Pizza Delivery Driver Accident Lawyers in Denver, Colorado

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You might remember Domino’s famed 30-minutes-or-less guarantee. If your pizza did not arrive within half an hour, you got it for free—or, in later years, at a discount. Even though this guarantee is a thing of the past, Denver pizza delivery accident lawyers are still busy with cases of reckless delivery drivers who failed to take the appropriate care while carrying out their jobs.

This article will look at the requirements that employers place upon pizza delivery drivers, which can help determine the appropriate amount of care that the driver should have taken to avoid the crash. We will also explore how an attorney can help you.

If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident with a pizza delivery driver, call a Zinda Law Group lawyer at (800) 863-5312 for your free consultation today.

When Domino’s could not avoid the Noid

We already briefly mentioned Domino’s guarantee that went awry; Domino’s implemented the guarantee in 1984 as a promotion. The pizza company kept a budget for lawsuits from the wrecks its pizza delivery drivers caused. A whole character and culture grew out of that promise of fast pizza delivered to your doorstep: “The Noid” appeared in commercials and even a video game as a villain who would try to stop Domino’s delivery drivers from reaching their destination on time, and countless American movies and television shows referenced the guarantee.

In 1989, Jean Kinder was driving her vehicle in Missouri when she was struck and seriously injured by a Domino’s pizza delivery driver. Her case went to trial, and the jury awarded her $750,000 for the actual injuries she received from the crash and another $78 million to penalize Domino’s for its dangerous policy. The jury found that the guarantee pressured pizza delivery drivers to meet the popular 30-minute deadline at the expense of other drivers on the road; the strict fine on Domino’s encouraged it to bring the guarantee to an end and potentially avoid more cases of negligent pizza delivery drivers.

Today, delivery services are discouraged from making guarantees like the one Domino’s used to make. However, this does not stop the common understanding between delivery drivers and customers that fast service means a bigger tip. Even if not pressured by their employers, some food delivery drivers still intrinsically feel the pressure to prioritize taking a short amount of time to reach the destination over taking precautions to drive safely.

Requirements of pizza delivery drivers

A quick examination of the requirements that pizza companies place on incoming delivery drivers can help us understand the standards and expectations that are placed on the drivers and whether they met those standards when they crashed into you.

Note that under both of the samples we have drawn, there are no extra requirements of drivers than would be expected of the average driver on the road at the application stage. Employers have their own interviewing and training processes that applicants must complete after the application stage.

Papa John’s Requirements for Drivers

Papa John’s only has a few preliminary requirements of prospective pizza delivery drivers. It simply requires that the applicant:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Have insurance
  • Have an acceptable driving record

This is just the first stage of the hiring process, so there are additional checks on drivers at the interviewing and training stages. These should also meet industry standards, and if an employer fails to take further precautions to prevent foreseeable harm at later stages of the hiring process, the employer might be negligent. We will discuss the standard of care that employers and employees must perform in more depth in the following sections.

Domino’s Requirements for Drivers

Domino’s lists a few more requirements that Papa John’s does on its hiring website, but one could argue that those extra requirements are implied for an applicant who wants to be a delivery driver. Domino’s requires its drivers to:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a safe driving record
  • Be able to read a map
  • Be able to locate the address
  • Be able to “navigate adverse terrain, including multi-story buildings”
  • Have access to a vehicle that can be used for delivery
  • Have insurance on that vehicle

Causes of pizza delivery accidents in Denver

You might believe that pizza delivery drivers are all high school students and that they get into wrecks due to their inexperience with driving. Pizza delivery drivers no longer meet that stereotype, since the average age of a pizza delivery driver nationwide is 48.

Of course, there are still some very young drivers who lack driving experience. They might not have the instinct to brake suddenly when the car in front of them comes to a stop, or they might not know how to adjust their driving for bad weather. However, there are other factors that weigh more heavily than age that can cause a driver to act negligently and crash.

Spending More Time on the Road

You might imagine that someone who spends more time on the road than the average driver has more experience driving and therefore ends up in fewer traffic accidents; however, that is not necessarily the case. Sometimes, the more amount of time someone spends on the road, the more likely that person is to drive while fatigued or distracted. Also, it increases the likelihood that the average driver on the road will collide with a driver who is driving while fatigued or distracted.

Fatigued Driving

Driving while fatigued is something that occurs often at night or with people who are constantly on the road. They can begin nodding off or lose focus, causing them to veer out of their lanes or fail to respond to changing traffic conditions. If a pizza delivery driver is at the end of a long shift or is driving at night, there is a chance that the driver is fatigued and therefore more likely to be involved in a crash.

Being in Unfamiliar Spaces

Pizza delivery drivers usually use some sort of navigation system on their phone or car to find the delivery locations. This might in some cases constitute distracted driving if the driver has not properly mounted his or her navigation device on the vehicle. The navigation app or system might also take the driver on an unfamiliar route; this could cause problems if the driver is not used to a certain hidden drive or the location of a one-way street.

