Posted On December 20, 2021 Personal Injury
These days, gig economy drivers play a big part in making the holidays happen, delivering packages containing holiday decor, presents ordered online, and even catered meals for parties.
There are pros and cons to gig work, especially around the holidays. Being able to control your work schedule allows you to be there for the kids’ holiday concerts and the big Christmas party without having to worry about requesting time off, and you can always pick up an extra route to earn a little more cash. However, the combination of the extra busy holiday season and the chilly weather this time of year tends to make the worst things about being a gig economy delivery driver even worse.
If you’re a gig economy delivery driver for Amazon Flex, Dispatch, DeliverThat, DoorDash, Shipt, or any other service or company, here’s what you need to know about the added dangers you could be facing during the holidays.
Someone has to deliver the piles of packages that accompany shoppers’ online holiday shopping frenzies. For gig delivery drivers who drop off packages directly to buyers’ addresses, the overload of orders can put even more strain upon the already difficult delivery schedule.
Amazon Flex gig drivers, for example, are notoriously rushed along their routes, as evidenced by Business Insider’s accounts of drivers reporting that they have to skip bathroom breaks and “pee in bottles” to meet the strict time constraints imposed upon them throughout the year. With these drivers already working at breakneck speeds, the added holiday rush only threatens to make this unsustainable pace even more unmanageable.
What happens when delivery drivers are rushed beyond their capabilities to safely do their jobs? Too often, they have to compromise on the safety precautions that are necessary to protect themselves and others around them. Behind the wheel, cutting corners on safety can put everyone on the roadway or in the vicinity at risk. Even on foot, delivery drivers face greater risks of falling and getting seriously hurt when they can’t afford to take the time to survey their surroundings for potential safety hazards.
The high volume of orders and demand for rushed shipping is only part of the equation when it comes to motor vehicle accident risks. Traffic congestion around shopping centers, as well as on the highways most commonly used to make your way home for the holidays, can add to the likelihood of a collision.
Motorists are often preoccupied this time of year, but in some instances, it’s not only that drivers have too much on their minds. Partygoers who overindulge in eggnog, punch, and other alcoholic beverages may wind up significantly impaired behind the wheel, putting everyone else on the road in danger.
In regions where freezing temperatures accompany the holiday season, winter weather raises the risks even further. Whether a full-fledged white Christmas is expected or just a bit of icy buildup on less-traveled roadways, the slippery conditions can contribute to serious accidents. Slowing down and taking extra safety precautions is essential in this type of weather—and that’s especially bad news if you’re already struggling to get through your delivery route on time.
Factors like increased traffic congestion, distracted or impaired drivers, and poor road conditions can raise the risks of a motor vehicle collision for everyone on the roadway. However, when you make your living by driving around delivering orders or packages, you’re spending more time at risk of a crash than the average person.
If an accident occurs while you’re on the road performing gig delivery services, getting compensation may be more complicated. Since you’re not an employee but rather an independent contractor of the company, you’re likely ineligible for coverage through worker’s compensation insurance.
Different companies in the gig economy have different policies regarding any injury insurance they may provide for drivers, and your own or other motorists’ insurance companies may also be involved in the situation. It often takes an experienced attorney to make sense of the different policies, regulations, and theories of liability that come into play in a car accident case involving gig economy delivery drivers.
The dangers posed by icy, snowy conditions are just as prevalent on sidewalks and walkways as they are on the road. Once a gig delivery driver exits their vehicle and continues the trek to the customer’s home on foot, those slippery conditions can constitute a slip and fall risk. Icy conditions on the pavement can be almost invisible, especially when you’re hurrying to drop off the package and get back on the road. A single unlucky step on a negligently maintained icy surface could be enough to send you sprawling to the ground, potentially suffering severe injuries.
Too many slip and fall victims attempt to just get up, brush themselves off, and go about their business. Because it’s “just” a fall, they mistakenly believe that they don’t need to document the accident or undergo a thorough medical examination. If your injuries turn out to be more serious than you expected, not doing these things could turn out to be a big misstep.
Ultimately, the combination of the unique factors that arise at this time of year makes the holiday season an especially dangerous time to be a gig economy delivery driver. If you have been injured while working as a gig economy driver, you deserve to have someone investigate potential sources of compensation and advocate for you.