Las Cruces Pizza Delivery Accident Lawyers
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The majority of pizzerias in the United States offer delivery services, 80% according to “Pizza Today,” and it is easy to understand why. Americans love convenience; what is more convenient than having a hot, freshly made pizza arrive at your door after a simple phone call or click online? Las Cruces pizza delivery accident lawyers witness firsthand the negative consequences of that convenience. With the speedy arrival of delivered pizza comes the unseen pressures that delivery drivers feel to rush the pizza to the customer, whether their employer encourages each driver to make as many deliveries in as short of amount of time as possible or the driver expects a larger tip for faster service.
What to do if you are in a pizza delivery accident
If you get into an accident with a pizza delivery driver and sustain injuries, consider talking about the incident with a personal injury lawyer near you. The attorney can give you advice specific to your case and help you understand how to proceed. The following tips, while they might generally help you understand what you should do after a pizza delivery accident, are no substitute for one-on-one legal advice.
Assess Whether You Are Injured
Even if you did not notice any serious injuries immediately following the accident, you should still check in with your doctor. You may have experienced an adrenaline rush at the time of the accident and did not feel the full extent of your injuries. Injuries from car accidents can include more minor cuts, bruises, and sprains, but they can also cause injuries that affect you for the rest of your life, such as brain injuries or spinal injuries.
As you make visits to the doctor, keep your own record of your visits, including the reason for your visit, your diagnosis or progress, and the cost of the visit. Keeping track of these things from the beginning is easier than trying to remember all of the visits you made to various care providers when you need that information later as evidence. A lawyer can help you gather this information from your care providers later if you have not kept a diligent record.
Record Available Evidence
If you can, gather information at the scene of the accident, including the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the other drivers involved and any nearby witnesses who saw the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene with your phone, including pictures of the damage to the vehicles.
In addition to your personal record of the accident scene, call the Las Cruces police so that they can execute a crash report. The report becomes publicly available a few days after the officer makes it. If you could not do these things at the scene of the accident because you were too seriously injured, an attorney can help you find this preliminary information before you begin the investigative stage of your claim.
Start the Investigative Process
Once you have an idea about who was there and what happened at the accident, you can start further investigation to determine who was at fault. Medical records are just one important form of evidence that shows your side of the story. The medical records show proof of the physical injury you sustained, but you must also be able to show that the pizza delivery driver caused your injury.
To make a determination about fault, you will need to interview witnesses, the pizza delivery driver, and perhaps even the delivery driver’s employer. These interviews will give you not only the other sides of the story of the accident, but can also reveal the strength of your claim and give you an idea of how much you could receive in compensation. We will describe later how the crash might have been the pizza company’s fault, rather than the driver’s.
The determination of fault depends on the facts of the case, so the investigative process is extremely important in establishing those facts. If the case goes to trial, a jury determines who was at fault based on the facts. That is why lawyers try to predict how their client’s case would do at trial and use their experience to negotiate an appropriate settlement amount.
File a Lawsuit
After a little investigation, a personal injury lawyer will have enough information to know whether you should file a lawsuit against the pizza delivery driver. However, be aware that you have a limited amount of time to do this. New Mexico’s statute of limitations is three years for personal injury claims, meaning you have three years from the day of the accident to file your claim against the person who injured you.
Your attorney can make sure that you file the correct kind of claim (here, you will most likely file a negligence claim against the pizza delivery driver and/or the pizza company) with the correct court within the correct amount of time. After you file your claim, the defendant will respond and potentially file a counterclaim against you if the defendant believes it can show that you were the one who was at fault for the accident. Additionally, the insurance companies of all of the parties will also be heavily involved in the settlement process.
Your attorney will then try to negotiate a settlement with the other parties to compensate you for your economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include those for which you can account by showing your medical bills and missed wages from time off of work to heal from your injury. Noneconomic damages are to compensate you for the pain and suffering you endured from the accident.
Frequently asked questions about pizza delivery accidents in Las Cruces
Now that you have an idea about what steps you should take after an accident and how an attorney could help you, you might still have some lingering questions about pizza delivery accidents. Below, we will answer a few frequently asked questions about some of the legal issues dealing with pizza delivery accidents.
What Causes Pizza Delivery Accidents?
While some might try to blame pizza delivery drivers’ young age and lack of experience for causing accidents, the truth is that the average pizza delivery driver is middle-aged. Of course, there are still teenaged pizza delivery drivers out there who take the delivery job as a way to make some extra money while still in school, but there are other factors unrelated to age that affect the amount of care the driver takes while delivering pizzas.
Feeling the Time Pressure
Domino’s Pizza used to have a guarantee that it would bring a pizza to your doorstep within 30 minutes of your order, and if it took longer than 30 minutes your pizza would be free. That guarantee led to some reckless driving by pizza delivery drivers, and the company ultimately had to drop the policy when it led to a $79 million lawsuit.
