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Accidents Involving Grocery Delivery Drivers

Grocery Delivery Driver Accidents

The popularity of having groceries delivered has grown tremendously. Instacart, Shipt, Peapod and many others make it easy to buy from Aldi’s, Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, Sprouts and more. The appeal: contactless delivery, social distancing, and avoiding long check-out lines and crowded stores. It is, however, a popular convenience that means more delivery drivers on our Kansas City roads.


Who is responsible in an accident involving a grocery delivery driver?

In general, employers are liable for the acts of their employees; however, it can get complicated since most of these services hire their drivers as independent contractors and not employees.

While all states require a minimum amount of insurance on a vehicle, that does not mean that every driver carries it or carries the right type of insurance.

Personal Auto Insurance vs Commercial

Many delivery services do not typically insure their drivers. Drivers for these services are often deemed independent contractors and the company they work for typically says it is the drivers’ responsibility to provide their own state minimum auto insurance.

The problem is that drivers may be under the assumption that their personal auto insurance will cover them if they have an accident. It may; however, that, typically, is not the case. Personal auto insurance is likely to have an exclusion for carrying people or items and being paid for this service. Therefore, the insurance company is likely to deny the claim since the insured is using the vehicle for commercial, not personal, reasons.

Delivery drivers should carry commercial auto insurance. This covers vehicles owned by a business or used for business purposes and takes the place of a driver’s personal liability insurance if the driver has an accident while driving for his or her job.

What if the store uses its own employees to make deliveries? In this case, if the driver is an employee of the store or delivery service (and not an independent contractor), the store’s insurance will most likely cover expenses.


How You Might Hold Delivery Drivers & Services Responsible

If you are involved in an accident with a delivery driver who is an independent contractor, the first step you should take is to obtain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, one who can help you get compensated for your injuries.

If the driver does not carry commercial insurance or has been hired as an independent contractor, your lawyer might look at:

  • Whether the company used negligent hiring practices. This means that the driver may have a record of dangerous driving, a history of drug or alcohol abuse, a suspended license or a known medical condition that makes driving unsafe.
  • Uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage. This is part of your own insurance that is available to you. It will compensate you for your injuries (i.e., medical bills, cover lost wages, etc.) when you have been in an accident with a driver who is not insured or does not have enough insurance. Your attorney can also look at whether “stacking” is an option.

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