It’s only after an accident occurs that many app-based food delivery drivers think to ask, “Am I protected as a DoorDash driver?”
By this time, it may be too late. You’ve already suffered injuries when a negligent motorist hit you while you were working for DoorDash. You need and deserve financial compensation, but getting the money you’re entitled to isn’t a simple process. Car accident injury claims that involve gig work, like DoorDash delivery, are complicated.
The delivery driver injury attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. can help you navigate the complex claims process and identify all sources of insurance coverage available to you. We’ll fight for the money you deserve and handle every aspect of your claim, all at no upfront cost. The consultation is free, confidential, and risk-free. Just call 866-778-5500 or complete our online form today to speak to an experienced member of our legal team.
A car accident, especially one that leaves you injured, can bring life as you know it to a sudden halt. One moment, you’re hustling to deliver orders and maximize your earning potential; the next, the injuries to your body have slowed you down. You can’t make deliveries, you can’t earn an income, and you may not be able to do things like walk or take care of yourself independently.
It’s no wonder a car accident can leave injured DoorDash drivers with a lot of questions and a great deal to worry about.
What should you do after being in a food delivery service accident in New Jersey? The most urgent concern is what the injured driver should do in the immediate aftermath of a crash.
Even though you were driving for DoorDash at the time of the crash, your first priority needs to be your health and safety and that of any others involved in the collision. Make sure you are in a safe place where you won’t come to further harm, and take steps to address any immediate injuries, like putting pressure on a wound to stop it from bleeding.
Call 911 to report the accident and request help from police and emergency medical services. Cooperate with the officer’s questions and provide your driver’s license and insurance information. Allow emergency medical technicians to examine you and, if needed, take you to the hospital for immediate evaluation. If your injuries don’t require such urgent attention, you should still see a medical professional as soon as possible after you leave the scene of the crash.
Because you were on the job at the time, you should notify DoorDash of the accident. You can do this through the DoorDash app or by calling the company’s 24/7 dasher support phone number. You will also need to notify all relevant insurance companies, including your own personal auto insurer, DoorDash’s insurer, and the other motorist’s insurer. However, drivers often encounter pitfalls in talking to insurance companies that can later hurt their claims.
If you must contact these insurance companies yourself, keep the conversation short and to the point, which is to notify them of a crash. You don’t need to—and shouldn’t—discuss fault for the crash or the extent of your injuries at this time. If possible, reach out to experienced lawyers for food delivery service accidents in New Jersey for help before contacting the insurers. An attorney can give you tips on how to approach the conversation or potentially handle this task on your behalf.
Know your legal options.
Unlike rideshare companies Uber and Lyft, which transport passengers, DoorDash hasn’t released safety data that indicates the number of crashes its drivers are involved in. Since this data isn’t available, we have to look at data that reflects gig work accidents, injuries, and fatalities more broadly.
What this data tells us is that accidents and assaults involving gig workers who drive for a living are all too common. In fact, NPR reported in April 2022 that more than 50 gig workers had been killed on the job since 2017.
The victims included not only DoorDash drivers delivering food but also Uber and Lyft drivers transporting passengers, as well as other gig workers. This figure encompassed not only drivers killed in accidents but also those who were the victim of violent assaults. It doesn’t include the DoorDash drivers who survive collisions but suffer significant—sometimes life-changing—injuries. Still, this data offers insight into the dangers DoorDash delivery drivers and other gig workers face.
As a DoorDash delivery driver, you spend more time on the road than someone who doesn’t drive for a living. That increased exposure also increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident. That’s not because DoorDash delivery drivers are necessarily more dangerous than other motorists, but because you spend more time sharing the road with other drivers who may not be as responsible behind the wheel as you are. Speeding, tailgating, and driving while distracted or impaired are some of the most common causes of car accidents that leave delivery drivers injured.
A DoorDash delivery driver injured through another driver’s negligence can seek compensation for a variety of damages, both economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include unpaid medical costs, future medical expenses, and lost wages. Non-economic damages encompass the pain and suffering a driver’s injuries cause.
The compensation for these damages typically comes from one or more party’s insurance coverage. In a claim that involves an NJ DoorDash driver accident, unraveling the different sources of insurance coverage is complex.
In New Jersey, a driver’s own auto insurance company is typically responsible for paying for their medical bills that arise from a motor vehicle collision. This is because New Jersey is a no-fault state, in which each driver’s insurer pays for their own medical expenses regardless of who is at fault.
The problem arises when the accident involves gig work, such as delivering food for DoorDash.
Most “Dashers” only have a personal auto insurance policy, yet many insurance companies consider DoorDash food delivery work to be outside of the circumstances a personal policy covers. Unfortunately, DoorDash delivery drivers often aren’t aware of this.
The company’s Independent Contractor Agreement (last updated April 2023) states that “Contractor shall at all times during the term of this Agreement maintain current insurance in amounts and of types required by law to provide the Contracted Services and cover Contractor during performance of the Contracted Services, at their own expense.” The company doesn’t specify that, in many situations, this means that the delivery driver needs to purchase either a commercial insurance policy or a separate endorsement to cover their work for the app-based delivery service.
