Were You Injured as a Delivery Driver in California?
The massive spike in online shopping during COVID-19 has resulted in a huge increase in the number of delivery trucks and food delivery on the roads and freeways in California.
For instance, Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and others services deliver hundreds of thousands of packages daily. Further, there are also prepared meals that are delivered to your front door by food delivery vehicles such as Uber Eats, Grub Hub, and Door Dash.
Customers only need a delivery service app to get their products or food brought right to their house.
The work of a delivery driver is predictably hazardous. They face the constant threat of a serious or even fatal motor vehicle accident.
During the Christmas holiday season, the pressure to meet delivery deadlines increases, along with the chances of the driver suffering an injury. Put simply, the job of a delivery driver is naturally a high risk for injuries.
Moving quickly into, out of, and around the delivery vehicle at frequent stops compounds the risk of a vehicle striking the driver or their delivery truck. Yet delivery drivers also suffer:
- dog bites,
- slip and fall in parking lots,
- trip and fall injuries,
- lacerations and abrasions,
- broken bones,
- brain injuries,
- back injuries,
- spinal cord damage,
- soft tissue injuries,
- whiplash and
- forklift or other loading and unloading accidents.
Amazon delivery drivers, for instance, suffer even more on-the-job injuries than Amazon warehouse workers when warehouse work is itself hazardous.
On-the-job injuries can disable a driver from work, cause substantial medical expenses, cause debilitating pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life.
For more detailed information about the unique risks for delivery drivers, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are reviewing the laws below.
Limited Workers' Compensation Recoveries
Workers' compensation insurance is provided by employers by law. It helps protect the rights of delivery drivers.
If you're hurt while on your delivery route, you could file a claim for workers' compensation and get assistance with medical bills, prescriptions, and even some of your lost wages.
Ordinarily, a delivery driver's recourse for an on-the-job injury is worker's compensation. The driver cannot usually sue the negligent employer or careless co-workers for greater recovery.
The driver instead gets only limited worker's compensation benefits. Those limited benefits do not include lump-sum recovery for pain, suffering, and other non-economic loss.
Benefits do not even include all of the driver's lost wages. Workers' compensation provides only a subsistence safety net. Comp benefits don't make the delivery driver whole.
Recovering More than Workers' Comp
Yet, in many cases, a delivery driver seriously injured in an on-the-job accident does have greater rights.
The injured delivery driver's personal injury attorney may be able to identify someone whose negligence caused the injury, other than the employer or a co-worker.
Before walking away with nothing other than limited comp benefits, retain a seasoned injury lawyer to investigate a negligence claim.
Motor vehicle owners, homeowners, business owners, and others maintain liability insurance to pay the full value of personal injuries due to negligence.
A delivery driver suffering a serious injury may well recover far more than just workers' comp.
When an accident happens, then your health is a priority and you need to seek emergency care and be sure to gather all the documentation of your care.
If possible, you should try to take videos or pictures at the scene of your injury. Further, you should collect the contact information of any witnesses.
What will happen after the accident depends on what occurred when you were injured and who else was involved.
Your status as a delivery driver worker on duty also plays an important role. For example:
- are you an actual employee of the delivery company, or
- do you work as an independent contractor?
In 2019, Proposition 22 amended California Assembly Bill 5 and granted delivery companies an exception to classify their drivers as independent contractors.
What Should I Do If Hurt on the Job?
If you're hurt while on your delivery route, there are some important steps you should take:
Notify your supervisor as soon as possible which will help protect your legal rights. Insurance companies will often review how long it took to call your supervisor while looking at your injury claim.
Seek medical treatment or call 911 if necessary if you are injured while you are out making deliveries. Be sure to keep a record of all medical expenses to receive reimbursement later for all the costs.
Complete an accident report as soon as possible because it will help you remember exactly what happened. Don't wait too long and be sure to keep a copy of this and other related documentation.
Make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. Keep in mind your employer and the insurance company will attempt to settle your injury claim for the least amount p[possible.
Types of Delivery Driver Recoveries in California
Delivery drivers can make liability recoveries of several types. The delivery driver injured in a motor vehicle accident may have a negligence claim against the at-fault driver, for which the vehicle's insurer would pay.
- The delivery driver injured by a dog bite should have a statutory strict liability claim under California Civil Code § 3342 against the dog's owner.
- The delivery driver injured in a slip or trip and fall may have a premises liability claim against the premises owner if the slip or trip was due to an unreasonably dangerous condition.
- The delivery driver who suffers a forklift or other loading or unloading injury may have a negligence claim against the responsible company if that company is not the driver's employer.
Don't guess or speculate on your own. Retain an attorney to investigate your delivery-driving injury to determine whether you may have a liability claim.
Damages Recoverable in a Negligence Claim
Workers' comp only pays rated medical expenses and partial work loss. By contrast, negligence and other liability claims pay all of a delivery driver's resulting losses.
Those losses may be economic, such as:
- full lost wages and benefits,
- medical care for physical health,
- counseling for mental health, and
- occupational therapy.
Those losses may also be non-economic, and not just for pain and suffering but also for fear, fright, shock, embarrassment, mortification, humiliation, mental and emotional distress, and lost enjoyment of life.
And the losses may be both past and future, for as long as the injury lasts. Law intends that liability recoveries make the injured delivery driver whole.
Retain Skilled Counsel for Your Negligence Claim
Some claimants believe that they can proceed with their negligence claim once they are getting comp benefits.
Unrepresented claimants generally lack the knowledge and skills to present their claims. They normally find it hard simply to identify a reliable negligence theory.
They may also have a hard time identifying the responsible party. Discovering and obtaining supporting evidence is another challenge unrepresented claimants generally cannot meet.
To make the most of your delivery driver's injury claim, you need an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will know how to investigate and advocate delivery driver's injury claims.
Put simply, you won't get your claim's full value on your own. Liability insurers don't throw money at claimants.
They instead make claimants show that they are ready to prove their claim in court. To get the full value of your delivery driver's injury claim, you must retain skilled legal representation.
Injury Justice Law Firm understands you have a right to seek financial compensation when someone hurts you. Don't let anyone talk you into silence or accept a lowball offer from an insurance company.
We fight for full and fair compensation for injured delivery drivers in the state of California.
Our injury lawyers have two office locations in Los Angeles County. Call us for a free case evaluation at (818) 781-1570, or use our online contact form.