizzas on their television menus as take- home options and later began delivering the much sought-after pies. A little later, Domino’s began advertising its thirty-minute guarantee that it would create and deliver your pizza within thirty minutes of your order or the pizza would be free. Domino’s adjusted that guarantee after customers took advantage of it (making their homes difficult to find by turning off their porch lights, refusing to open their doors, etc.) so that customers would receive a $3 discount if the delivery did not meet the thirty-minute deadline.
Domino’s guarantee perpetuated a culture of speedy pizza deliveries that persists today. One of the most notable consequences of the guarantee occurred in 1989 when a Domino’s pizza delivery driver crashed into and severely injured Jean Kinder, a regular motorist. In 1993, Kinder received three quarters of a million dollars for her actual injuries and an additional $78 million to punish Domino’s for its unsafe guarantee.
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What causes a pizza delivery driver accident?
There are certain stereotypes about the awkward teenaged pizza delivery boy that are often depicted in the media, but they are largely outdated since most pizza delivery drivers are middle-aged. However, there are still young people with little driving experience who pick up pizza delivery jobs as a way to make some extra money, perhaps after high school classes or during college. This means there are more inexperienced drivers on the road who might not know how to adjust for various weather conditions or follow all of the rules of the road while experiencing the time pressure of the delivery.
Age is not the only thing that can affect a driver’s propensity to crash. The following causes of pizza delivery crashes do not excuse the negligence of the pizza drivers, but they do help us understand the reasons the accidents occur:
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To start, fatigued driving plagues many driving jobs across the United States. The CDC compares drowsy driving to drunk driving, even drawing parallels between the number of hours the driver has been awake with a drunk driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Staying awake for at least 18 hours is the equivalent of a 0.05% BAC and staying awake for at least 24 hours is the equivalent of a 0.10% BAC. The legal limit for driving in all states is a BAC of 0.08%.
Many times, people order pizza late at night when other options like the store or a restaurant have closed for the day. Depending on when the driver began his or her day, it might be difficult for him or her to stay awake or focus if he or she is working a night shift.
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Precedent of Quick Deliveries
Domino’s thirty-minute guarantee set the precedent for quick deliveries that was deemed by courts too dangerous to continue. Even without the guarantee hanging over them, drivers still take shortcuts to arrive at customers’ doorsteps faster because they feel pressure to do so and because they want to get a better tip. If the victim of a pizza delivery accident can prove that the pizzeria encouraged unsafe driving to get the pizza delivered faster, then the victim likely has a claim against the pizzeria.
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Driving in Unfamiliar Areas
Some apartments do not have a lobby or natural place to leave packages. Additionally, some houses are at the end of private roads with driveways that extend for half a mile. If a driver is unfamiliar with the area in which he or she delivers a pizza or is distracted or confused by making sure that he or she is in the correct spot, it could increase the chances of that driver getting in a wreck.
A driver in an unfamiliar place might make more mistakes than someone who knows where he or she is going. For example, a delivery driver in an unfamiliar place might go the wrong way down a one-way street. Plus, depending on the driver, a driver who drives in familiar territory might get overconfident and travel at an unsafe speed.
Spending More Time on the Road
Truck drivers are more likely than the average driver to be involved in an accident simply because they spend so many hours driving. A similar premise applies to other driving jobs, including pizza delivery drivers. The more time a driver spends on the road, the more likely he or she is to be involved in a crash.
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Who is liable when an accident includes a delivery driver?
Often it is difficult to determine who is liable when an accident includes a delivery driver. The answer could depend on the policies of the pizzeria and the actions and reactions of the other drivers involved. The question of fault is up to a jury when a case goes to trial, but attorneys can use an educated guess about how a jury would respond based on the evidence offered by both parties. If the facts and evidence are favorable to your case, then you can work with a personal injury lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement.
The parties that the victim of a pizza delivery accident might wish to sue include the pizza delivery driver and the delivery driver’s employer, the pizzeria. However, even if you think that the accident is clearly the driver’s fault and not the pizzeria’s, the pizzeria might still have to take responsibility for the accident.
Read More: How long can I wait after a car accident to find a lawyer?
