Let's face it: more than ever, we rely on delivery drivers. The continual flood of deliveries from Amazon, Zappos, and other online shops proves that more Americans are purchasing online than ever before. However, as the number of delivery vehicles on the road grows, the risk of colliding with one of these big trucks grows. This begs the question: who is to blame when a delivery driver causes an accident?
The gig economy can make these situations challenging
More organizations than ever before identify their drivers as independent contractors, making the answer more challenging. It's now the "gig economy," and many businesses are taking advantage of it to avoid having to put their employees on their car insurance and requiring them to have their own vehicles and auto insurance. So, if you're hit by a delivery vehicle, who is to blame?
The at-fault party varies based on the specific situation
The question of who is liable for damages in a delivery vehicle accident is fact-specific and will be determined in part by whether the driver is classed as an employee or an independent contractor — as well as the competence and experience of your Riverside car accident lawyer.
To decide whether a driver is an independent contractor or an employee, several characteristics and conditions are reviewed. The right of the employer to control the conduct of the work, the right of the employer to terminate, the method of payment, the freedom to select and hire helpers, whether the employer provides the employee with tools and equipment, self-scheduling of working hours, and the employee's freedom to offer services to other entities are all examples of these factors.
A driver is probably an independent contractor if he or she can determine his or her own schedule, drive for different companies, and have other freedoms. However, if the driver's hours and other driving conditions are controlled by the employer, the driver is more likely to be an employee rather than an independent contractor.
Employers can be held responsible for their employee’s accidents
If you are in an automobile accident with someone who is later determined to be an employee while on the job, the employer and firm may be held accountable for the employee's carelessness if the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident. In other words, if the driver was on the job rather than running a personal errand, the corporation will almost certainly be found accountable.
If the delivery driver is proved to be an independent contractor, however, the employer is unlikely to be held liable for your losses. For your injuries, you will have to submit a claim against the driver directly. You may be able to file a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage against your own policy if that person does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages.
If you have been in a car accident in California with a delivery driver or any other irresponsible motorist, you will need the assistance of an experienced Riverside car accident lawyer. Contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a consultation.