Driving for Uber Eats
As of November 2023, to become an Uber driver, you must:
- Be the minimum age to drive in your city;
- Have an in-state license and at least one year of US driving experience;
- Use an eligible vehicle;
- Have your vehicle inspected by a city-approved inspector; and
- Pass driving and criminal record screenings.
In Houston, the minimum age is 19. If you are under 25, you must have 3 years of driving experience.
Uber Eats loosens some of these restrictions, notably not requiring vehicle inspection. However, delivery drivers have to provide proof of vehicle insurance within 14 days of your first delivery. Uber Eats also allows people to deliver orders by scooter, bike, or on foot. No matter the method of delivery, you must pass a background check.
Risks Posed by Uber Eats Drivers
Lesser requirements mean delivery drivers may be more likely than the average Uber driver to drive an unsafe vehicle. Additionally, rideshare Uber drivers receive star ratings from customers who can screen for unsafe driving practices. Uber Eats customers may never even see their delivery drivers and cannot filter out dangerous drivers. And Uber Eats pays by job rather than by hour. This may encourage drivers to rush, cutting corners to get to the next job.
This decreased oversight, by Uber and customers alike, combined with the incentives Uber Eats’ pay structure provides for fast delivery, can increase the chances of an Uber Eats car accident.
Uber’s Insurance Coverage
Uber provides insurance coverage for its rideshare and Uber Eats drivers apart from requiring proof of individual coverage. What is covered depends on when an accident occurs.
Uber offers no coverage for drivers when they are not using the app. When a delivery driver activates availability on the driver app or is waiting for a delivery request, Uber offers lower insurance coverage, maxing out at $100,000 for bodily injury per accident. The company provides up to $1,000,000 in third-party liability and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage when drivers are picking up or delivering orders.
Legal Fault in Accidents
Whether and how much you can recover in an accident depends on who was at fault. Many accident cases are based on negligence, a legal doctrine that applies to car and scooter accidents, as well as accidents involving bikes and on-foot delivery.
To win a negligence case, you have to convince a judge or jury:
- The other person owed you a duty to act with care;
- The other person did not act with the level of care they should have;
- The person caused you harm; and
- That harm resulted in damage.
Generally, drivers have a duty to act with “reasonable care” on the road. Failing to follow traffic laws is often evidence that a driver acted negligently. Still, you have to show the driver acted negligently based on the unique circumstances involved in the accident.
Although not as common as pure negligence-related traffic cases, you can also be injured by a driver who acted with gross negligence. In addition to the base negligence elements, proving gross negligence requires you to show that the other driver’s conduct involved an “extreme degree of risk,” and they were aware of the risks involved.
Circumstances that may amount to gross negligence include:
- Driving under the influence,
- Texting while driving, and
- Excessively speeding.
Because it requires you to show the other driver’s mental state, proving gross negligence can be more challenging than proving ordinary negligence. However, if you can show gross negligence, you may recover more in damages.
Proportion of Responsibility
In Texas, you cannot recover damages if you were 51% or more responsible for your own harm. Usually, that means the other driver will claim you were negligent as well. If you were responsible for 50% or less of your own harm, your recovery can be reduced by your percentage of fault.
In a negligence case, you can recover compensatory damages, including economic and noneconomic damages. In a gross negligence case, you may also recover exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages.
Economic damages include actual expenses and losses, like:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Noneconomic damages include less tangible losses, like:
- Physical and mental pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium and companionship,
- Disfigurement or physical impairment,
- Inconvenience, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Both types of compensatory damages focus on compensating you for the harm done.
Exemplary damages are designed to punish blameworthy conduct. You can only recover exemplary damages if the case involves more than ordinary negligence.
Get Help from a Delivery Drivers Lawyer
Suing an Uber Eats driver can be complicated. Delivery drivers are subject to limited oversight and have incentives to drive dangerously, raising the likelihood of accidents. Insurance coverage varies by the timing of an accident, complicating figuring out who is responsible for paying damages.
Personal injury can be debilitating and life-changing. We understand how quickly medical bills and lost wages can add up, so we do not charge a fee unless we get a recovery. Armstrong Lee & Bakker LLP’s attorneys can guide you through recovery after an Uber Eats accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.