The “gig economy” refers to app-based or online platform jobs for on-call or temporary work. Many of these gig worker jobs involve using workers' own vehicle to carry passengers or deliveries. For these tech companies, the benefits of using an independent contractor include not having to pay an employee a salary or provide any benefits. Gig drivers may also help shield these companies from liability.
Some of the most common gig or app-based driving companies in Colorado include:
- Chow Now
- Eat Street
- Uber Eats
- Go Puff
What happens when a delivery driver gets into an accident? When a rideshare or delivery driver gets into an accident, it can be a wake-up call for drivers. These companies make it appear like anyone can sign up and the company will offer some sort of coverage. The reality is that most of these companies provide limited insurance and leave it up to the drivers to secure their own commercial policies, which most drivers never get.
After a Gig Delivery Driver Accident in Denver
After any car accident, the driver, passengers, and bystanders involved should call for medical help if anyone is injured. Car accident injuries can be deceptive. Head, neck, or back injuries may not show signs or symptoms for hours or days later. If there is a chance that you suffered an injury, seek medical attention.
Any car accident in Colorado must be reported to law enforcement or through the Colorado DMV. The police may not show up to investigate the accident unless there is a serious injury involved but drivers must still report the accident.
Dealing with the insurance company after a car accident can be a hassle. Insurance claims involve delivery app drivers or rideshare vehicles can be even more frustrating. Gig economy drivers may not know how to handle an accident and whether to admit to doing delivery driving at the time of the accident.
The delivery driver may not know that their personal liability insurance policy will not cover accidents during a commercial delivery. The driver may not know the app-based gig company will not provide coverage or only offer excess coverage. This can be difficult for the delivery driver or other injury victims involved in the accident.
Is the Company Liable for Damages in a Colorado Car Accident?
A company may be liable for the negligence of its employees. Under vicarious liability, the employer shared responsibility for the actions of their workers. If a delivery driver is liable for causing a car accident, then the employer may also be liable. However, if the worker is considered an independent contractor, then the company may not be liable for the driver's negligence.
Gig economy delivery jobs call their drivers “independent contractors.” However, just because the company says the worker is a contractor does not make it so. Even if the driver signed a contract saying the position is an independent contractor, it could be up to the court to determine if the driver was a contractor or employee.
“Under Colorado Law, an individual is presumed to be in covered employment unless and until it is shown that the individual is free from control and direction in the performance of services, both under contract and in fact, and that the individual is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession or business related to the work performed.”
Negligence of Delivery App Companies
In some cases, the delivery app companies may be directly liable for negligence. If the companies breached their duties to customers or the public because of their actions or inactions, an injury victim may be able to seek damages directly from these gig companies.
For example, failure to properly train or perform background checks on drivers could be considered negligent. If DoorDash or Grubhub hires a driver with a history of DUIs and that driver gets into an accident, a jury could find that the company shared liability because they knowingly hired a potentially dangerous driver.
Another way platform app companies may be liable for an accident is based on their knowledge that their process makes driving more dangerous. These companies often require drivers to use their proprietary apps while driving. Looking at a phone or using a phone while driving is known to increase the risk of an accident. These companies are likely aware that drivers are distracted by the phone-based app while driving, putting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk of injury.
Delivery Driver Accidents in Denver
Dealing with the insurance company after an injury accident is never pleasant. However, having someone on your side can make a big difference in recovering damages. An experienced accident Denver attorney will deal with the insurance company so you can focus on getting your life back to normal. Your attorney can help you get compensation to pay for car repairs, medical bills, and replace lost income.
If you were injured in a Grubhub, Doordash, or UberEats accident in Colorado, contact the trial lawyers at accidentdenver.com. Our experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.