Door-to-door delivery is all the rage, and a lot of weary folks resort to ordering a pizza at the end of the day when they’re too tired to cook.
Accidents happen when a delivery driver is rushing or not paying enough attention to the road. If a delivery driver strikes you, who is responsible for your injuries and losses?
To hear the big pizza chains tell it, the answer is pretty much, “anybody but them.” Many of the big-name pizza places you see are actually owned by franchisees instead of the parent company. When there’s an accident involving a delivery driver, these companies like to claim that the franchise is autonomous. Meanwhile, the franchise may claim that the delivery driver is just an independent contractor, so they’re not responsible for the problems caused by a driver’s negligence either.
In Florida, however, a 2019 jury verdict made it harder for a big corporation to shuffle its liability off on others. The case dealt with a 2011 crash that left a 62-year-old former firefighter paralyzed and ultimately led to his death. A Domino’s delivery driver got confused by the headlights of other vehicles on the road and ran a stop sign.
Domino’s tried to avoid liability by saying that the franchisee was responsible for hiring the driver, but the lawyer for the plaintiff successfully argued that the corporation retained a lot of control over its franchisees and their drivers. Ultimately, the jury awarded the victim’s widow roughly $9 million. (The actual award was more than $10 million, but the victim was found 10% at fault for the accident, which reduced the total compensation to be paid.)
Just the same, accidents involving delivery drivers can be complicated from the very start. If you’re hit by a pizza delivery driver or someone else who is making deliveries, find out how best to seek fair compensation for your losses.