Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery services like Instacart have been a convenient way to get groceries delivered without having to go to the store. Instacart connects customers with “shoppers,” to shop, buy, and deliver groceries directly to the customer's door. All this is done through the app, for contactless delivery for the buyer. However, the lack of regulations can put others at risk of an injury accident.
When an Instacart shopper is involved in a car accident in Denver, the shopper and others involved may not be sure how to handle the accident claim. Instacart drivers often think that Instacart will cover the accident but find out the company wants nothing to do with the claim and will ban the driver from the app, leaving it up to the driver to pay for damages.
For injury victims, they may struggle to figure out who is responsible for their medical bills. For an Instacart driver, they may find themselves personally liable for damages because Instacart does not want to pay for damages, and their insurance company won't cover the damages. Even if Instacart claims no responsibility, your Denver personal injury lawyer may be able to make sure you are compensated for your losses.
If you are an Instacart driver injured in an accident or someone hit by an Instacart driver on delivery, talk to your Denver accident attorney for help getting compensation.
Is Instacart Liable After a Car Accident?
Liability generally refers to legal and financial responsibility after an accident. The driver who is “at fault” for causing an accident is generally liable for damages. This includes paying for the losses caused by the accident, including:
- Property damage,
- Medical bills,
- Loss of income,
- Future expenses, and
- Pain and suffering.
Liability is based on negligence. For example, if a driver ran a stop sign and caused an accident, running the stop sign could be used as evidence of the driver's negligence.
Other parties may be liable for the negligence of someone else. For example, employers are generally liable for the negligence of their employees. This is vicarious liability. If a pizza delivery driver gets into an accident, the pizza restaurant may be liable for damage caused by their driver's negligence.
One of the ways that app-based delivery companies try and avoid liability is by calling their drivers “independent contractors.” However, simply calling a worker an independent contractor does not make them one. States generally have rules and tests to determine if a worker is an employee or independent contractor. If a jury finds an Instacart driver acted more like an employee, then Instacart may be liable for the employee's negligence.
Instacart Shopper Requirements and Training
The requirements and training for an Instacart Shopper are very minimal. According to Instacart, a “full-service shopper has the following basic requirements:
- At least 18 years old
- Eligible to work in the United States
- Consistent access to a vehicle
- Consistent access to and be able to effectively use a recent smartphone
- Ability to lift 50 lbs with or without accommodation
This means an 18-year-old driver, with no need for driving experience can be a delivery driver for Instacart. Additionally, there is no specific restriction on drivers with previous traffic violations, including injury accidents or drunk driving. According to the company, “Instacart evaluates criminal histories in accordance with this value and applicable local, state, and federal laws, and tailors any consideration of criminal histories to the requirements of the contract engagement sought.”
One of the reasons that Instacart and other delivery service companies limit requirements is to maintain an independent contractor relationship with drivers. Instacart wants to get rid of any suggestion their drivers are “employees,” because they would be responsible for the driver's actions. Unfortunately for drivers, this also leaves them with the impression that their personal vehicle insurance is enough to cover an accident, which is simply not the case.
Instacart Accident Insurance
The Instacart Independent Contractor contract is very long and many drivers probably sign up without ever reading the full contract or getting a lawyer to review the contract. As a result, drivers may not be aware of what they are signing up for. As part of the contract, drivers are agreeing that they are, “in lawful possession of all equipment, insurance, and licenses necessary to perform the shopping and/or delivery services.”
However, your personal auto insurance policy is not generally the type of insurance that is necessary to perform delivery services. Most personal auto policies only cover personal driving, and not commercial, delivery, or driving for-hire. Drivers may need specific commercial or add-on insurance that covers driving for app-based work like Instacart.
If you do not have the necessary insurance and get into an accident, your insurance company may deny your claim. If you lie about not driving for an app-based delivery service, your insurance company may not cover you for misrepresentation.
This leaves a lot of Instacart drivers holding the bag when it comes to car repairs, medical bills, and other losses. Their insurance won't cover the accident and neither will Instacart. Without insurance, the driver may be personally liable for damages.
Should I Report an Accident in an Instacart Delivery?
Under Colorado law, drivers are required to report any accident. Even if no one was injured in the accident or the other driver does not want to file a claim, drivers have to report the accident to law enforcement or the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles. Drivers are also required by their insurance companies to report any accident.
Many Instacart shoppers try to keep their delivery driving a secret. Advice all over Instacart internet forums, like Reddit, claims that drivers should never say they were delivering for Instacart after an accident. Be careful before taking any advice from strangers online. Failing to report an accident can be costly.
The insurance company can still find out that you were involved in a delivery even if you never told them. The other parties in an accident may report the other driver mentioned a food delivery or had delivery bags in their vehicle. If the accident involves a lot of damage, the insurance company may do more research to find out if the driver was signed up for a delivery service.
Getting commercial insurance or an add-on policy for part-time deliveries may be more expensive but it may be the only way to protect your interests if you are involved in an accident. If the other driver was at fault for the accident but your insurance company is refusing to help cover your medical bills, talk to your Colorado accident lawyer for help.
Denver Instacart Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in an Instacart accident as the driver or someone else hurt in an accident, contact the Denver Legal Eagles for help. Our experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Do not accept an insurance settlement offer before understanding your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.