When ordering food for delivery, it may seem like there are endless delivery app companies. In many cases, a new delivery app will get bought up by one of the bigger delivery businesses, while keeping the original name. Seamless was started in New York and became a fast-growing gig-economy delivery service that has since been acquired by Grubhub.
Seamless arranges food delivery and pick-up options for hundreds of restaurants in Colorado, including Denver and Boulder. Unfortunately, most of the delivery apps have similar problems when a driver is involved in an auto accident.
Seamless calls itself “the easiest way to order food for delivery or takeout.” However, if you take the time to look at their terms and conditions, Seamless makes it clear that they do not consider themselves a delivery company. Instead, they have a “network of independent delivery service providers.” The reason for this distinction is because the company does not want to be liable for any accidents caused by their drivers. This can cause confusion and insurance problems when drivers get into an accident.
Who is Liable in a Seamless Accident?
In Colorado, liability for injuries and damage in a car accident is based on negligence. If another driver breaches their duty of care, causing injury or harm to another, the negligent driver is liable for damages. This means the negligent driver can be held responsible for the costs of car repair, medical bills, and lost income of the injury victim. The injury victim can seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.
If the law considers Seamless, or other delivery companies, to be employers, then the employer could be held vicariously liable for damages. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be liable for damages based on the negligence of an employee. However, if drivers are considered independent contractors, the company may not be liable for worker negligence. This is why Seamless, Grubhub, and other gig delivery companies, go to such efforts to claim drivers are not employees.
Unfortunately, drivers are not always clear on the distinction between employee and contractor. Drivers and customers who use the delivery service often expect the company to step in and help if something goes wrong. The reality is that the company will do their best to distance themselves from any financial consequences of a car accident.
Seamless Driver Approval Process
Seamless has a very simple approval process. Generally, drivers just have to prove they have a valid driver's license, vehicle, smartphone, and insurance. There are no tests to pass or training requirements to become a driver. According to Seamless, “delivery partners” are required to comply with “traffic laws, requirements of the applicable motor vehicle agency, and applicable insurance requirements.”
Just about anyone can sign up, even if they have never driven in a particular city before. Many delivery drivers in Colorado have only recently moved to the state and have never been tested on Colorado traffic laws. Many delivery driver accidents involve people with little driver experience or drivers who are rushing to delivery quickly. Other causes of driver accidents include:
Insurance Coverage After an Accident
Delivery drivers are told they need to comply with local insurance requirements for drivers. However, the delivery company only makes sure the driver has personal liability coverage, not commercial insurance. However, the insurance company requires drivers who are delivering for money to have a commercial policy. In practice, this means a driver could be uninsured while they are delivering for Seamless or other app-based delivery services.
Some drivers look into delivery insurance or add-on rideshare insurance. However, with a commercial policy, the driver's insurance premiums could double. Instead, drivers take the chance that they will not get into an accident or try to keep the delivery driving secret. However, many of these drivers will be found out, denied an insurance claim, and be left to pay out-of-pocket for damages.
How does the insurance company find out the driver was delivering at the time of the accident? There are a few ways the insurance company can find out about a delivery driver. Another driver involved in the accident could notice the food delivery bag or stickers on the driver's car. The police officer making the accident report could also report a suspected delivery.
If the accident involves a large claim, the insurance company will go to extra lengths to find out if they have a reason to deny coverage, including looking at social media posts, phone records, or require a statement under penalty of perjury. Lying to the insurance company may also be considered criminal insurance fraud.
Denver Delivery Driver Accident Law Firm
If you were injured in a Denver Seamless or Grubhub accident, contact an experienced auto accident attorney for answers. Our experienced Colorado vehicle accident lawyers will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Do not accept a low settlement offer before understanding your options. Contact us today for a free consultation.