With more people shopping online for anything from clothing to groceries to takeout food, the number of delivery drivers on the road has skyrocketed. Delivery trucks and cars are a common sight in every neighborhood. Increased numbers of delivery drivers on the road can mean an increase in accidents.

Delivery drivers may cause accidents when they are in a rush to get food and other products to customers. When a delivery driver causes a car accident, the question arises who may be held responsible in a personal injury lawsuit.

Common Causes of Delivery Driver Accidents

Delivery drivers are under a great deal of pressure to make deliveries on time which can mean that an individual driver is clocking lots of time and lots of mileage on a given day. Fatigue and frustration can lead to a number of causes of accidents including:

  • Drowsy driving caused by too many hours on the road
  • Distracted driving caused by the use of GPS and company cell phone apps
  • Failing to obey traffic signals
  • Speeding in order to get to the delivery destination quickly
  • Aggressive driving behavior
  • Inexperience driving a delivery vehicle
  • Negligent hiring of drivers with bad records
  • Unreasonable delivery deadlines
  • Poor truck or vehicle maintenance

Who is Responsible for a Delivery Driver Accident?

If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident with a delivery driver and it wasn’t your fault, then who is responsible for your injuries? The answer to this question will depend on the circumstances. If a driver is an independent contractor and essentially works for himself, then they would be the responsible party. However, if a driver is employed by a company and causes an accident while driving for that company, the employer may also be held responsible. Employers are generally held responsible for the negligent conduct of their employees. Companies such as FedEx and UPS usually hire drivers as employees, who drive company trucks. Drivers who work with companies such as Instacart and Grubhub are generally independent contractors who operate their own vehicles.

Under certain circumstances, a claim may be brought directly against the employer of the delivery driver. This is the case if the negligence of the employer is a substantial factor in causing the accident. If an employer, for instance, engages in negligent hiring and fails to vet its drivers before allowing them to operate delivery vehicles, that employer may be liable.

Scope of Employment

An employer may be held liable if the delivery driver was acting in his or her capacity as an employee when the accident occurred.

The legal term for this concept is “acting in the course and scope of employment.” Insurance companies may insure delivery drivers in the name of the employer.

However, insurance companies may argue that the employee was acting outside the scope of his employment. This situation may occur if a person goes on a different route not related to his or her work or if he or she makes extra stops for personal reasons.

Importance of Proving Employment

Proving that drivers are working within the scope of their employment is often very important in cases involving delivery driver accidents.

This is because if the employee is found to be acting outside the scope of his or her employment, the employer may not be held liable. This may mean that the victim can only receive compensation from the driver or the insurance company, but not directly from the employer.

Cases Involving Delivery Drivers

One case occurred when a Broward County woman was hit by a pizza delivery driver. The pizza restaurant that employed the man said that the driver was not acting as an employee at the time of the crash. Meanwhile, the victim was permanently injured and unable to work again.

The jury found that the driver was not acting within the scope of his employment when the crash occurred. This made a dramatic difference in the amount of money that the jury awarded the plaintiff.

If you’ve been hurt, you may need the help of a personal injury lawyer

If you were injured by a delivery driver, an auto accident lawyer in Florida may be able to help. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 or fill out our contact form for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.