Drivers, passengers, or others who are involved in a Denver car accident may have a different experience when one of the drivers is on-the-job or delivering food for a delivery app. The reason a driver-for-hire accident is different is that the employer may be liable for damages if their driver was at-fault in the accident. Unfortunately, just because the employer is liable does not mean the employer will pay for the damages.
With the increase in delivery apps and driver-for-hire gig jobs, billion-dollar tech companies are trying to create loopholes that shield them from liability. This leaves the costs of an accident on the shoulders of their drivers or the accident victims. However, the delivery app companies may still be held liable.
If you were involved in an auto accident and need help covering your medical bills and loss of income, talk to a lawyer about your case. The attorneys at Denver Legal Eagles understand how to deal with these companies and insurance companies to recover compensation for their clients.
Delivery and Commercial Driver Accidents in Denver
There are a number of delivery companies in the Denver metro area. The “gig economy” driving jobs are changing all the time and companies come and go, or get consolidated with others. Delivery apps where drivers may be involved in an accident while delivering in the Denver or Boulder area can include:
- Chow Now
- Eat Street
- Uber Eats
- Go Puff
Liability After a Delivery or Commercial Driver Accident
Commercial driving generally requires a commercial driving license (CDL), special training, and very strict driving restrictions. However, a number of people drive as part of their job that does not require a CDL. This includes restaurant delivery, sales jobs, or other delivery work. When a commercial or delivery driver is involved in an accident, liability for the accident can change based on the relationship between the driver and the delivery company.
When an employee is delivering or driving for the company, the employer is generally aware that they are liable for the negligence of an employee. This is known as vicarious liability. However, when an “independent contractor,” is involved in an accident, the person who hired the contractor may be able to avoid liability. One of the problems is that a company may call a driver an independent contractor when the driver is really more like an employee.
Each company may have their own policies and insurance coverage limits for drivers involved in an accident. However, one common experience is that the delivery app company will try and avoid liability for any accident and may leave the victim on the hook for damages after a car accident.
App Companies Liable for Drivers' Accidents
The third-party delivery sites like GrubHub and DoorDash are trying to claim that they are not employers and just arrange payment for customers to order food. However, the app companies have more involvement than they pretend to admit. These companies have a lot of control over drivers and may be held liable for their part in causing an accident.
For example, these delivery app companies may be liable if they hired a driver with a history of drunk driving accidents, the driver did not have a valid license, or the driver was not insured. The companies may have also knowingly increased the chances of causing an accident by pressuring drivers to make fast deliveries even if the companies knew the drivers may be speeding or violating traffic laws.
As a Delivery Driver, Should I Lie About Delivering After an Accident?
Advice all over the internet claims that drivers should not tell the police or their insurance company that they were delivering food for the delivery apps at the time. This is very dangerous advice and could make the accident much worse for the 3rd-party driver. Technically, most personal auto insurance policies do not cover drive-for-hire or paid delivery driving. The insurance companies generally require a commercial policy or add-on coverage for a part-time driver.
Online forums like Reddit are full of comments for drivers who were involved in an accident, saying to “never say you were driving for DoorDash after an accident while on delivery.” If you want legal advice, talk to your lawyer. The misinformation on many of these forums is just plain wrong and could get you into big financial trouble.
If a driver files an insurance claim and lies about driving for Instacart or Postmates, the insurance company may deny the claim. The driver may also be accused of insurance fraud for intentionally misleading the insurance company, which could carry criminal charges. If you are a “gig-economy” delivery driver or plan to drive for a rideshare app, make sure you get the insurance coverage that will cover yourself in the event of an accident.
If You Are Involved in a Doordash or GrubHub Accident
If you are involved in an accident with a food delivery app driver, as the driver, driver in another vehicle, or pedestrian, the first thing to do is seek medical attention for any injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 9-1-1.
All drivers involved in a car accident in Colorado are required to report the accident. The police may only respond if there is a serious injury, if a vehicle is not driveable, or a driver may be impaired. Otherwise, drivers are still required to report the accident on their own. Exchange contact information with the other people involved in the accident, including insurance and driver's license information. You can report a car accident online through the Colorado DMV.
Drivers are generally required to report an accident to their insurance company. Drivers who were in an accident while delivering for a delivery app may also be required to report the accident through the app. However, be aware that the app may suspend your account after reporting an accident.
Do I Need a Lawyer After a Delivery Accident in Denver?
Many people do not think they need to call a lawyer after a car accident. However, car accidents involving commercial drivers, delivery drivers, or for-hire drivers can be more complicated and it is usually the injury victim who ends up suffering.
The common tactic for insurance companies and employers after an accident is to say they are not responsible for damages. The injury victim may just give up. Instead of taking “no” for an answer, talk to an experienced car accident lawyer to get compensation for your injuries.
If you were injured in a delivery driver accident in Colorado, contact the Denver Legal Eagles. Our experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.