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Foolproof Guide to Food Delivery Accident Cases


Food delivery services are extremely popular throughout the country, especially in big cities. In a study done in 2016, 20% of respondents said they use food delivery at least once a week. It’s no surprise that from 2014 to 2016,digital ordering and delivery grew 300% faster than dine-in traffic.

In the city of Los Angeles,Postmates is the top food delivery service. Moreover, according to the blog Drive Girl Drive ,some of the busiest places for Uber Eats drivers in are highly congested areas like Downtown LA, Santa Monica, and Hollywood, with the busiest times being between 5 and 9 p.m.

The rapid rise of food delivery companies has become a blessing when it comes to convenience. But as the number of food delivery vehicles in Los Angeles increases, so does the likelihood of accidents and other health issues.

If you were injured in an accident with a food delivery driver, you need to contact an experienced Los Angeles food delivery accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensatory damages for:

  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages 
  • Medical bills
  • Property loss 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of earning capacity

1. Food Delivery Accident Policies


The three most popular food delivery services in Los Angeles are DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates. Insurance policies for these companies vary in regards to the amount of coverage they provide for damages arising from food delivery accidents.

1.1 DoorDash


According to DoorDash’s website , they provide excess auto insurance for DoorDash drivers, but only for property damage or bodily injury caused to third parties. DoorDash requires a personal auto insurance policy for all drivers, which serves as the primary coverage in the event of an accident. The driver’s own automobile insurance is considered primary coverage.

If your damages exceed the delivery driver’s policy, and the accident happened when the driver was on active delivery, DoorDash’s contingent liability policy of $1 million will go into effect.

1.2 UberEats


Insurance coverage for UberEats is similar to an insurance policy for the Uber ridesharing company. If the app is currently on and the driver has not yet begun to pick up or deliver food (or if the driver is in between deliveries), the driver is covered for up to $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 (per individual/accident/property damage).

If the driver is on an active delivery (already accepted a request and is picking up or delivering food), auto liability coverage increases to $1 million. Please note that UberEats’ insurance policy will not cover any accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers.

1.3 Postmates


Postmates’ insurance coverage is similar to DoorDash. Postmates provides $1 million in excess liability to third party claims and will only come into play after the Postmates driver’s personal auto insurance coverage has been exhausted.

Postmates offers additional coverage called “accidental occupational liability” coverage, which allows up to $50,000 to cover the costs of medical expenses for injuries suffered while on the job.

2. Can I Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?


Delivery services such as Postmates typically deliver food for a variety of restaurants. However, there are also restaurants that deliver their own food. The most popular example would probably be pizza. 

However, any restaurant that causes someone to become sick because of contaminated food can generally be held liable for any losses caused. This also applies to food that is delivered, because in the majority of cases, restaurants can be held liable for causing illness according to California’s negligence laws.Learn more about California’s food tampering laws. 

All restaurants, from the local pizza spot to a high end sushi joint, owe their customers a duty to serve food that is not contaminated. However, a customer who was made sick by a restaurant’s food needs to be able to prove that a restaurant, or a restaurant’s employee, was negligent and that negligence was the cause of their illness.  

Let’s consider an example:

Say that Shannon has become disgruntled with her job as a pizza cook. To make things worse, Shannon just discovered that she has a communicable disease which can be transmitted by saliva. Shannon doesn’t think anything of it, but she decides to spit on a freshly made pizza. 

The pizza arrives at its destination and is eaten by Bob, a man with a weakened immune system. Bob immediately becomes very ill the next day and suspects that the pizza made him sick. 

To successfully pursue a personal injury claim for damages, Bob needs to show that: 

  • the pizza restaurant and its employees owed Bob a duty of care
  • the pizza restaurant and its employees breached this duty through negligence
  • the pizza restaurant and its employees’ negligence was the significant factor that caused Bob harm

Proving that a restaurant’s food caused an illness can be challenging. There are some illnesses that manifest immediately, while others may take days to make you sick. E. coli, for example, sometimes takes up to a week to cause any adverse effects. 

Proving a specific restaurant made you sick can possibly be proven by having direct evidence that the food you ate was contaminated. For example, if you have leftovers they can be tested. You may also be able to show that several other people were also made sick by the same food to help strengthen your claim. 

We recommend visiting a doctor or a medical professional to get tested in the event that you become ill from drinking or eating contaminated food. As mentioned, there are tests to determine which virus, bacteria, or pathogen made you sick. Such tests may help figure out whether the restaurant, the source of the food, or a sick employee was responsible for your illness. 

3. Filing a Food Delivery Accident Claim


Drivers for food delivery companies such as Postmates, DoorDash, or Uber Eats are more prone to drive carelessly than other drivers because of their incentive to maximize profits. 

