Proposed Law Would Make Delivery Apps Liable for Accidents in NYC

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A proposed bill being considered by the New York City Council would make the companies behind delivery apps legally responsible when their drivers get into accidents. The law, if passed, would force major delivery companies like GrubHub, Uber Eats and DoorDash to pay for the costs that result whenever one of their drivers injures someone else in an accident. This would be a major shift in policy in one of America’s biggest cities, substantially affecting how these delivery apps do business.

Delivery Drivers and Their Current Liability

            As it is right now, delivery drivers working for these delivery apps, the companies that employ them argue that they are independent contractors. As a result, these companies are not obligated to purchase commercial liability insurance for their drivers, and when they get into an accident, it is the drivers themselves or any minimal insurance they have on the vehicle who must pay for any out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. This includes both damage to any vehicles involved in the accident, as well as medical expenses from anyone injured.

What the Bill Proposes to Do

            The new proposed law would force delivery apps like Uber Eats or DoorDash to pay for the costs of accidents that occur while their drivers are on the job. This would cover both motor vehicle accidents that involve drivers colliding with other vehicles, as well as accidents involving bicyclists or pedestrians injured by their drivers. In addition, the law would fine any company $1,000 for any delivery driver who is employed without a contract provision explicitly indemnifying them for any accidents that occur while delivering for the company. The limits of the insurance that will be required is yet to be determined.

Reactions to the Proposed Law

            Unsurprisingly, the delivery apps in question are not happy with the new legislation. These companies are displeased with the idea of bearing the costs of accidents. They also claim to be aggrieved because the policy will effectively force them to obtain commercial insurance policies for all of their drivers to protect against potential accident liability.

            Labor advocates, on the other hand, are pleased with the new legislation, although a number of details still need to be worked out. For them, it was absurd that delivery drivers would need to pay for the costs of insurance to indemnify them for their own accidents while delivering for another company. Councilman Mark Gjonaj, who introduced the bill, noted that the bill would help to protect these workers from potential financial ruin in the event of an accident.

            The personal injury attorneys at Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC are experienced in representing clients who have been seriously injured, and the surviving family members of those who have been fatally injured, as the result of serious accidents. The firm’s accomplished personal injury lawyers strive to secure full and fair compensation for their injured clients. With law offices conveniently located in Brooklyn and Manhattan, their personal injury lawyers can vigorously represent clients throughout the metropolitan area, including in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, and New Jersey. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call (718) 238-2400 or fill out our contact form.

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