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New Jersey Accident with a DoorDash Driver

Delivery DriverDoorDash is the most popular online food ordering and delivery platform in the United States.

As such, accidents with DoorDash delivery drivers are all too common. These matters can also be complicated. While you’re dealing with physical and financial losses after being hit by a DoorDash driver, all the company and the delivery driver’s insurer seem to care about is passing responsibility for your damages onto each other.

If you have been hit by a DoorDash driver, you need experienced legal representation to help you get the full amount of compensation you deserve. At Console & Associates, P.C., we handle NJ accident with DoorDash driver claims at no upfront cost. We’re ready to untangle complicated matters of insurance coverage and fight for every dollar you deserve.

For a free, confidential consultation and case review, call 866-778-5500 today or complete our online form.

Common Causes of Accidents With DoorDash Drivers

What causes DoorDash driver accidents? Most motor vehicle collisions result from driver error. Accidents with delivery drivers are no exception.

DoorDash drivers have been known to get distracted and, at times, make poor decisions while on the road. National news publications have even reported DoorDash drivers driving off the roadway listening to the faulty directions of GPS apps or fleeing the scene of accidents.

There are several factors that can contribute to collisions involving DoorDash drivers, including the following.

Rushing to Fulfill Orders

DoorDash drivers get paid by the order, and it’s in their best interests to deliver food to their customers as quickly as possible. Breezing through orders quickly allows drivers to earn more money. Delivering food late could result in less lucrative tips, lateness violations, and even deactivation from the platform. For DoorDash drivers, the pressure is on as soon as they accept an order request.

Drivers who are in a rush may be more likely to engage in the following negligent—and dangerous—driving behaviors:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to stop where signs and signals require it
  • Cutting off other motorists

When DoorDash drivers violate traffic safety laws, other people—like you—get hurt because of their negligence.

Distracted by Delivery Duties

The pressure to make deliveries fast isn’t the only distraction for DoorDash drivers. Examples of other DoorDash driver distractions include:

  • Using the app to send or receive updates or messages related to delivery work
  • Navigating unfamiliar shopping centers, parking lots, and roads
  • Looking for the address of the order drop-off destination
  • Removing hands from the wheel and/or eyes from the road to check on or adjust the placement of takeout containers

Minimal Requirements for Delivery Driving Work

In many roles that require you to drive for a living, such as driving a bus or a tractor-trailer, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required. That’s not the case for DoorDash drivers and other delivery drivers using their personal vehicles for gig work.

Not only do DoorDash drivers not need a CDL and the additional training or studying that goes with it, but they can sign up for this work with minimal driving experience. According to current (as of November 2023) DoorDash Requirements for Dashing in the United States, the only requirements to work as a delivery driver for DoorDash are:

  • Being at least 18 years of age
  • Having a valid driver’s license
  • Having a vehicle
  • Having a smartphone on which you can use the DoorDash app
  • Having auto insurance
  • Passing a background check

While having a history of traffic violations on your driving record may prohibit a motorist from signing up to drive for DoorDash, having little to no driving history does not. That’s a significant omission in DoorDash requirements because driving experience helps a motorist make sound decisions behind the wheel—especially in situations where they may have only seconds to act.

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Who Pays for Injuries Caused by DoorDash Food Delivery Drivers?

Getting compensation for a DoorDash accident claim is complicated. That’s largely because of how auto insurance works, both in New Jersey and in claims involving DoorDash.

Your Auto Insurer’s Responsibilities in an Accident Involving a DoorDash Driver

New Jersey is a no-fault state when it comes to car accident insurance. Regardless of who is at fault, a driver’s personal auto insurance policy generally pays for the medical bills that arise from a collision.

Even if neither the delivery driver’s auto insurer nor DoorDash is taking financial responsibility for the collision, your own insurer will typically have to pay for your medical bills.

The DoorDash Driver’s Auto Insurance Coverage

Of course, medical expenses aren’t the only losses you suffer in an accident.

Many people who are injured by a delivery driver are out of work for some time. Even a short-term loss of income can make it difficult to pay your bills and support your family. Some car accident injuries may be serious enough to keep you out of work for weeks, months, or even longer. An injury may derail your career path more extensively and affect your future earnings.

Serious injuries cause a great deal of pain and suffering, which is another type of damage for which you may be able to seek compensation.

For lost wages and pain and suffering, an injured driver would usually file a claim against the at-fault party and seek compensation through that party’s insurance company. Insurance coverage in cases that involve DoorDash delivery drivers is more complex.

Normally, you would seek compensation for damages like lost wages and pain and suffering from the insurance coverage of the party at fault for the accident—in this case, the delivery driver. Unfortunately, when that driver works for DoorDash, there’s a good chance that the company will deny your claim.

Part of the requirements for becoming a DoorDash delivery driver is to “maintain [one’s] own insurance, in the amounts and of types required by law which includes, but is not limited to, an auto insurance policy.” Unfortunately, most gig economy workers, including DoorDash drivers, don’t realize that the personal auto insurance policy they’ve purchased doesn’t apply when they’re making deliveries. Insurance companies often consider gig work to be commercial use of a vehicle or, at least, non-personal use.

