The rise of app-based transportation networks and delivery services has contributed to more cars and congestion on the roadways—but it isn’t just the greater potential for a crash that makes Instacart relevant to auto accident claims. If you are hit by an Instacart driver in NJ, the fact that the at-fault motorist was working for this grocery delivery company may make it harder to get the financial compensation you deserve.
The Instacart car accident attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. have helped crash victims across New Jersey get the money they’re entitled to. We understand the complexities of the legal process and how insurance technicalities apply in situations like yours. You can count on us to explore all avenues of legal recourse and fight for the maximum compensation available to you—all at no upfront cost.
If you have been hit by an Instacart driver, you should take the same steps that you would take in any other motor vehicle accident.
If possible, get to a safe place where you’re not likely to suffer further harm. Call 911 to report the accident and bring emergency medical technicians to the scene.
Allow yourself to be examined, and if your injuries require it, go straight to the hospital for emergency medical care. Otherwise, provide the required information to the police and the other driver, and then seek medical care as soon as possible.
The Instacart driver who hit you may be of frustratingly little help. The delivery driver may be too preoccupied with notifying the company and their customer of the accident to initiate the steps above. If necessary, ask a witness or bystander for help.
At some point, you will need to notify the relevant insurance companies of the accident. Ideally, though, you should first speak to a lawyer for car accidents caused by Instacart drivers. An attorney can help you understand the legal process, give you tips for avoiding the pitfalls claimants commonly encounter when communicating with the insurance company, and potentially handle this task for you—all at no upfront cost.
In the aftermath of a car accident with an Instacart driver, keep up with your medical care. Follow your doctor’s recommendations, make a note of any changes, and pursue further evaluation or treatment if necessary. Your health is the most important thing, and not getting the care you need could leave you with a worse prognosis for recovery.
Crashes involving Instacart are all too common. While Instacart drivers aren’t ferrying around passengers as rideshare drivers are, any dangerous or negligent behaviors behind the wheel can still put at risk the other motorists sharing the road with them.
Instacart is a San Francisco-based grocery delivery service available in cities nationwide through which customers use an app or website to place orders. When a customer orders groceries through Instacart, the driver goes to the store, shops for the order, and drives it to the delivery destination.
What’s notable about Instacart’s business model is that its “full-service shoppers”—the workers who deliver food to paying customers—are not employees of the company. Rather, they are independent contractors. As such, in many cases, Instacart isn’t legally responsible for the harm its delivery driver caused in an accident while working—even if the company would be liable if the same situation involved a worker legally considered an employee.
Know your legal options.
In some ways, an Instacart driver or another type of delivery driver may pose a greater risk to other motorists on the road.
Due to the nature of their work, Instacart drivers commonly drive unfamiliar routes while trying to meet deadlines. They’re not simply visiting their local grocery store where they do most of their shopping and then transporting their purchases back home on the same familiar roads.
To make more money, Instacart shoppers may end up shopping at stores they’re less familiar with and then taking unfamiliar roads to addresses they don’t know. They aren’t used to the flow of traffic or the organization of the busy grocery store parking lot. Upon reaching their destination, they may be too distracted trying to find the right address to give the road their full focus.
Dealing with messages from customers, too, can be distracting—especially when customers send them messages pertaining to the order while the delivery driver is en route to the dropoff destination.
It doesn’t help that Instacart drivers are under a great deal of pressure to complete orders as quickly as possible.
In some cases, customers expect their orders to be delivered as soon as one hour after ordering. That means Instacart drivers may be in a rush to finish their shopping and deliver the order on time. Even if the order timeframe isn’t quite so tight, Instacart drivers get paid by the batch of groceries they shop for and deliver, not the hours worked. To make ends meet, they have to be efficient at their work. Unfortunately, this need for speed can prompt Instacart drivers to cut corners on safety in ways like the following:
Finally, the bar to entry for work as an Instacart driver is much lower compared to many jobs that involve driving, such as those for which you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You don’t need any minimum driving history, formal driving training, or a CDL to drive for Instacart. An 18-year-old with little practice driving—and, as such, little ability to avoid an accident or safely navigate unfamiliar roads—may qualify to work as an Instacart driver.
An accident can change your life in so many ways. In the legal industry, we call these harms and losses your damages.
Some damages, like medical expenses and lost wages, are economic damages for which you can calculate or project a dollar amount. Other losses are non-economic damages that you can’t put an exact number on, like pain and suffering and the loss of your quality of life because of your injuries.
When you sustain serious damages in a collision caused by another driver (or some other party), you deserve compensation for all of your economic and non-economic losses. Unfortunately, you may have a tough time getting compensation from the Instacart driver who caused the crash.
Is Instacart liable if its grocery delivery driver causes an accident? Under legal technicalities related to the nature of working for Instacart, accident victims typically can’t hold the company legally accountable for the harm its delivery drivers cause in a crash.
