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Are Food Delivery People Employees or Independent Contractors? Insight From the Best Food Delivery Accident Injury Lawyers

This is currently a very hot issue and with good reason. Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) has completely changed California’s food delivery business, and companies like DoorDash and Postmates will find themselves significantly affected. The debate over whether food delivery drivers are employees or independent contractors has been settled as the approval of this bill will radically alter how food delivery services conduct business. Most importantly, this new legislation will notably affect how their workers are treated in case of an accident.

Below, our food delivery accident lawyers will discuss the important considerations a food delivery attorney will consider when determining liability after a food delivery accident. If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of a food delivery accident, the experienced food delivery accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to answer any questions you may have about food delivery accident claims and damages available to you.

Employee Or Independent Contractor?

For the most part, an employer has a significant amount of control regarding worker performance and job related tasks. The more control an employer has over things like scheduling and hours worked, the more likely a food delivery driver is an employee and not an independent contractor. The issue as it affects food delivery drivers, however, has been clarified given the passing of AB5.

However, it’s still important to understand that in general, 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 $1 million in excess coverage. Further, it is expected that these companies will not go quietly into that good night. 

Food Delivery Accident Policies

Food delivery accident claims are very complicated. It’s not uncommon for some of these companies to outright deny that their drivers are employees and argue that they are “independent contractors”. In most cases, legally speaking, employers are not held liable for the negligent conduct of independent contractors. However, given the passing of AB5, the rules have changed. It is recommended to consult with an experienced food delivery attorney who specializes in these cases. It is not a good idea to pursue a claim on your own.  

The three most commonly used food delivery services in the Los Angeles area 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. Below is a comprehensive breakdown of insurance policies used by these three companies.

Uber Eats

Insurance coverage for Uber Eats 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.


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.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. 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. Ultimately, a negligent driver is a negligent driver. If you were injured as a result of a delivery driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. 

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss  of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations For Damages In California 

For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.

However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non economic losses is $250,000.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one was involved in a food delivery accident, West Coast Trial Lawyers has skilled food delivery accident attorneys that have extensive experience in handling personal injury cases. Our attorneys will help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering from your injury. There are no financial risks involved when using our services. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation at our firm. No fees are paid until your case is settled. Reach out to our legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].