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Delivery Driver Auto Accidents

Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash Delivery Driver Auto Accidents: Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer Explains Liability

Understanding Your Rights After Delivery Driver Auto Accidents With Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash Drivers in Atlanta, GA

While most restaurants and takeout food places may still employ their own delivery drivers, many establishments are relying on services like Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash to deliver meals. This has been particularly true since the pandemic, where Grubhub saw a 39% increase in users in 2020 generating over $1.8 billion in revenue. The overall trend also grew in 2020, where 48% of surveyed Americans admitted to using either Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates for takeout delivery with most users ordering multiple times. While these services have added convenience, our Atlanta auto accident lawyers know these services have also added risks on our roads for delivery driver auto accidents.

For instance, a research study involving ridesharing apps has found they have increased traffic fatalities by 3% per year. While 3% does not sound like a large increase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are roughly 36,100 motor vehicle fatalities each year. That means a 3% increase in traffic fatalities causes almost an additional 1,100 deaths from just ridesharing services. Although the research study was just surveying ridesharing apps, there is no reason to believe that food delivery apps do not contribute to this trend. Particularly considering that most delivery drivers are operating in congested urban areas, often at night, and usually when weather conditions are more dangerous, hence why customers did not go out to eat or pickup the meal themselves.

Here at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, our Atlanta auto accident lawyer knows that delivery driver auto accidents with Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash can be devastating and result in serious personal injuries or wrongful death. Many times the causes of delivery driver accidents are avoidable with ordinary care when driving a vehicle. Unfortunately, far too many delivery drivers fail to exercise that level of care which can result in reckless, careless, and downright negligent motor vehicle wrecks throughout Georgia. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in any auto accident in Georgia, especially a delivery driver auto accident with Grubhub, Uber Eats, or Door Dash, call 404-549-6742 for a FREE consultation or send us a message through our “contact us” box available here.

Recovering Compensation in an Atlanta Auto Accident

Victims and families may be entitled to compensation in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver. A driver is negligent when he or she fails to use reasonable care in the use or operation of a motor vehicle. Some examples of negligent driving include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Improper left turns
  • Following too closely/rear end collisions
  • Failure to yield
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Driving drunk or driving drugged
  • Distracted driving
  • Improper lane changes, and
  • Many other common causes of negligent driving.

Generally, a negligent driver will be reasonable for paying a victim or a family’s “damages.” “Damages” is the measure of relief that a party may obtain in a lawsuit. In personal injury actions, damages are typically monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and for pain and suffering.

Why Delivery Driver Auto Accidents Are Not Like Normal Auto Accidents

If you have been injured by a delivery driver in an auto accident, it may appear like it is a normal type of motor vehicle crash. Unfortunately, delivery driver accidents with Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash are anything but normal.

These types of cases are made more complex by the layers of liability that these delivery food companies create to insulate themselves from a lawsuit. Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft also act in this way. They do this by hiring drivers as “independent contractors” or “freelancers,” rather than as employees. This is significant because an employer is usually liable for the negligent actions of their employees through the legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior.” It is a type of vicarious liability, meaning one person’s liability can be imputed on another person or business.

But that vicarious liability does not usually transfer over for independent contractors or freelancers. The law typically views these types of individuals as separate from an employer. Therefore, these large companies argue that a negligent delivery driver auto accident will not impute liability on them.

As a result, it means that an injured victim can only sue the individual driver, who often cannot pay your medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering, rather than the large corporation which is making the bulk of the profit. At the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, we do not think that is fair.

Shifts in the Law to Hold Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash Liable For Delivery Driver Auto Accidents

Even though these large companies started by insulating themselves by labeling drivers as freelancers or independent contractors, fortunately the law has evolved through aggressive advocacy of personal injury lawyers like us. More and more courts are holding these large companies liable or partially liable instead of holding a driver fully responsible. This is not always the outcome, but it has created a shift in liability and attitudes by these companies for insuring their drivers to protect victims.

For instance, Uber Eats and DoorDash now offer a commercial auto insurance policy that covers drivers for up to $1 million in bodily injury and property damage during a delivery. Postmates similarly offers an “excess” or umbrella policy of up to $1 million dollars for property damage or personal injuries caused during a delivery.

