Who is liable when a delivery driver causes a crash?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2023 | motor vehicle accidents

Delivery drivers are a common sight on modern roads. There are countless people working for pizza chains and other restaurants who drive their own vehicles while delivering food. They may attach special lights or magnets to their vehicles to identify themselves as delivery drivers. There are others who deliver groceries on demand in their own vehicles, and they often do not have any signage attached to their vehicles.

Additionally, there are large proprietary delivery fleets working for major businesses, like Amazon and UPS. These drivers may operate larger vehicles that are bigger than passenger vehicles but smaller than semi-trucks. They often drive unpredictable routes, maneuver suddenly and park in unsafe locations to make a delivery as quickly as possible.

With so many of these vehicles out on the roads, inevitably some of them cause motor vehicle collisions. Who is liable for a crash caused by a delivery vehicle?

Employers often have financial responsibility

Employment arrangements largely dictate who has financial and legal liability for a wreck caused by a delivery driver. There is little question about liability if the delivery driver is an employee. The legal concept of respondeat superior creates vicarious liability for an employer.

When a worker causes harm to others through negligence, the company is often liable. Typically, employees for companies like Amazon or FedEx do not have personal financial responsibility for any crashes they cause while on the clock. The company’s insurance policy can help reimburse those affected by the wreck.

However, things may be less clear if the delivery driver is an independent contractor driving their own vehicle. Usually, delivery drivers have to carry insurance like everyone else on the road. Those policies can help reimburse people after a crash. Sadly, the coverage available is likely far lower than what people might receive when making a claim against a business policy.

When coverage is too low to adequately reimburse the people affected by the wreck, the possibility of making a claim through your personal auto insurance carrier or filing a lawsuit might arise. In each scenario, an evaluation of the various types of insurance that apply and a careful analysis to determine whether the driver or the company that hired them as an employee or an independent contractor are both important steps before agreeing to any settlement.

A thorough review with an experienced personal injury attorney of the details of a crash caused by a delivery vehicle and the various types of insurance that may apply will help those hurt in such crashes hold the right party accountable. Please contact VanMeveren Law Group at www.vanmeverenlaw.com should the unfortunate need arise to properly evaluate this scenario.