With the COVID-19 crisis leading to more food delivery drivers on the roads, Treasure Coast auto accidents have seen slight uptick
Life on the Treasure Coast has been different since COVID-19 struck. Masks are required in nearly all public places. Many businesses have altered operations to contactless procedures. And social distancing continues to be the norm. But one of the biggest changes to occur on the Treasure Coast since the coronavirus outbreak is the increase in business for on-demand food delivery apps, such as Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash.
Food delivery orders surge on the Treasure Coast
Before COVID-19, about 20 percent of restaurant orders were placed on third party delivery apps. Now, during the COVID-19 era, it’s around 75 percent.
To meet demand for the surge in food delivery and takeout orders on the Treasure Coast, companies such as Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash are hiring more drivers. While driving for food apps is a great way to make extra income—especially for those who were laid off or collecting unemployment due to COVID-19—there has been a slight uptick in accidents involving food delivery drivers in St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties.
Food delivery drivers are more likely to be involved in a Treasure Coast auto accident
Driving for a delivery service has one of the highest fatality rates in the United States. On the Treasure Coast, food delivery drivers are more likely to be involved in an auto accident due to a variety of factors, including:
- Lack of driving inexperience
A high number of individuals who drive for food delivery companies on the Treasure Coast are young, ranging from 18 to 25-years-old. Young, inexperienced drivers are more likely to make driving errors, speed, drive distracted, and get into a crash.
- Pressure to deliver food fast
Most food delivery apps will “ban” drivers if they fall below a certain customer rating. Therefore, drivers often feel pressured to make fast deliveries to get higher reviews and better tips. With an incentive to drive faster, food delivery apps can encourage reckless driving.
- More time behind the wheel
It goes without saying: The more time you spend on the road, the greater chance you have of being in an accident. But with the onslaught of food app orders on the Treasure Coast since COVID-19, drivers for these companies are putting in more hours, driving further distances, and often traveling at night or on unfamiliar roads. Under these conditions, accidents are more likely to happen.
Being involved in a Treasure Coast auto accident is stressful enough, regardless of whom the other driver is. But, auto accidents involving drivers of third party delivery companies, such as Uber Eats, Postmates, GrubHub, and DoorDash, add an extra layer of stress and complication.
We explain below.
Why are car accidents with food delivery drivers complicated?
Just like with rideshare apps, such as Uber and Lyft, food delivery apps consider their drivers to be independent contractors—not employees. This means that drivers are “in business for themselves” and are ineligible for overtime, wage protection, and insurance. It also prevents the companies from facing as much liability in the case of an accident.
Many people assume that if they are injured in an accident with a car being driven by an Uber driver or Postmates driver that they can sue the parent company for lots of money. While under certain circumstances you can sue big companies like Uber, Postmates, DoorDash and GrubHub, the cases are extremely complicated and complex. If you believe you have a case against a rideshare app or food delivery app, call our offices immediately to speak to our experienced Treasure Coast injury attorneys. We can and have gone head-to-head with big corporations and won.
Yet, for most auto accident cases involving food delivery drivers the parent company has limited liability.
Can you sue UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub or DoorDash?
Food delivery app companies like UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub and DoorDash do not want bad press involving their drivers causing accidents. That’s why some of these companies have acquired their own liability coverage. However, whether or not this coverage applies depends on a few factors.
- In what phase of the delivery did the accident happen? Almost all food delivery apps will not cover accidents that occur while the driver is waiting to take an order. Accidents may only be covered if the crash occurs while the driver is going to the restaurant to pick up the order or to the customers house to deliver the order. If the crash occurs while the driver is leaving the customers home, the company will probably not assume liability.
- What food delivery app was the driver working for? Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash all have a $1 million liability policy that applies during certain phases of the delivery (see previous point). These companies also have occupational accident coverage for their drivers if they are hurt on the job. However, GrubHub offers no insurance protection at all.
- How much personal insurance does the driver have? All food delivery companies require drivers to show proof of insurance before they can start working with the app. Yet, in the State of Florida, drivers are only required to carry the bare minimum amount of personal insurance, which is $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage liability. This amount will not cover most Treasure Coast accident resulting in serious injuries.
How can you protect yourself from accidents with food delivery drivers?
Accidents are just that—accidents. You can’t predict or prepare for them. However, you can protect yourself from being further hurt in the aftermath with underinsured motorist coverage. This type of policy covers you if someone else isn’t carrying sufficient insurance. Check out our blog on uninsured motorist coverage to learn more.
What to do if injured in an auto accident with a food delivery driver on the Treasure Coast?
Call (866) 930-6435 to immediately speak with the experienced Treasure Coast injury attorneys at Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you likely feel confused or overwhelmed by what to do next. Fortunately, our Treasure Coast accident attorneys are here to guide you through the entire process. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney and National Top 100 Trial Attorney Steve Hoskins, our firm has helped thousands of Treasure Coast residents and their families recover from serious car and truck accidents. Our car injury lawyers will investigate your accident, handle the insurance companies for you, and if necessary, take your case to court trial. We will take care of all the legal work so you can focus on what matters most: getting better.
At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, you are more than a number. We have the resources of a large law firm but pride ourselves on providing a personalized and small-firm feel for our clients. We can go up against major corporations, such as Uber, Postmates, GrubHub and DoorDash, to ensure you and your family receive the care and compensation you need both now and in the future.
Call 866-930-6435 immediately for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case.
Get the legal help you need without leaving your home
Our Treasure Coast accident attorneys are available 24/7 to provide the answers and help you deserve. We have four convenient office locations in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee, but if you can’t come to us, you can get the protection you need and hire us electronically from home. We can then start working on your case in minutes. We also work on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees or costs unless we win your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Treasure Coat auto accident, call Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd today at 866-930-6435 now.