Caviar is a food delivery service that connects customers with restaurants by arranging pick-up and delivery through the company's app. Similar to other gig economy delivery services like Postmates or UberEats, customers find food from local restaurants and order and pay through the app. A driver is connected with the order, picks up the food, and delivers it to the customer's address. The driver is paid a delivery fee and may receive a tip from the customer.
Founded in the Bay Area in 2012, Caviar has since been bought by DoorDash. According to the Caviar website, there are more than 300 restaurants in Denver offering Caviar delivery. There are about 100 restaurants offering Caviar delivery in Boulder. These delivery services let just about any qualifying individual sign up to be a driver. However, the delivery app is not very clear about the problems that drivers can face if they are involved in an accident.
App-based delivery accidents, similar to Uber or Lyft, have additional concerns, generally involving insurance. Many drivers involved in an accident find out their insurance company will not cover the accident because they were doing a commercial delivery. The delivery app companies may also deny any coverage for the driver's accident claim. This can leave drivers having to pay out-of-pocket for car repairs or medical bills.
If you are involved in an accident and are having trouble recovering medical costs or lost income from the insurance company, contact an experienced Denver accident lawyer. An accident attorney can negotiate a better settlement offer or help you recover damages in court. Don't accept an unfair settlement before you understand all your rights and legal options.
Delivery Accidents in Colorado
One of the reasons that there has been an increase in delivery app accidents is because drivers spend so much time on the road. When picking up and delivering food as a job, either part-time or full-time, delivery drivers spend thousands of hours on the road every year. Delivery driving often involves a lot of short trips, in local traffic, during busy driving hours. All this city driving puts the driver and others at risk of a vehicle accident. There are other possible causes of delivery driving accidents in Colorado, including:
- Distracted driving
- Road rage
- Parking accidents
- Drowsy driving
- Driver inexperience
- Unfamiliarity with local traffic laws
- Driving in hazardous conditions
Distracted by the Smartphone
Like Uber drivers and Lyft drivers, Caviar and DoorDash drivers are required to use a phone while they drive. Phones are a primary cause of distracted driving accidents. Delivery drivers use their phones throughout the delivery process, including:
- Go active on the app
- Accept orders
- Map to the restaurant
- Map to the customer
- Complete the order
Each time a driver looks down at their phone, it takes the driver's attention away from the road. Even a couple of seconds can be too long when a vehicle in front comes to a stop or a pedestrian steps out into a crosswalk. Drivers may also be using their phone to send messages to the customer, answer phone calls, check email, or play music.
Dangerous Parking Practices
Something most drivers don't think about is the problem with parking to pick up or drop off orders. In the surrounding suburbs like Littleton or Aurora, deliveries may be easier with most homes having driveways or plenty of street parking. However, in more densely populated areas like Denver or Boulder, parking can be tough. This leads to a lot of “temporary” parking that violates traffic laws.
Double-parking, blocking a driveway, or stepping out into the bike lanes can be dangerous for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. In busy areas or on weekend evenings, there may be a lot more pedestrian traffic with people crossing the road at busy intersections. When a delivery driver is distracted by their phone, busy looking for the delivery address, and searching for a parking space, it can be dangerous for pedestrians.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “going too long without sleep can impair your ability to drive the same way as drinking too much alcohol.” Many delivery app drivers are doing the deliveries as a side job to make extra money, after working another full-time job. Driving while drowsy can be dangerous, especially when the driver also has to deal with driving in dark conditions, distracted driving, and driving in unfamiliar areas.
Driver Inexperience and Colorado Traffic Laws
According to Caviar's website, drivers do not need any prior work experience or any prior driving experience. Training is almost non-existent for app-delivery drivers. Training generally focuses on how to pick up, pay for, and drop off food. Eligibility is not very restrictive and most people would probably qualify. The requirements to drive for caviar include:
- At least 18 years old
- Valid driver's license
- Car insurance
- Social security number
- Pass a background check
- Have a smartphone
Drivers in Colorado are used to out-of-state drivers who do not know the local traffic laws. Not only can it be frustrating when tourists and new college students from other states make mistakes but their unpredictable driving can also be dangerous. The same dangers can involve inexperienced delivery drivers or Caviar drivers who learned to drive in other states.
Insurance Coverage in a Caviar
Insurance coverage for Caviar deliveries can be confusing for drivers and the delivery app companies do not go out of their way to help drivers understand their liability. Caviar requires drivers to have insurance but they do not specify the driver should have a commercial policy. Commercial driving includes making deliveries for money. However, commercial policies cost more and may not make it worth doing the deliveries when adding on the insurance costs.
Instead, most drivers end up with their standard personal insurance. In Colorado, auto insurance minimums include:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons
- $15,000 for property damage
If you get into an accident while making a delivery, your insurance provider may deny the claim because of the commercial purpose of the delivery. Lots of drivers give advice on Reddit or online forums that give incorrect or harmful legal advice. Many drivers suggest never telling your insurance company about the delivery or claiming delivery driving is for personal use. However, if the insurance company finds out about the delivery, your claim may be denied.
In a serious injury accident, the claim may be worth tens of thousands of dollars or more. With so much money at stake, the insurance company will likely do their own investigation. The insurance company has a financial interest in denying the claim and evidence of delivery driving may be just what they are looking for. Other ways the insurance company could find out about the delivery accident include the police report, other drivers reporting a suspected delivery, or photos or videos of the accident scene.
Caviar and DoorDash Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a Denver delivery accident, contact an experienced attorney for answers. Our experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys represent accident victims and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for their injuries. Do not accept just any settlement offer before understanding your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.