Delivery drivers are busier than ever these days. However, if you are injured in a car crash as a subcontracted driver, who pays for your damages?
Our attorneys at Jay Trucks and Associates discuss delivery drivers being injured on the job, Michigan’s law for determining whether a subcontracted driver may be eligible for workers’ comp, some insight about your car insurance policy and other steps to take after being involved in a collision.
Contact one of the trusted lawyers at our firm to arrange for a free legal consultation. We welcome the opportunity to review the accident that caused your injuries. If we find you have a case and we represent you, there is nothing for you to pay unless we achieve a recovery on your behalf.
Delivery Driver Injuries
Delivery drivers working for companies, such as Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS and even local pizza delivery drivers are being injured in more accidents while making their deliveries. In part, this may be due to the increased demand for deliveries during the pandemic. However, some of these accidents may also occur as the result of inexperienced or stressed out workers trying to make deliveries under the pressure of an employer’s tight delivery schedule.
However, there is also an increase in delivery drivers being injured as the result of:
- Assault and robbery attacks
- Road rage incidents
- Hit-and-run crashes
Other types of accidents involving delivery drivers may include those due to reckless driving, such as speeding or tailgating. Delivery drivers have suffered many types of serious injuries in accidents, including:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured limbs
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Serious burn injuries
Are Subcontracted Delivery Drivers Eligible for Employee Benefits?
When a delivery driver suffers an injury on the job, determining eligibility for benefits may be complicated. The first step is to determine whether you are an employee or not. If you are an employee, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, however, if you are legally a subcontractor or independent subcontractor, you are typically not eligible for workers’ comp or any other benefits that an employee of the company might receive.
Definition of a Non-Employed Delivery Driver
The terms independent contractor and subcontractor are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these are actually two different types of workers, so we will address each one separately:
Subcontractor – Those who are subcontracted to work by third-party companies and are therefore not considered an employee under Michigan law. If an individual is correctly classified as a subcontractor, he or she may not be eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Independent contractor – Someone who works independently, controls his or her own hours, and has autonomy over his or her work is considered an independent contractor and will also not be eligible for employee benefits, such as workers’ compensation.
However, even if you are a delivery driver and labeled by the company you work for as a subcontractor or independent contractor, that classification may not always be accurate. In Michigan, there is a 20 factor test to help determine whether that label holds under law.
For example, if you are classified by your employer as a subcontractor, but he or she controls your hours, requires you to wear a uniform and supervises your work, then your position may be incorrectly classified.
Are You Covered By Insurance If You Have an Accident While Delivering?
While Michigan requires all drivers to carry car insurance, as do the companies who hire these drivers, actually obtaining coverage when you work as a delivery driver may be tricky. This is because many insurance companies have exclusions that specifically exclude coverage for commercial accidents.
What if I Do Not Tell My Insurance Company I Use My Car For Work?
Lying to your insurance company or simply not telling them that you use your car for commercial purposes is not a good idea. If you are in an accident while working and have not purchased the appropriate insurance or informed the provider who holds your personal auto insurance policy, chances are that:
- Your claim will be denied, and you will not be eligible for any no-fault benefits
- If you caused the crash, you could be held personally and financially responsible for all damages
- Your personal auto insurance policy could be terminated
Honesty is always the best policy, especially when you are purchasing insurance. Talk to your insurance provider to find out if they provide commercial coverage. If they do not, they may know of a company that provides this type of policy. There are insurance policies available for those who use their car for work, such as pizza deliveries.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when reviewing your existing coverage or purchasing a new policy:
- All polices are not the same. It is essential that you read the small print and ask the right questions. It is your job to understand what is or is not included under your policy.
- While cost is always a consideration when choosing your policy, remember to also make sure that you have sufficient coverage to protect you in the event of an accident.
- Speak to more than one insurance agent to be better informed about the type of policy you may need.
What If Your Employer Provides The Vehicle You Drive For Deliveries?
If you drive a vehicle owned by your employer, this adds another layer of complexity to your potential claim. It is the responsibility of the vehicle’s owner to make sure it is properly inspected, maintained and reasonably safe to operate.
If the cause of your accident is related to your employer’s poorly-maintained vehicle, such as not replacing balding tires or worn out brakes, he or she may be found negligent and held liable for the damages you incurred.
Steps to Take After An Accident in a Delivery Truck
As with any accident, check yourself for injuries first, and then call 9-1-1 for help. Having police on the scene to investigate the cause of the crash and document it can be especially helpful if you need to pursue compensation for damages later. First responders are trained to investigate car crash scenes, so this documentation can provide credible evidence and help to strengthen your argument if you later file a claim or civil lawsuit.
After contacting Michigan police to report your accident, you should also:
- Get examined for injuries by a medical doctor immediately after the crash
- Use your cellphone to take pictures of the accident scene, if you can safely do so
- Try to find one or more eyewitnesses and get their contact details
- Contact a Michigan car accident lawyer for legal help as soon as possible
Get Started By Contacting One of Our Reputable Attorneys Today
The coronavirus has led to a significant increase in the number of delivery drivers on the road today. If you are a delivery driver and suffered an injury on the job, the legal team at Jay Trucks and Associates is prepared to help.
Our Clare car accident attorneys have extensive knowledge of Michigan car insurance, state laws and what compensation may be available in your situation. We can determine your legal options in a completely free, no-obligation consultation. We are available to take your call 24/7, and if we represent you, there are no fees to pay for our services until or unless we first obtain compensation on your behalf.
Jay Trucks & Associates. Call today: (800) 762-8623