When the Pizza Delivery Driver Is Liable
If you’ve been hurt in an accident with a pizza delivery driver, your injury attorney may explain a concept called vicarious liability. You might infer from the name that it involves someone stepping into the shoes of another person, like when someone lives vicariously through someone else. In vicarious liability, a supervisor takes legal responsibility for the torts, or negligent actions, committed by a subordinate, meaning that an employer must be liable for the negligent actions of an employee.
When is the employer vicariously liable for an employee? The employee must be working for the employer at the time the tort was committed. If the employee was driving on his way to his girlfriend’s house before delivering the pizza, then he was involved in a frolic, not furthering the interests of the employer, so the employer is not vicariously liable for the employee. In that case, the victim of the accident may not be able to sue the pizzeria employer—though the victim probably could and should make a claim against the delivery driver.
If the driver made a policy-approved detour by grabbing lunch in between deliveries, then the employer might be vicariously liable if the employee gets in a crash. In that case, the victim would be wise to make a claim against the pizzeria employer in addition to the delivery driver. The employer’s explicit expectations of employees and the culture of the workplace could affect whether the employee was on an employer-approved detour or a personal frolic.
When the Pizzeria Is Liable
As we already mentioned, there are situations in which the pizzeria is vicariously liable, but there are also situations in which the pizzeria can be negligent in its own right. We discussed the ways in which drivers might feel compelled to drive faster to meet customer expectations and get bigger tips. If the pizzeria employer does anything to actively perpetuate employees’ speeding or breaking other safety laws, it could be negligent. The company might even incentivize speeding by making employees dependent on tips because earn a very small hourly wage.
Additionally, a pizza company might conduct negligent hiring practices. A pizzeria that does not ensure its employees are qualified to drive before sending them on the road with a carload of pizzas is likely negligent. We will discuss the industry standards for hiring by looking at the requirements for delivery driver applicants set out by some of the most popular pizza chains in the next section.
Finally, the pizzeria can negligently train its employees. If a store is short-staffed, it might rush through an employee’s training in order to increase profits. The employee may have received poor supervision during the training or may have been trained by someone who was hired just a few days before him or her. In those instances, the pizzeria will have likely been negligent.
Requirements to become delivery driver for domino’s and papa john’s
The first step to becoming a pizza delivery driver is to apply for the job. At this stage, pizzerias outline basic qualifications for a delivery driving position. We have discussed the ways in which pizzerias might be liable for the accident, and one of those ways was at the hiring stage. If a pizzeria does not have some of these basic requirements, it may have negligently hired the employee that caused the accident.
If you want someone to help you get an idea of what the industry standard for hiring delivery driver applicants, or if you want to look into the hiring practice of the employer of the delivery driver in your case, talk to a College Station personal injury lawyer.
Domino’s Requirements for Pizza Delivery Drivers
Domino’s at College Station requires that anyone who applies for the job of pizza delivery driver meet the following standards:
- Have two years of driving experience if 18 years old
- Have one year of driving experience if 19 years old
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a safe driving record
- Have a dependable vehicle that can be used for delivery
- Have proof of insurance on that vehicle
- Be able to read a map
- Be able to locate the address
- Interact with Domino’s Pizza customer’s face to face.
Papa John’s Requirements for Pizza Delivery Drivers
Papa John’s does not have exactly the same requirements that are listed on Domino’s application screen, but in practice, they are very similar. Papa John’s requires its pizza delivery driver applicants to:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Have insurance
- Have an acceptable driving record.
There are also stages of the hiring process even after the initial application stage during which the employer might have additional standards for potential pizza delivery drivers. The employer might look for that additional information during an interview or training.
Our Zinda law group College Station Pizza Delivery Accident lawyers are ready to HELP YOU
When you work with Zinda Law Group attorneys, you can have confidence that the advocates working for you are compassionate and experienced in this area of the law. An attorney knows how to get you the compensation you deserve in the form of economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages compensate you for the calculable expenses you incurred, like your medical bills and missed wages from time off of work. Non-economic damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you experienced when you were injured at the scene of the accident and as you worked to heal your injuries.
A caring personal injury attorney can lift some of the weight off your shoulders when it comes to overseeing your case and its outcome. When you work with Zinda Law Group, you start with a free consultation, where an attorney will evaluate your claim and let you know your likelihood of recovery. If you ultimately choose to move forward with us, you can also benefit from our No Win, No Fee Guarantee so that you do not pay us anything unless we win your case. Call us at (800) 863-5312 today if you were in an accident with a pizza delivery driver to speak with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO
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