Grocery store food deliveries have become increasingly popular over the years. And with an increase in demand comes more and more delivery drivers hitting the Texas roads each day. While these services are convenient and can reduce a lot of burden for families when it comes to time and money, the increasing numbers of delivery drivers on Texas roads are likely to lead to a greater number of motor vehicle accidents, and thus life-changing injuries and even wrongful deaths.
We want to ensure that those affected have a general understanding of the complexities involved with these fairly new types of cases. It is generally in your best interest to consult with an injury attorney who can give you a better evaluation of the damages that may be associated with your claim. If you or a loved one have been injured by a grocery store delivery driver in San Antonio, call us at (210) 960-3939 or send us a message online to schedule a free consultation.
Grocery Delivery is Growing in Popularity, Which Means Greater Risk
There is an unmistakable benefit to grocery delivery services like Shipt, Instacart, and Peapod, as well as the growing number of in-house grocery delivery concerns from HEB, Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods, and others as they compete to “out-deliver” their competitors.
When your family is out of milk, bread, and eggs, using a service like Instacart can feel like an incredibly convenient way to fill a grocery order into a packed schedule. The number of people in the U.S. who shop for groceries online is still a minority, but it’s becoming increasingly popular.
According to a 2019 survey, more than 36% of Internet users have bought groceries online, which is up from the 23% of users who reported the same activity in 2018. As the number of grocery delivery services become even more common, we will likely see even more delivery driver crashes. Most third-party delivery services pay their drivers based on a complicated formula that considers a number of factors, such as the size of the order, the distance traveled for the order, and the driver’s reviews.
Like rideshare companies and online food delivery companies, grocery delivery companies have been cutting pay rates and bonuses as a way to stay competitive and profitable. Because of this, grocery delivery drivers are struggling to make a living and feel compelled to push themselves to the limit and work long hours, thus creating a greater risk to others on the roads at the same time, as the stress leads them to drive faster than usual and to drive drowsy more often.
Delivery Drivers Are Commercial Drivers Who May Result in Denied Coverage
As is the case with all commercial drivers, grocery delivery drivers are required to operate their vehicles safely and follow the rules of the road. They are also required to carry proof of insurance, to show they are able to prove financial responsibility in case of an accident. In many cases, their personal insurance policies are insufficient to cover delivery driving. Most standard policies have a clause that denies coverage when driving for profit and you have a crash. This clause is often cited by the insurance company when an injured accident victim makes a claim against a delivery driver who is using their own personal vehicle to make money.
Unfortunately, many grocery delivery drivers seem surprised that their personal auto insurance policies won’t cover their work as a delivery driver. Many assume that any insurance policy means they’re covered for commercial deliveries. However, the need for a delivery driver to carry a commercial auto insurance policy is very real.
That is because commercial auto insurance policies cover vehicles that are either owned by a business or used for a business purpose. If the driver causes a crash while on the job, they take the place of a driver’s personal liability insurance. Unlike rideshare and some restaurant food delivery companies, most grocery delivery services do not provide commercial auto insurance for their independent contractors, although many responsible delivery drivers do purchase their own commercial coverage.
What Should I Do if I Was Injured by a Grocery Delivery Driver?
If you were injured in an auto accident caused by a grocery delivery driver with a commercial insurance policy, you will have to file a claim with their insurance company; a process that is much easier when you have a lawyer who can explain your legal options. This is important because a grocery delivery driver’s insurance company will always want to protect their company, which means they will try to pay as little as possible to the accident victim. While an employer is ultimately liable for the acts of its employees, this dynamic becomes more complex when the driver is considered an independent contractor.
When a delivery driver causes a crash, you’ll understandably turn your attention to the billion-dollar company that they work for. One example of this comes when you look at the grocery delivery service known as Instacart, which is a very popular service in San Antonio, as well as throughout Texas and nationwide. They are the primary delivery service for several supermarket chains in Texas.