You might assume that because the driver who hit you was working for the delivery service, Instacart will cover your damages. However, Instacart itself doesn’t offer any auto insurance coverage to its shoppers and delivery drivers (as of October 2023). Because its delivery drivers are independent contractors rather than legal employees of the company, Instacart can’t be held liable for the negligence of its drivers in the same way that employers can.
We are here to help.
To make matters worse, many Instacart drivers don’t have the type of auto insurance that covers an accident that occurs while they are driving for Instacart. They may have a personal auto insurance policy that applies in the case of a collision that occurs while using the vehicle for personal use. However, driving for Instacart isn’t considered personal use.
Unless they have commercial auto insurance or a special add-on endorsement that covers the type of delivery gig work they’re doing, their insurer will often deny the claim.
Sometimes, the Instacart driver is as shocked as you are to find out that their insurer won’t cover the collision. Other times, they knew the consequences of not buying the right insurance and decided to take the risk. Either way, the Instacart driver whose auto insurance won’t cover your claim has left you in a difficult situation.
Often, motorists who are hit by Instacart delivery drivers in NJ have to rely on their own auto insurance to provide the compensation they deserve.
Under New Jersey’s no-fault law, your own auto insurer is generally responsible for your medical expenses in a motor vehicle accident, no matter who is at fault for the crash. However, car accident victims typically seek compensation for damages like lost wages and pain and suffering from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. If neither the Instacart driver’s personal auto insurance policy nor any coverage from Instacart itself is available, you may need to turn to your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for compensation instead.
UM coverage is coverage through your own auto insurance company that applies when the other driver has no applicable insurance. In this case, since the driver’s insurance doesn’t apply to this accident, you can file a claim under your own UM coverage. Generally, New Jersey drivers with a standard auto insurance policy can purchase uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage up to the amounts they selected for their liability coverage.
In a UM claim, your own auto insurance company stands in for the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. However, you don’t automatically get compensation through this insurance coverage. You would have to prove that the Instacart driver was responsible for the accident and that there’s no applicable insurance from Instacart or the delivery driver to pay for your damages.
Although the coverage is provided through your own insurance company, the insurer isn’t on your side. Insurance companies benefit from paying out as little in claims as possible—even to their own policyholders—so you’re going to have to fight for the uninsured motorist compensation you deserve.
Even if the delivery driver who hit you admits to being on the way to make a delivery, there may be more to the case. If there’s any question about what happened, who may have contributed to the accident, or who will pay for its consequences, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney about investigating the collision.
If you’re not familiar with the different food delivery services out there, you may not pay much attention to whether the driver who hit you worked for Instacart or a different service. However, different retailers and delivery services have different policies when it comes to employment and insurance coverage. It’s always important to ascertain exactly who the driver who hit you was working for at the time of the crash. If it turns out that the driver was actually employed by the grocery store itself rather than working as an independent contractor for Instacart, for example, you could have grounds for a claim under the retailer’s insurance policy. Additionally, some food delivery services do provide commercial auto insurance coverage while their delivery drivers are fulfilling an order.
In certain instances, it may be possible to seek compensation for a motor vehicle collision with a delivery driver from another party that contributed to the crash. This might be the case if a defective vehicle or dangerous road conditions played a part in causing the collision. Although product defects and negligent road conditions aren’t part of most NJ Instacart accident lawsuits, this possibility is another reason it may be valuable to have experienced delivery driver accident attorneys conduct a more thorough investigation of the crash.
Having professional legal representation can help you get the full amount of money you deserve for a car accident claim. Experienced lawyers are particularly necessary when your case involves a complicated situation like being hit by an Instacart driver and the insurance coverage technicalities that go along with it.
Given the huge financial burden an auto accident can pose, the last thing you need is an additional cost to worry about. That’s why Console & Associates, P.C. makes every client our No Fee Promise. The consultation is free and risk-free, and there’s no obligation to move forward with a claim if you don’t want to. If you choose our delivery driver accident attorneys to represent you, we’ll handle every aspect of your case—from the initial investigation to negotiating a settlement or fighting for you in court—at no upfront cost. You’ll only ever pay in attorneys’ fees a fraction of what we succeed in recovering for you.
When you’re dealing with the daily stress of life after a car accident, your plans to contact an attorney “later” can end up slipping through the cracks. Waiting too long can put your claim at risk. Meanwhile, dealing with the insurance company is a distraction you don’t need when you should be focusing on your health.
Bringing in professional legal representation to handle a claim that arises out of being hit by an Instacart driver in NJ is easier than you think. There’s no upfront cost. We’ll answer any questions you have about the legal process and what happens next. We make getting legal help as easy and hassle-free as possible so you can preserve your legal rights while putting your physical recovery first.