Boston Delivery Driver Accident Attorneys
The number of delivery services across the United States has grown rapidly in the last decade. Now, consumers can easily place an order on their phone and receive a package in two days or less. In addition, a massive gig-economy has grown around on-demand delivery drivers for local and chain restaurants throughout Boston. As convenient as these services are, they do not make our roads any safer.
Delivery drivers work on tight deadlines and are often rushed by customers and their employers to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. This pressure can cause them to make reckless driving maneuvers, ranging from speeding to illegal turns, and puts everyone on the road at risk of suffering serious injuries.
If you were injured by a delivery driver, then you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries in an auto accident claim. But these cases are rarely ever that simple, and you may have to deal with a dismissive insurance company before you can have your medical bills paid. Your best option is to contact an experienced Boston delivery driver accident attorney at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. Our legal team can review your case in a free consultation and use our more than 15 years of experience to advocate for your best interests. To get started on your case, call us at (617) 870-0907.
The demand for expedited shipping is higher than ever as more and more businesses move their products online. Amazon Prime has more than 150 million subscribers alone, many of whom take advantage of the company’s two-day shipping services. It is almost impossible to not see an Amazon delivery vehicle driving around Boston, as well as other major services like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL Post. In addition, a whole separate economy has sprung up around food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Postmates, and DoorDash.
While every driver should obey the law and act safely on the road, delivery drivers are often pressured to violate these laws in the name of profit. Delivery companies have grown by maximizing the number of orders they fulfill and reducing the number of vehicles they employ, which is a dangerous combination. Delivery vans and trucks are often filled to the brim with packages, and drivers are expected to deliver them at breakneck speeds.
Food delivery drivers face many of the same pressures. DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats all offer bonuses to drivers who complete orders early or on-time. Drivers may also receive bonuses if they complete a minimum number of orders in a short time or take on multiple orders at once. This can cause them to rush and ignore basic traffic laws as they speed between multiple pick-up and drop-off points.
Delivery drivers often:
- Perform dangerous turns
- Ignore traffic signals and signs
- Become distracted by GPS devices or phone notifications
- Work late hours and drive while fatigued
- Overload their vehicles
- Ignore important vehicle maintenance
Any of these actions could make a delivery driver and employer liable for a collision, especially if it results in a serious injury. Unfortunately, these accidents are almost always serious.
Major delivery companies employ large, heavy vehicles to fulfill their orders. Delivery vans often handle the last few miles of a route and are very common on the congested streets throughout Boston. These vehicles have specific weight limits, but delivery companies may be tempted to overload them to fulfill more orders. Given that most vans are top-heavy, overloading a delivery vehicle can cause it to roll over and severely injure nearby drivers and pedestrians.
Along with delivery vans, the majority of a delivery route is handled by a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. These massive vehicles must only be driven by experienced and certified truck drivers. If an inexperienced, fatigued, or intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel, it can result in a catastrophic truck accident. Even if this driver hits no one, there is still the danger of cargo spilling out onto the road and causing further harm.
Food delivery companies are becoming increasingly popular, and even more so since the start of the global pandemic. Companies such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates have made it convenient for consumers to order in and have their meals delivered to the safety of their homes. These companies have also created job opportunities for food delivery drivers, who are able to set their own schedules and pick and choose their deliveries.
Despite the benefits food delivery companies provide to communities, the fact remains that they put more vehicles on the roads at all times of the day and night. Inevitably, this leads to more auto accidents. After a crash caused by a delivery app driver, it can be complicated to determine who is liable for your injuries.
It is not difficult to meet delivery app driver requirements. To driver for a food delivery company, a driver must:
- Own or have access to a vehicle
- Meet certain driving requirements
- Pass a background check
- Carry a personal auto insurance policy
Food delivery companies provide auto insurance coverage that kicks in only under certain driving conditions. Most of these companies have insurance policies that apply only when the app driver is actively making deliveries. For example, Uber Eats provides two levels of coverage for its drivers:
- If the driver is working for the company but has not yet picked up the order to be delivered when an accident occurs, the company’s insurance policy will cover $50,000 in bodily injury per person or $100,000 for two or more people per accident, plus $25,000 for property damage.
- If a driver who has already picked up food for delivery is involved in an accident, the Uber Eats policy will cover up to $1 million.
These are the only situations in which the company’s policy provides coverage for accidents in which a driver is involved. In all other cases, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy applies.
DoorDash insurance coverage is even more limited. The policy purchased by the company only applies when the driver is in “active delivery.” In other words, the driver has picked up the order and is on the way to deliver the food. In this situation, the DoorDash policy will cover up to $1 million per accident in bodily injury and/or property damage. Otherwise, the only coverage option is the app driver’s personal policy.
Food delivery company commercial auto insurance policies only provide coverage for app driver accidents under certain, limited circumstances. In all other situations, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy applies. Like all other drivers in Massachusetts, food delivery drivers are required to carry the mandatory minimum liability auto insurance coverage. These minimum coverage limits are:
- $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $5,000 for property damage
- $8,000 for personal injury protection per person per accident
- $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury in uninsured motorist coverage
Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning victims of auto accidents must file a claim with their own auto insurance policy to receive compensation. However, if the cost of your injuries exceeds your policy limit, then you may be able to pursue a third-party claim against the delivery driver’s insurance policy. In addition, if you were injured as a pedestrian or cyclist and do not have auto insurance, filing a third-party claim may be your only option.
Pursuing a claim against a delivery company can be complicated. Not only are these companies represented by powerful insurance companies that will not want to pay out on your claim, but it may also be unclear which company you can file a claim with. For example, many Amazon delivery drivers actually work for third-party companies that are contracted by Amazon. In these cases, you will have to file your claim with that company, not Amazon, but this may not be obvious until an attorney digs into the details of your case.
With app-based deliveries handled by companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates, you will also need to determine whether the driver’s insurance policy or the delivery company’s insurance policy applies to your case. Companies like DoorDash and Postmates offer extra auto insurance that only goes into effect if a claim is worth more than the driver’s policy. These policies may also only apply to specific scenarios, such as when the driver has already picked up an order. Given how complicated these policies can be, it is important to speak with an attorney to determine what policy you can file a claim against.
If your accident involved a USPS delivery van, then the process can become more complicated. While you still can pursue compensation through your own insurance company, you may have to file a government tort claim with USPS if your claim goes above your policy limit. Government vehicle accident claims have strict deadlines, and you must follow a specific procedure to receive compensation from USPS. Pursuing a claim without consulting a lawyer can put your claim in jeopardy of being rejected.
Receiving compensation in an auto accident claim is rarely simple, and it can only become more complicated when a major delivery company and insurance company are involved. Entering into negotiations with an insurance adjuster on your own can be a terrible mistake. Adjusters are trained to devalue claims and convince accident victims to accept lowball offers.
Instead of handling a claim on your own, reach out to a Boston auto accident attorney at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. Our founding attorney, Christopher DiBella, has nearly 20 years of experience representing accident victims throughout Boston. He can explain the true value of your claim in a free consultation and advocate for full compensation from the delivery company that caused your injuries. In addition, our firm works on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless we win your claim. Do not hesitate to call us at (617) 870-0907 to learn how we can represent you after a delivery vehicle accident.