Commercial auto insurance or a special ride-on or endorsement to their existing policy may cover accidents that occur while working for DoorDash, but many delivery drivers don’t have this coverage. Whether the DoorDash driver legitimately didn’t know they needed additional coverage or chose to take the risk rather than pay for extra insurance, you’re stuck facing the consequences of their failure to maintain the appropriate insurance coverage.

Is DoorDash Responsible for Accidents Its Drivers Cause?

Since the DoorDash driver was working for the app-based delivery service at the time of the crash, shouldn’t DoorDash have to pay for the damages?

In most other cases, the employer of a worker who caused a car accident while on the job would be legally responsible for the employee’s actions. However, DoorDash drivers aren’t officially employees of the delivery service company. Instead, they are gig workers—independent contractors who earn money for their services under a different work arrangement than a traditional employer-employee relationship. DoorDash doesn’t have the same responsibilities for gig workers and independent contractors as an organization that is legally considered an employer would have for its employees.

Despite this distinction, DoorDash does provide auto insurance that applies in certain situations. In most states, including New Jersey, DoorDash maintains a commitment (in writing on its website, as of November 2023) to “provide robust third-party auto liability coverage that aligns with” state requirements. This coverage pays for the damages an injured victim suffers because of the delivery driver’s negligent actions.

When you’re contemplating a DoorDash accident claim, the existence of this coverage is good news. However, there are some exceptions and technicalities that apply to this coverage.

The third-party auto liability insurance DoorDash provides applies only during the “Delivery Service” Period. This period encompasses the time the delivery driver accepts a delivery request on the app through the time the order is delivered, canceled or unassigned to that driver. In other words, if you were hit by a DoorDash driver who was on their way to pick up or drop off an order, this coverage kicks in. If the motorist who hit you was logged into the DoorDash delivery platform and circling shopping centers waiting for order requests, DoorDash will likely deny the claim.

Another technicality is that the DoorDash delivery driver must be “considered liable” for your injuries and damages for this coverage to apply. DoorDash may try to avoid financial responsibility for the accident by putting the fault for the crash on you rather than its delivery driver. At the very least, DoorDash will likely prolong your claim by not accepting liability for the collision right away.

Pursuing a claim against DoorDash’s insurance is also challenging due to another of the company’s requirements. The DoorDash driver’s insurer must formally deny the claim and provide a written coverage denial letter before DoorDash will consider its auto insurance coverage applicable to the accident. Again, this means you’re waiting on the insurance companies for the compensation you urgently need.

Know your legal options.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in a DoorDash Driver Claim

Suppose neither the DoorDash driver’s personal auto insurance policy nor the company’s auto insurance applies to your situation. In this instance, the at-fault delivery driver is essentially considered an uninsured driver for the purpose of this claim. You may be able to seek compensation from any uninsured motorist (UM) coverage included in your auto insurance policy.

To get this compensation, you would still need to go through the full legal process, including proving fault, just as you would when suing the other driver. The difference is that your own auto insurer is standing in for the other driver’s insurance company.

Other Potential Defendants in an Accident With a DoorDash Driver Claim

In certain instances, another party may be liable for the damages that arise from your collision with a DoorDash driver in NJ. For example, the operator of a third vehicle involved in the crash may share some liability. In claims involving defective vehicles, the manufacturer of the car or its malfunctioning parts may be held responsible for the crashes that result from their negligence.

Injured motorists sometimes wonder whether they can seek money damages from the restaurant for which DoorDash is delivering food orders. If the driver is working for DoorDash, the restaurant is not their employer. As such, the restaurant is not responsible for the DoorDash driver’s negligent behaviors behind the wheel.

However, since some restaurants do provide delivery services through the work of their in-house employees, it’s important to know exactly who the delivery driver works for. Because DoorDash is the most popular food delivery service, the term is sometimes used as shorthand for food delivery work, even for another app-based delivery service or a restaurant itself.

To get the full amount of compensation you deserve, you need to identify every possible defendant in your claim and make a compelling case for their liability. To do that, you will need to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and all parties involved in it.

No-Win, No-Fee Help for an NJ Accident With a DoorDash Driver

No Fee PromiseThe last thing you need when you’re suffering from serious car accident injuries is another thing to worry about.

You don’t have the time or energy to sort through the numerous insurance policies that may or may not apply or to launch a full investigation of every aspect of the accident. Working toward recovery from your injuries is already taking up all of your attention. Without knowing more about the law and the legal process, it’s difficult to make sense of the insurance companies giving you the runaround or even figure out the next steps to take.

Too many injured car accident victims try to handle claims on their own, and they wind up disrupting their physical recovery and getting less compensation than they deserve. You don’t have to do this alone. Our NJ delivery driver injury attorneys have years of experience handling complex claims that involve DoorDash and other app-based food delivery services.

At Console & Associates, we handle every aspect of your car accident claim, including identifying all possible defendants and fighting for maximum compensation on your behalf. The No Fee Promise that we make to every one of our clients means pursuing a claim will never become a financial burden on your family.

Let us handle the legal matter while you focus on getting better. Just call 866-778-5500 or contact us online today to get started with a free, confidential consultation.

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