Los Angeles Food Delivery Accident Lawyer
Los Angeles Food Delivery Accident Lawyer
Food delivery services have exploded in popularity over the last several years, And will likely continue to be a popular way for consumers to obtain the food they need when they need it. However, with the increase in food delivery drivers on the roads, so have the number of motor vehicle accidents.
If you were injured in a food delivery accident, you may need legal guidance and support to help you figure out how to recover the compensation you deserve. A dedicated Los Angeles food delivery injury lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers could help you hold the liable party accountable. Find out what is next for your case when you contact our office for a no-cost, risk-free consultation.
Foolproof Guide to Food Delivery Accident Cases
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 are in 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.
Common Food Delivery Injuries and When to Sue
Accidents with food delivery drivers are similar to other types of motor vehicle accidents. This means the injuries seen are often catastrophic or life-threatening. However, while you may have thought that you must have suffered a debilitating injury to move forward with your claim, this may not be the case.
If you suffered what others may consider a “minor” injury, but that injury has had a significant impact on your life, you may still have grounds for legal action against the liable party. With that in mind, there are some types of injuries seen in food delivery accidents more frequently than others. Some of these injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Abrasions, lacerations, and contusion
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Herniated discs
- Road rash
- Third-degree burns
- Facial injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
As long as someone else’s negligence or misconduct contributed to your food delivery accident injuries, you may have the right to bring them to justice. You can contact a food delivery accident attorney in Los Angeles to go over your injuries and determine whether you may have the right to take insurance or civil action.
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.
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.
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 Uber Eats’ 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.
What to Do After an Accident With a Food Delivery Driver
After a collision with a food delivery driver, you may be unsure of what to do next. The steps you take in the aftermath of your accident could have a critical impact on your ability to recover the compensation you need. With that in mind, here is what to do after an accident with a food delivery driver in Los Angeles:
- Call 911. Even if it is a seemingly minor accident, calling police to the accident scene can’t help you create evidence you can use to support your case. By filing a police or crash report, law enforcement can document how the accident occurred, the information of all involved parties, and other information that could be used to support your case.
- While you wait for emergency responders to arrive, document the scene. Take photos of your injuries, any vehicle damage, any property damage, and video footage where possible. Make note of any nearby homes or businesses that may have surveillance cameras. Be sure to get the contact information of any witnesses and other involved parties.
- Obtain a medical evaluation. Even if your injuries may be considered minor, or you feel “OK”, obtaining a medical evaluation is critical. You might have suffered injuries that are not readily seen and could pose a serious health risk if left untreated. Furthermore, failure to be seen by a medical provider immediately after an accident leaves an opportunity for the defense to argue that your injuries did not occur in a food delivery accident, but in another way.
- After your healthcare providers have deemed you medically stable, contact a food delivery accident lawyer for help. Your attorney will then be able to begin investigating the cause of the accident, calculating the value of your claim, and preparing to file your insurance and civil lawsuits.
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:
- Neglect right-of-way laws
- Make reckless lane changesMake 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.
Proving Negligence in a Los Angeles Food Delivery Accident
To prove liability in a Los Angeles food delivery accident, your lawyer will be responsible for proving that the four elements of negligence have been met. The elements of negligence are as follows:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Essentially, your lawyer will need to show that the food delivery driver or other liable party owed you a duty of care and breached that duty of care in some way. This breach in the duty of care must have directly or indirectly caused you to suffer significant damages that have had an impact on your life emotionally, physically, or financially.
To prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence, your attorney will need to introduce compelling evidence to support your case. Some of the more common types of evidence that could be used to prove negligence in a Los Angeles food delivery accident claim include:
- Police reports
- Crash reports
- Employment records
- Cell phone records
- Internal documents
- Chemical blood alcohol test results
- Photos of your Injuries
- Photos of the accident scene
- Property damage photos
- Video of the accident
- Financial records
- Medical documents
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Accident reconstructionist reports
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 for routes
- Provides benefits, health insurance, or vacation time
- Pays the delivery driver by the hour and not by the job
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. 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.
How California Shared Fault Laws Work
Injury victims often share fault for the injuries they sustained. In some states, Sharing fault for your injuries will prevent you from being able to recover compensation through the civil court system. However, the state of California follows a pure comparative negligence system. Here, you are not barred from financial recovery for sharing fault for your injuries.