Because food delivery drivers are usually paid by the delivery and not by the hour, they are more likely to:

  • Speed
  • Neglect right-of-way laws
  • Make reckless lane changes
  • Make deliveries while tired
  • Drive while distracted (texting, looking up an address, talking on the phone, etc.)

Food delivery accident claims can become very complicated, especially when some companies deny that their drivers are employees and argue that they are “independent contractors.” In most cases, employers are not held liable for the negligent conduct of independent contractors. However, these rules and regulations are changing rapidly. 

3.1 Determining Liability After a Food Delivery Accident


Generally, the more control an employer has over worker performance and job related tasks, the more likely a food delivery driver is an actual employee and not an independent contractor. Determining whether the food delivery driver that caused your injuries is an employee or an independent contractor will make a significant difference if your damages exceed the $1 million excess coverage described above.

What’s the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?

A food delivery driver is more likely an employee and not an independent contractor if the employer:

  • Provides equipment or uniforms
  • Requires drivers to clock in and out
  • Pays drivers on a bi-weekly or weekly basis
  • Sets the delivery driver’s schedule or routes
  • Provides benefits, health insurance, or vacation time
  • Pays the delivery driver by the hour and not by the job

4. Available Damages in a Food Delivery Accident


If you were involved in an accident caused by a DoorDash, Postmates, or Uber Eats driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Car accidents often result in property damage and serious injuries that require costly medical care. The aftermath of a food delivery accident can be stressful, painful, and challenging for both the accident victim and his or her family.

The types of compensation you can secure for your losses after a food delivery accident include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages 
  • Medical bills
  • Property loss 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of past and future income
  • Past, current, and future medical bills

5. Resources for Food Delivery Accidents


  • Common Problems with Food Delivery Services 

    Ordering delivery is supposed to be a simple solution to getting your meals. However, sometimes these food deliveries might come with further complications. 

  • Driving a Personal Car for Work Accident

    With the rise of food delivery services, people are using their personal vehicles to get the job done. Due to the passing of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), workers for food delivery companies are now considered official employees rather than independent contractors, granting them insurance coverage and worker’s rights. 

  • Do Delivery Drivers Need Special Insurance?

    Delivery drivers put their well being on the line while making a living on the road making deliveries. Due to the passing of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), delivery drivers are now granted insurance coverage and workers rights. 

  • Grubhub Insurance Requirements

    GrubHub doesn’t offer any sort of insurance to their drivers, meaning that they are working for the company at their own risk. If a GrubHub driver gets into an accident, their own insurance is expected to cover the damages. 

  • PostMates Insurance Requirements

    Postmates offers a $1 million third-party insurance claim that only kicks in after a Postmates driver’s personal insurance becomes exhausted.

  • Food Delivery Statistics

    It isprojected that online food delivery will grow into a massive $200 billion industry by 2025. In 2018, 36% of U.S. internet users under 35 years oldordered restaurant delivery frequently.

  • UberEats Insurance Policy 

    The UberEats insurance policy is the same as the rideshare company’s $1 million insurance coverage. However, when the insurance coverage applies is different from when this insurance applies for accidents that occur during rideshare services. 

  • Door Dash Driver Requirements

    DoorDash provides a $1 million insurance policy for their drivers, but only if damage is done to third parties. This policy also only goes into effect if the driver has the food in their possession on their way to make a delivery. 

  • Taskrabbit Insurance Policy and Requirements

    TaskRabbit provides unique solutions for individuals looking for assistance with their day to day tasks. However, taskers take on these roles uninsured by the TaskRabbit company. Instead, they are only covered by what the company calls the TaskRabbit Happiness Pledge. 

  • Food Delivery Employee vs Independent Contractor 

    Since the passing of California Assembly Bill 5, food delivery people are considered employees rather than independent contractors. What’s the difference between the two? 

  • Common Causes of Food Delivery Accidents 

    Food delivery accidents are bound to happen. Some common causes of food delivery accidents include distracted driving, sudden turns, and lost drivers. 

  • California Food Tampering Laws 

    Do you think that a food delivery person tampered with your food? California has laws against food tampering and the food delivery company could be held liable for any consequences that resulted from the employee tampering with your food.

  • What to Do About Food Delivery Accidents 

    Food Delivery appointments, such as any other job, are prone to accidents. Since the passing of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), food delivery workers for large companies such as DoorDash, PostMates, and UberEats are considered employees with insurance coverage.

West Coast Trial Lawyers is Here to Help


A food delivery accident attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more.

Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team.

References


DoorDash. Terms and Conditions - United States.
Postmates. Terms of Service. United States.
Uber. Uber Community Guidelines. United States and Canada.

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