After experiencing quarantine during the beginning of the pandemic, more and more restaurants now offer delivery options (such as UberEats) to increase sales. Additionally, grocery stores are also providing delivery as a option. This demand has resulted in an increased need for delivery drivers.
The need for more delivery drivers has provided some with additional opportunities for income. However, many of these drivers may start their jobs before understanding the impact of what could happen should they find themselves involved in an accident.
Ordinarily, if you are driving your own personal vehicle and are in an accident, your car insurance carrier would pay for any economic damages for any personal injuries you sustain (such as medical expenses). Your insurer will do so regardless of whether you caused the accident.
If you were responsible for the accident, you may be liable to others who have suffered noneconomic damages as a result (i.e., pain and suffering). In that case, your car insurance carrier should provide you with an attorney in order to help defend yourself. But what happens if you are responsible for causing an accident when using your vehicle as a food delivery vehicle? It can certainly change many aspects of the outcome.
Exclusion in Your Policy
In fact, most insurance policies include an exclusion for those who use their car as a business. In other words, when a food delivery driver is responsible for an accident in Michigan, his or her insurance policy may not cover them because of a business-use exclusion in the policy. This is true regardless of whether they are an employee or an independent contractor.
Additionally, if you have failed to alert your auto insurance company as to your new food delivery service job, it can choose to deny your claim coverage all together. This would mean that you would be responsible for others’ injuries or damages caused by the accident.
Therefore, if you are using your personal car for food delivery, it’s important that you know whether there is a business-use exclusion in your personal auto insurance policy. If there is, you will want to see if the delivery service you work for provides additional coverage. If it does not, then you will want to obtain commercial auto insurance to ensure that you are adequately covered.
Were You “On the Clock?”
One of the biggest factors in determining who pays for damages is whether or not you were “on the clock” when the accident occurred. It’s easier to argue that a driver is on the clock if he or she is driving to a restaurant to pick up an order or driving to a residence to deliver the order. But what about in between? What about when you’re waiting to receive an order?
The food delivery service companies will not want to be responsible for any damages in the event of an accident. Therefore, they will try to argue that the accident occurred on your own personal time.
Those who own and use their vehicles for business are obligated to keep their vehicles in proper working condition. It’s also important to report your new job to your insurance company and purchase the additional insurance coverage to protect you accordingly.
The Attorneys at Miller & Tischler, P.C. Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a ridesharing accident or with a food delivery service driver, you should not have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Injuries can be quite severe, often leading to chronic pain and long-lasting issues.
The Michigan personal injury attorneys at Miller & Tischler, P.C. can help you to fight for the compensation that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!