If you’ve ever used a delivery service like GrubHub, Doordash or UberEats, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans use food delivery apps to get takeout from their favorite restaurants. This increased during the pandemic since many were concerned about leaving their home—and food-related services were usually deemed “essential work.”
As you might know, delivery drivers for apps like the ones mentioned above aren’t actually employees of the restaurant you choose—or the delivery organization themselves. Apps depend on independent contractors to get the job done. Even if you order directly from the restaurant, they may try to argue that the delivery driver was an independent contractor. What does this mean for anyone hit by a delivery driver?
“Respondeat superior” is the idea that employers are legally responsible for the actions of their employees during the scope of their employment. If you were injured due to an employee’s negligence while they were on the job, you have the option of suing the employee or the employer. Practically speaking, you’ll want to sue the employer: they’re more likely to be able to pay, thanks to better insurance policies and more savings.
However, you can only sue the employer if the employee injured you while carrying out duties for their job. For example, a delivery driver who hit you on the way to a delivery location is carrying out duties related to their job. If they hit you on the way home, however, the employer cannot be held responsible.
Keep in mind that even large corporations may still try to argue they’re not responsible, like this Florida case. A Domino’s delivery driver hit a 62-year-old man, who died from his injuries. Domino’s unsuccessfully argued that the responsibility rested with their franchisees, not the corporation at large.
Respondeat superior is simple enough when you have a traditional employer/employee relationship. In Ohio, however, employers are not vicariously liable for the torts of their independent contractors. That means that if you’re hit by an independent contractor driving for a delivery app, you can only go after the driver—not the larger company. To complicate matters further, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy might not cover them when they were engaged in commercial activity, unless they purchased a special rider.
If you were hit by a delivery driver, the best way to learn about your options is to talk to a seasoned personal injury attorney.
Call an Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to a delivery driver’s negligence, hiring a personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. When you work with me, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me today at 877.944.4373 for a consultation.