Time Pressure

Again, even though pizza companies have been disincentivized from making timed guarantees, employees feel pressure to provide speedy service for customers. If a driver knows he or she will make a better tip by getting the pizza to the customer faster, he or she might negligently speed. If the driver is paid by delivery, this could also contribute to the issue of driving too fast to make more deliveries.

Whom to sue in the accident

The determination of fault in pizza delivery accidents in Denver will drive the course of the case; that determination depends heavily on the facts of the case. That is why, as we will discuss later, it is extremely important for you to gather the contact information of witnesses who saw the accident, if possible. If you do not have witnesses, you may need to engage the help of experts to testify about the physical evidence, such as tire tracks or dent marks.

Since fault is a question of fact, a jury will decide that element of your case should it go to trial. An experienced lawyer will make an educated prediction about how a jury would rule. He or she will know how similar local cases fared in Denver courts. The following examples show a few scenarios; in some, the pizza company was liable or negligent, while in others, the pizza delivery driver was at fault.

The Pizza Company

The pizza company will be at fault in situations in which there is vicarious liability. This means that the employer puts itself in the place of the employee in the lawsuit to take responsibility for the negligent acts or omissions that the employee committed while working for the employer. The employer can be negligent in hiring or training the employee who crashed into another driver, or it can have other procedures that do not meet the appropriate, modern industry standards.

Employers might be negligent in hiring someone who does not meet the company’s qualifications for incoming drivers. The employer might have instead failed during the interview process or the training process of the employee. Often, companies have peers train each other rather than supervisors; this could allow negligent training of pizza delivery drivers.

Companies that encourage delivery drivers to make as many deliveries possible in as short of an amount of time as possible help perpetuate the drivers’ and customers’ expectations of speedy service for higher tips. Other procedures and practices in the pizza company’s workplace might also make it negligent if it clearly fails to prevent foreseeable harm.

The Driver

A company is not vicariously liable for an employee who was not working when the act or omission that led to the negligence was committed. The law distinguishes two types of employee behavior that determine whether the employee was working for the company when the employee was not doing something specifically for the employer at the time of the accident.

1. A frolic is an entirely self-serving break from the employee’s job during which the employer does not take responsibility for the torts the employee commits.

2. A detour is a brief break from the worker’s assigned task during which the employer must take responsibility for the torts the employee commits. If it is unclear whether the pizza delivery driver was working for the employer at the time of the accident, talk to an attorney near you to help you work through this question.

Negligence in pizza delivery accidents. Our Denver Pizza Delivery Accident Lawyers Can Help.

Whether you sue the pizza delivery company or the driver or both, you will likely use a theory of negligence. A claim for negligence includes elements that the victim must prove pertaining to the defendant (delivery driver or company) and elements that the victim must prove pertaining to the victim’s injury.

Elements Pertaining to the Pizza Delivery Driver or Company

The first part of any negligence claim is the establishment of a duty of care, and such a duty of care exists by nature of certain relationships. Drivers who do not have or require any professional qualifications or licensure must afford each other the level of care that any reasonable person on the road would take to prevent foreseeable harm; this includes abiding by traffic laws generally and being alert to any changing road conditions. For example, a reasonable person would not attempt to drive the ordinary speed limit in a traffic jam.

In order to prove a negligence case against a pizza delivery driver or company, you must show that the pizza delivery driver or company owed you a duty of care and that the pizza delivery driver or company breached that duty of care. Drivers and employers breach their duty of care when they do not maintain the standard of care of a reasonable person or, in the case of the employer, when they fail to adopt common safety measures within the industry to help employees avoid negligent acts.

Elements Pertaining to Your Injury

The next elements you must prove relate to the injury that you sustained as a result of the accident; first, you must prove that your injury is the type for which you can receive compensation. If you sustained a physical injury, you can show that you suffered harm that the law is able to compensate; an emotional injury without any physical damage would not likely be sufficient to show that you suffered a compensable harm in a pizza delivery accident case. Last, you must show that the pizza delivery driver or the pizza company caused your injury.

Talk to our zinda law group Denver Pizza delivery accident lawyers to determine your next steps

Now that you have an idea about what the legal theory behind your case will entail, a Denver injury lawyer can help you decide what to do next. Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story, including how the accident happened, the extent of your injuries, and what the fallout has been after the accident. A Zinda Law Group attorney can help you make an informed decision about your goals regarding a settlement amount and the timeline of litigation.

Once we understand your side of the case and your goals for your case, our Denver personal injury lawyers want to start taking some of the weight of the case off of your shoulders. They can begin reaching out to the adverse party or parties to the case to get the other side of the story and start thinking about strategies to help you receive as much compensation as possible. That way, you can focus on returning to your life instead of the accident that has already taken so much time, energy, and money from you.

If you choose to work with us, the benefits do not stop with a free consultation with a Zinda Law Group Denver injury attorney. We also give our clients a No Win, No Fee Guarantee, meaning that you do not pay us unless we win your case for you. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 to take your first steps toward recovery.

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