That does not mean you will not be held accountable for your portion of fault. To ensure you are held accountable for your portion of negligence, the courts will reduce your injury settlement in proportion to your percentage of liability. For example, if you were found 20% liable for the accident, you could expect your injury settlement to be reduced by 20%. Let’s look at an example:
Deborah was not wearing her seatbelt when she was hit by a distracted food delivery driver. The judge found her 15% responsible for her injuries for failing to wear her seatbelt. The jury awarded Deborah $100,000 for her damages. However, because Deborah was 15% at fault for her injuries, her $100,000 injury settlement was reduced to $85,000.
If you believe you may share fault for your food delivery accident injuries, it is important to discuss your concerns with your attorney so we can better prepare for what’s to come. Sharing even a minor amount of liability could have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your case. Make sure your legal advocate is carefully evaluating your case to ensure that the defense is unable to place unwarranted blame on you.
Statute of Limitations for Food Delivery Accident Claims in Los Angeles
Food delivery accident claims in Los Angeles are upheld to the California personal injury statute of limitations. Under the law, if you are going to be filing a personal injury claim of any kind, including food delivery accident claims, you must file your lawsuit before the two-year statute of limitations expires.
Many people are quick to assume that the two-year expiration date occurs two years from the date of the collision or accident. While this may be the case for some, it is not the case for all. There are many factors that can be taken into account that impact when the statute of limitations will expire for your case.
It is critical to get a knowledgeable attorney on your side who can inform you of when the statute of limitations will run out for you. If your lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations deadline, you will no longer have the right to seek compensation in the Los Angeles civil courts.
If you attempt to file your lawsuit once the statute of limitations has expired, the judge will have no other choice but to dismiss your case with prejudice. Fortunately, when you have a dedicated and highly experienced food delivery accident lawyer on your side, procedural issues surrounding the statute of limitations should have no impact on your case.
How to Handle the Insurance Company
There are two types of people. The ones that believe insurance companies are on your side, and the ones that know the insurance company is working against you. After an accident with a food delivery driver, dealing with the insurance company may be the furthest thing from your mind.
Unfortunately, and the vast majority of food delivery accident claims, the liable party will be represented by some type of insurance provider. This can be beneficial when you need access to compensation for your damages. However, insurance companies are not in the business of paying out on claims fairly. Instead, they look for every opportunity they can find to reduce or deny the claims of even the most deserving claimant. Here is how:
Insurance companies have refined their tactics over the years. There are two primary tactics insurance companies used to take advantage of claimants. The first is by asking the claimant to give them a statement. This may seem innocent enough. And the insurance adjuster will likely be polite and express concern for your well-being.
However, this is still a tactic. Insurance companies will ask you to give them a statement and then manipulate your words to make it appear as though you have accepted responsibility or fault for the accident. Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, the more fault you carry for the accident, the less compensation you can be awarded. If the insurance company can place unwarranted blame on you, they may be able to get away with paying you less than you deserve.
Insurance companies have also been known to make insultingly low offers. They will do this soon after you file your claim. This can be tempting for people who are already struggling financially. However, once you accept a lowball offer, you may be unable to recover your compensation and it is entirety. If the insurance company makes you an offer fast, you can generally assume that your case is worth substantially more.
What Does the Insurance Company Cover?
There are many misconceptions surrounding insurance companies. Following an accident with a food delivery driver, you may assume that the insurance company will cover your damages in full. However, this is not the case. Insurance companies are required to cover damages up to the highest limit of their policyholder’s policy.
California is a fault state for car accidents and insurance purposes, so you will need to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider. If the liable party purchases the minimum amount of coverage, you may find that your damages exceed their policy limits. When this happens, the insurance company is not obligated to cover your damages in full. Any remaining damages not covered by the insurance company can be sought in your civil claim against the at-fault party.
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 their family.
You have the right to be made whole, which means every loss you have suffered can be recouped in your food delivery accident claim. This includes economic (financial) and non-economic (non-financial) damages. Some of the most frequently awarded types of economic and non-economic damages in Los Angeles food delivery accident claims include:
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Healthcare expenses and medical equipment fees
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of income and potential future earnings
- Diminished quality of life
- Damage to your personal and professional reputations
- Disfigurement and skin scarring
- Property damages
- Loss of companionship, love, society, support, guidance, and advice
Get Help From a Food Delivery Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles
Has your life been significantly affected after suffering serious injuries in a food delivery accident? If so, take action against the liable party when you contact a dedicated Los Angeles food delivery injury lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers.
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