In that suit, a Domino’s driver negligently crashed into another driver, and the majority of the money that the other driver won from the trial was in the form of punitive damages. The jury awarded them to the plaintiff in order to punish Domino’s for its dangerous encouragement of delivery drivers to drive too fast. Even though few pizza companies today dare to make any timed guarantees after that lawsuit, drivers still might feel pressured by employers or by the incentive to get good tips for making speedy deliveries.
Driving to New Parts of Town
Pizza delivery drivers are constantly confronted with addresses they have never seen before. They might have to navigate a poorly lit, zig-zagging parking lot or steer through an unfamiliar maze of one-way streets and roundabouts. This could make the driver more susceptible to a crash, especially if he or she is trying to follow route guidance on a phone.
Spending More Time on the Road
Even if the pizza delivery driver is a good driver most of the time, the more time the driver spends on the road, the more likely he or she could make a mistake. More time on the road also increases the odds that the driver is driving while fatigued or distracted.
Driving While Fatigued
While most people know not to text while on their phones, it is harder to avoid driving while fatigued. Pizza delivery drivers might start to fall asleep while driving if they have more than one job, have had a long shift, or are driving at night. This can cause them to lose focus or drive erratically.
Are There Special Requirements for Being a Pizza Delivery Driver?
The short answer is no, pizza delivery drivers typically do not have many extra qualifications compared to the average driver on the road. However, by looking at the examples of Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s, we can see what preliminary requirements are expected of applicants.
If a pizza company did not screen for these requirements, there is a chance the company was negligent. The company also could have failed at other stages of the hiring process to prevent foreseeable harm.
Domino’s Pizza Delivery Driver Requirements
Domino’s lists on its website that job applicants must:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a safe driving record
- Have two years of driving history
- Have access to a vehicle that passes regular safety inspections
- Have an outstanding customer service attitude
- Have basic math skills
- Enjoy working in a fast-paced team environment
Papa John’s Pizza Delivery Driver Requirements
Papa John’s lists its own requirements and preferences that applicants:
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a reliable vehicle
- Have insurance
- Be able to drive
- Be able to manage cash
- Be able to plan and organize deliveries
- Be able to communicate effectively
How can i sue the pizzeria for the driver’s conduct?
In some cases, the pizza company must take responsibility for the wreck that its employee caused. Attorneys who take cases involving pizza delivery accidents in Las Cruces can help the victims of the accidents determine whether they should sue the delivery driver, the pizza company, or both. The benefit of suing the pizza company instead of the driver is that the driver might not have the means to compensate you the amount you deserve.
When to Sue the Driver
You are limited to suing only the driver and not the pizza company when the driver is not working at the time of the accident. Even if the driver has the pizza company’s logo affixed to the top of the vehicle, the company could still make a sound legal argument that the driver was engaged in a frolic that was unrelated to the driver’s work. If you can instead show that the employee was engaged in a mere detour and therefore still on the job at the time of the accident, then the employer could be vicariously liable.
Vicarious liability is when a supervisor (such as an employer) is held responsible for the conduct of a subordinate (such as an employee). This means that even though the employee may have caused the accident, the employer must put herself in the employee’s place and pay the amount due to the victim.
When to Sue the Pizza Company
The situations in which the employer may have acted negligently have to do with the employer’s hiring process, training, or other practice that does not meet the common standards of the industry. As we have seen from the applicant requirements of Domino’s and Papa John’s, it is common for pizza company employers to require delivery drivers to be insured. If the company failed to check whether the driver was insured and hired him or her anyway, the company may be liable if that driver gets in a wreck since it probably was negligent in hiring the employee.
Another reason the pizzeria may be liable for your accident is that the pizza company who employs the driver who hit you might not have a lot of supervision over peer training. Therefore, that company may have negligently trained its employees, including the one who caused your accident.
APPLY for legal advice with experienced zinda law group Las Cruces Pizza delivery accident lawyers
The lawyers at Zinda Law Group understand how disruptive a lawsuit can be in a victim’s life. The victim typically does not want more than he or she is owed—to return to his or her life as it was before the accident took place. The first step toward your recovery is to speak with a Las Cruces injury lawyer to learn about your options, including whether you could receive compensation for your injury and what it will take for you to recover.
Do not leave any stone unturned and wonder later whether you might have been successful in your case. If you choose Zinda Law Group’s Las Cruces personal injury lawyers, we take on the financial risk for you through our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. This guarantee ensures you that you do not have to pay us unless we win your case for you.
Stop taking on the burden of an accident that was someone else’s fault. You deserve to move on from the wreck and to have an experienced Las Cruces injury attorney take over from here. Enjoy a free consultation with one of our lawyers at (800) 863-5312 and let us see what we can do to help you.
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