07 Sep 2020
Food Delivery Services Tied to Rise in Car Crashes in Tampa Bay
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
With COVID-19 putting more food delivery drivers on the road, car accidents are increasing across Tampa
Across Tampa Bay, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected most aspects of daily life, including how we get our food. Since shelter-in-place orders were issued in March 2020, business for on-demand food delivery apps, such as Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash, has increased dramatically.
Uber Eats claims to have experienced a tenfold increase in new restaurant signups, and some local Tampa restaurants say the percentage of orders placed through third-party apps has risen from around 20 percent to roughly 75 percent since the COVID-19 crisis began.
The number of drivers for food delivery services has also skyrocketed. With thousands of people laid off, collecting unemployment, or temporarily without a job, driving for companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is a way to make extra money and fill the gap of uncertainty.
But something else has been similarly increasing: accidents involving food delivery service drivers.
It makes sense that with more food delivery drivers on the road, the number of car accidents in Tampa involving these drivers would rise. However, being involved in a car accident with a driver for a food delivery service presents unique and challenging legal issues.
Why are car accidents with food delivery drivers complicated?
- Food delivery drivers are independent contractors—not employees – Food delivery companies like Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash, have gone to great lengths to protect themselves from liability. For this reason, individuals who drive for these companies are classified as independent contractors—not employees. This means that if a driver for one of these companies causes an accident, the parent company will try to disclaim responsibility.
- Food delivery companies don’t provide commercial accident coverage to its drivers – Before individuals can start working for food delivery companies, they must show proof of insurance. However, drivers are only required to carry the bare minimum amount of personal insurance, which is $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 property damage liability. This amount is woefully insufficient to cover a Tampa car accident resulting in serious injuries.
- Food delivery companies may have $1 million liability policies, but its limited – Uber Eats, Postmates, and Door Dash have $1 million liability policies that apply during some phase of delivery. Accidents that occur while the driver is waiting to take an order will not be covered. Accidents that occur while the driver is on the way to the restaurant to pick up an order or on the way to the customer’s home with the order may be covered. Notably, working for Grubhub offers no insurance protection at all.
Food delivery drivers are more likely to be involved in a Tampa car accident
Food delivery drivers are among a group of occupants with the highest fatality rate in the United States.
But it’s not just drivers who are in danger during a crash. Everyone on the road is a potential victim. Many factors increase the risk of a food delivery driver car accident.
- Lack of driving experience – Many drivers who work for food delivery companies are young and inexperienced. Young drivers are more likely to make driving errors, speed, drive distracted, and get into a crash.
- Pressure to make fast deliveries – Most food delivery apps will “ban” drivers if they fall below a certain customer rating. Therefore, drivers often feel pressured to make quick deliveries to get high reviews and good tips. This can encourage reckless driving.
- More time on the road – Working for a food delivery company means that drivers will statistically be on the road more than others. This is especially true during the COVID-19 crisis as demand grows for food delivery services. With more miles behind the wheel, often at night and on unfamiliar roads, accidents are more likely to happen.
What to do if injured in a car accident with a food delivery driver in Tampa?
Contact the experienced injury attorneys at Darrigo & Diaz at (813) 774-3341
Getting food delivered to our homes, especially from hundreds of restaurants that never had that service, is one of the greatest conveniences of modern life. And, as we discovered during the COVID-19 stay home orders in 2020, these services have become essential.
But with this convenience comes increased risk, such as being in a car accident with a food delivery driver. If that happens to your or a loved one, don’t try to figure out the complicated issues of liability and insurance on your own, contact the experienced injury attorneys at Darrigo & Diaz for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can help.
At Darrigo and Diaz, we understand the confusion, frustration, and anger you may be feeling after sustaining an injury in an accident that was not your fault. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney Nadine Diaz, our firm has secured favorable outcomes for hundreds of clients in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. In fact, we are an esteemed member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, demonstrating our capability to never back down from a fight.
You can also take advantage of our remote services. As Tampa’s e-firm, we offer potential and existing clients the option to meet with us and hire us electronically, so you never have to visit our office. Call 813-774-3341 to learn more.