When a driver signs up to deliver groceries for Instacart, they are required to sign a contract that outlines the terms and conditions of their relationship with the company. A significant portion of Instacart’s driver agreement is designed to make it difficult for anyone to hold them liable for a car crash—or anything else. The agreement also states that Instacart does not provide commercial auto insurance for drivers, and that, even in jurisdictions that require commercial auto insurance, obtaining such insurance is the responsibility of the independent contractor.
Put simply, like many other grocery delivery companies, Instacart states right in their driver agreement that they are responsible for neither providing nor confirming that their independent contractor drivers have the proper insurance coverage.
A Grocery Delivery Service May Be Held Liable for Negligent Hiring
Even though grocery delivery app companies have tried to shield themselves from many areas of liability, there is one area of responsibility such companies may be unable to avoid. That comes with their hiring processes and procedures and it may be possible to hold such a company responsible for negligent hiring practices if it can be proven that they hired a driver with any of the following in their background:
- A record of dangerous driving
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse
- A suspended license
- A known medical condition that makes driving unsafe
Since grocery delivery apps are a relatively new phenomenon, the laws surrounding their potential liability are still developing, which means we can help determine how the law forms around these important issues. Anyone who has been injured in an accident caused by the driver of a grocery delivery vehicle, especially if the driver works with a company like Instacart or Shipt, you have to work with an attorney who understands the issues related to determining liability and getting you the compensation needed to return your life to something as close to “normal” as possible. Based on the complications contained in the driver’s contracts and their insurance coverage, you need an experienced attorney to help you determine liability issues and to negotiate with the insurance company or companies, who will always try to limit their payout to anyone.
Why You Need An Experienced San Antonio Auto Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a San Antonio or Bexar County motor vehicle accident that was caused by someone delivering groceries on behalf of a major delivery app, it is important to choose the right attorney to help you through the process to get the best possible settlement.
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer in San Antonio doesn’t have to be a difficult process. The best personal injury lawyer will have the following characteristics:
- Compassionate – Because you are in one of the most stressful and difficult situations you have ever dealt with, compassion is one of the most important characteristics for your attorney to possess. The best attorney will be empathetic about your current state and understand your suffering.
- Responsive – You need an attorney who is 100% focused on your case. They should respond swiftly to your questions and concerns.
- Involved – The best attorney is involved in every aspect of your case. They won’t pass it off to let staff members such as paralegals or legal assistants.
- Experienced – Your lawyer needs a solid track record of success against auto insurance companies. They also need experience prosecuting car accident cases like yours.
- Positive Reputation – The best lawyer will have positive testimonials from past and current clients. They should also be recognized by their peers for their achievements.
How is Fault Determined in a Grocery Delivery Truck Accident?
Texas is a “fault” state, which means that Texas law holds the at-fault party liable for compensating the injured party. In other words, whoever causes the car wreck is responsible for paying all relevant damages. Determining liability in an auto accident can sometimes be very easy, but it can also be quite difficult especially in regard to these fairly new types of cases involving grocery delivery drivers. Proving fault is all based on evidence.
If an at-fault driver fails to admit their fault in the accident, which is highly likely when they are driving for a large company, it is necessary to get as many photographs as possible and to gather as many statements as possible to insurance companies or authorities, or witness interviews. Everything will be used to make sure who was at-fault. The insurance companies have to review the evidence and determine who is responsible for causing the accident. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies liability and refuses responsibility, a lawsuit will be the only option for an injured accident victim to receive justice and receive the compensation they deserve.
Contact Us for Legal Representation Today
Over 200,000 injuries occur every year on Texas roads due to crashes, which amounts to an injury every two minutes on average. Fault in car wrecks, especially with those involving grocery delivery drivers, is often disputed and insurance adjusters do not always have your best interest at heart.
What happens when your claim is denied? You need an experienced San Antonio car accident attorney who will stick up for you and fight for your rights to compensation. Finding an attorney with experience handling grocery delivery driver accidents is also helpful in ensuring that you will receive the best representation.