In many parts of the country, food delivery drivers are busier than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic keeping people indoors and out of restaurants. When out on the road to bring a customer some delicious food, a food delivery driver is inherently at risk of getting into a car accident while on-the-clock. There is also the unfortunate risk of being assaulted while out of their vehicle and bringing food to a customer’s door.
Whether a food delivery driver can use workers’ compensation after a crash or an assault usually depends on if that worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Typically, only drivers who are employees will have workers’ comp coverage.
Are You Employed as a Delivery Driver?
Eateries of all sorts employ delivery drivers to shuttle food from their kitchens to the front doors of people in their communities. Whether you are delivering pizza, Chinese food, burritos, burgers, or any other cuisine, you probably have workers’ compensation insurance coverage if you are technically an employee. For example, pizza delivery drivers are usually employees who need to wear specific uniforms, follow weekly schedules, and perform other duties around the pizzeria. Most states require most employees to be covered by workers’ comp provided by the employer, starting on the first day of their employment.
If you are employed as a delivery driver and get into an accident, then you should notify your employer as soon as possible to get your workers’ comp claim moving. Keep in mind that workers’ compensation applies if you are performing any job-related duty, which includes driving back from a customer’s home without any food in your vehicle. You do not need to be driving to a customer to qualify for workers’ compensation if you get into an accident.
There is a caveat, though: Insurance companies will try to deny your claim if they think your own inexcusable negligence or unlawful behavior caused your workplace accident. As an example, if you are intoxicated or texting while driving and get into a crash, then your workers’ compensation claim could be jeopardized.
Are You Contracted as a Delivery Driver?
Many food delivery drivers are not employees hired by a specific company or organization. Instead, they are independent contractors who accept delivery jobs on a case-by-case basis. If you deliver food to customers by using an app like DoorDash, Uber Eats, or GrubHub, then you are not classified as an employee. Therefore, you are likely not covered by any workers’ compensation insurance policy. Typically, companies in most states are under no legal obligation to provide workers’ comp benefits to independent contractors who choose to work with them.
Getting injured in a car accident as a contracted food delivery driver does not mean you are entirely out of luck when it comes to getting coverage for your damages. Depending on the company that contracted you as a driver, you might be covered by a sizeable insurance policy for bodily injury damages, such as the cost of emergency medical care and hospitalization. Check the terms and conditions of the app you use as a food courier for details regarding any policies that might help you after an on-the-job crash. When in doubt, you should connect with a local workers’ compensation attorney who can review your employment contract, determine your classification, and explain what benefits you should be able to collect.