If you didn’t find out that your personal insurance coverage wasn’t sufficient for DoorDash delivery work until after the accident occurred, you’re far from alone. Many DoorDash delivery drivers have experienced their own auto insurance company denying a claim that involved an accident while driving for DoorDash, leaving them unsure where to turn for help.
We are here to help.
If your own insurance company won’t help you, the next question is: Does DoorDash cover its drivers?
When you sign up to work for DoorDash, you’re not hired as a legal employee of the company but rather contracted to work for the app-based food delivery service as an independent contractor. While there are both pros and cons of gig work, one of the biggest disadvantages comes to light when the delivery driver is involved in an accident.
In a traditional employment situation, the employer would have commercial auto insurance that covers the accident as well as workers’ compensation coverage through which the employee might qualify for benefits. Companies like DoorDash may not be held liable for accidents involving their non-employee delivery drivers in the same way that employers are responsible for accidents that involve their employees. These companies aren’t required to cover gig workers under workers’ comp coverage, either.
In New Jersey and most other states, DoorDash as a company “provides third-party auto liability insurance for Dashers involved in accidents while in the ‘Delivery Service’ Period.” Let’s break down what that actually means for DoorDash delivery drivers injured in an accident while working.
The “Delivery Service” Period referenced above means the time between accepting an order request and actually delivering it. If you were, for example, driving to a “hotspot” to wait for orders at the time of the crash, the accident wouldn’t be covered under this Delivery Service Period—or under DoorDash’s auto insurance policy. In this case, DoorDash would put the responsibility on your own personal auto insurance company to cover this collision, even though your insurer is likely to deny the claim. Generally, DoorDash’s policy only applies in the event that “a claim has been submitted to the Dasher’s auto policy, and they have denied the claim and provided you with a coverage denial letter.”
“Per our Independent Contractor Agreement, Dashers must also maintain primary auto insurance with minimum limits as applicable by local insurance laws,” DoorDash stated. However, if their insurer denies the claim on the basis that the use of the vehicle for making DoorDash deliveries doesn’t constitute “personal use,” drivers may worry that DoorDash could use this technicality to avoid providing coverage.
It’s important for delivery drivers to note that this auto insurance coverage that may be available through Doordash is third-party liability coverage. It applies when the Dasher is liable, or legally responsible, for the crash, and it covers damages another victim or victims suffered due to the DoorDash driver’s negligence.
That means this coverage—assuming that it applies and DoorDash doesn’t try to deny the claim—will protect an at-fault delivery driver from the financial consequences of causing injuries to another motorist. If you, the DoorDash driver, were the one injured by someone else’s negligence, this insurance coverage may not help you pay for medical care, make up for the income you lose because of your injuries, or cover other harms, such as pain and suffering.
What many DoorDash drivers may not know is that you may be entitled to benefits under DoorDash’s occupational accident policy.
According to the DoorDash Dasher Support website, this coverage applies when delivery drivers get injured “while making a delivery with DoorDash.” This coverage encompasses up to $1,000,000 in medical expenses and disability payments of 50% (up to $500) of the driver’s average weekly wage. DoorDash clarified that its delivery drivers don’t need to take any steps to sign up for, enroll in, or pay premiums for this coverage. There also aren’t copays or deductibles that apply to this coverage.
However, most DoorDash delivery drivers know little about this coverage. Drivers may not even be aware that it exists, even though the policy has been in effect since June 2019. Most DoorDash drivers also don’t know the details of the policy, such as that you may not be eligible for disability benefits unless you have been written out of work by a medical professional for a minimum length of time. For most drivers, 50% of your income isn’t enough to pay your bills or provide for your family—especially if DoorDash delivery is your side hustle rather than your main job and the injuries you sustained keep you from working either job.
If your situation doesn’t qualify for benefits through the DoorDash Occupational Accident Policy, it may feel like you have nowhere to turn for help. Even if this coverage does apply to your situation, you’ve still lost a lot—like the declines in your quality of life and 50% (if not more) of the income you need to provide for yourself and your family.
To get the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered in a DoorDash driver accident (and all of the harms and losses these injuries have caused), you may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
It’s common for a car accident victim to seek payments for lost wages and pain and suffering through the insurance company of the at-fault motorist in an NJ accident claim, even if their own auto insurer is paying for their medical bills. However, getting the compensation you deserve requires you to show that the other driver caused the crash and calculate the full extent of your damages. You have to go through the full civil claims process and negotiate a settlement out of court or, if necessary, fight for compensation in a trial.
The defendant will have an insurance company and its team of lawyers on its side. The only way to level the playing field is to have professional legal representation of your own.
The last thing an injured DoorDash driver needs is another burden. Hiring an attorney for an NJ DoorDash driver accident eases this burden rather than adding to it.
Our experienced DoorDash driver accident attorneys handle every aspect of the legal claim for you so you can focus on getting better. To make sure the cost of pursuing legal action is never a problem, we make every client our No Fee Promise. You’ll pay nothing upfront for our legal team to investigate the crash and—if you hire us to move forward with your case—to document your damages, represent you in all legal proceedings, and fight for the compensation you deserve. You’ll only ever owe us a fraction of the compensation we succeed in getting for you.