However, Grubhub has still not offered any cover and continues to hide behind legal barriers.

Proving Liability in a Delivery Driver Auto Accident Against Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash

Although these large companies have attempted to shield themselves from liability, an aggressive Atlanta auto accident lawyer like ours at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel can help pierce that shield to recover compensation for victims and their families. There are generally two ways to do this.

Holding the Delivery Company Liable Through the Actions of Their Drivers

The first way is to establish negligence on the delivery driver and hold the delivery company liable under the normal rules of vicarious liability and respondeat superior. This can be done through arguments such as the following:

  • The delivery company is making money off the driver even though the driver is labeled as a non-employee
  • But for the directions of the delivery company, the accident would not have occurred
  • The auto accident occurred while the delivery app was open and there was an active delivery occurring
  • The delivery company has obtained an insurance policy to cover a driver, showing evidence even they believe they are responsible for drivers
  • Delivery companies pay their drivers through direct deposit
  • It is against public policy to allow a delivery company to avoid the burden of liability but enjoy the benefit of profit, and
  • Many other arguments that may apply to the facts in your case.

Holding the Delivery Company Liable Through Negligent Hiring or Supervision

The second way is to establish negligence directly against the delivery company for its actions in causing or contributing to the crash. This can be done through a negligent hiring or supervision claim.

For instance, if Grubhub, Uber Eats, or DoorDash hires a driver who has a suspended license for drunk driving accidents and the driver causes a delivery auto accident while intoxicated, there is a strong case for negligent hiring. Even though these companies will argue that they did not hire the driver as an employer, that does not matter because all companies have an application process and vet their drivers. They also monitor their driver’s conduct through reviews. If a driver has been acting reckless and dangerous but a delivery company fails to take action to protect others on the roads, that could result in direct liability against the delivery company.

In addition, these delivery companies must also monitor and supervise their drivers. If they allow a delivery driver to work for an excessive period of time without rest, it could result in liability for a fatigued driving accident. For example, if a driver is allowed to drive for 12-14 hours and falls asleep at the wheel, the delivery company may be liable in the same way that a trucking company could be liable under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for unsafe delivery schedules or driver schedules.

Using Both Theories to Recover Compensation

Generally, in any type of delivery driver auto accident in Georgia, our Atlanta auto accident lawyer will assert these two causes of action (or claims) in your case. This is known as “alternative pleading” and it allows you to assert several claims that you then will have to prove in the discovery phase of your case. It may allow you to recover compensation under one or both claims.

Common Injuries in a Delivery Driver Auto Accident

Although all motor vehicle accidents could result in serious personal injuries, delivery driver auto accidents are particularly likely to cause serious personal injuries because drivers are often rushing, fatigued, or are distracted from using an app or GPS to follow directions. As a result, delivery driver auto accidents in Atlanta, Georgia can result in disabling and catastrophic personal injuries including the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
  • Amputations or loss of a limb
  • Broken bones or fractured bones
  • Nerve injuries or nerve damage
  • Organ injuries or organ damage
  • Blindness or loss of eyesight (partial or full)
  • Significant scarring or disfigurement
  • Burn injuries or burn damage
  • Torn muscles, ligaments, or tendons
  • Joint replacement surgery
  • Dislocations or separations, especially of the shoulder, hip, or knee
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Neck injuries or back injuries
  • Wrongful death, and
  • Other injuries resulting in physical, emotional and financial harm for a family.

Were You Injured in a Delivery Driver Auto Accident in Georgia? Ask Our Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyers For Help

If you or a loved one were seriously injured, or if a loved one was wrongfully killed, in any type of motor vehicle wreck, call the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation under Georgia law. This is particularly true if you or a loved one were injured in a delivery driver auto accident. These types of cases have special rules and traps that less-experienced and passive lawyers may fall prey to. Ask our experienced and aggressive lawyer to protect your rights during a free phone call by dialing 404-549-6742 or by sending us a private and confidential message through our “contact us” box available here.