Delivery truck accidents

Car Accidents and the Gig Economy: Legal Implications for Delivery Drivers

Delivery driving has quickly become one of the most popular flexible part-time jobs (aka “side hustles”) in the modern sharing economy. However, the rise in food delivery and other on-demand services has led to a sharp increase in accidents involving delivery drivers. As the so-called “gig economy” continues its rapid expansion, it is bringing millions of new delivery drivers along busy roads and highways every day. This influx of drivers navigating new routes in personal vehicles creates ripe conditions for collisions, injuries, and complex legal questions.

With drivers often viewed as independent contractors rather than employees, complicated situations often arise when determining liability and insurance coverage following a crash. The implications for legal responsibility and insurance claims can create gray areas that the legal system may not have caught up with yet. 

Background on Gig Economy and Delivery Driving 

The “gig economy” refers to flexible, temporary, or freelance jobs, often involving connecting workers to customers via smartphone apps and websites. Over the last decade, the gig economy has exploded in size and popularity through driving for rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft as well as shopping and delivery platforms like Instacart, DoorDash, and Grubhub. Amazon delivery drivers also make up a growing share of gig workers on the roadways. 

By current estimates:

  • Uber has roughly 5.4 million active drivers.
  • Lyft has over a million drivers.
  • DoorDash has around 2 million active monthly “dashers”.
  • Instacart boasts over 600,000 shoppers.

A typical delivery driver job involves:

  • Downloading a company’s app.
  • Running a background check.
  • Using one’s own vehicle to deliver goods such as restaurant meals, groceries, and packages.
  • Following directions within the company’s app to navigate routes.
  • Earning income based on deliveries completed, tips offered, etc.

Common Causes of Delivery Driver Accidents 

With the freedom and flexibility of gig delivery driving comes certain risks and hazards. Delivery drivers face some unique circumstances that can increase the chances of a collision or traffic incident. Several key factors commonly contribute to accidents involving drivers for companies like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Instacart, and Amazon, including:

  • Distracted Driving from Mobile Devices/Apps: The apps that delivery drivers rely on pose some clear distracted driving hazards. Drivers often struggle to divide attention between apps showing maps/directions, order details, pick-up instructions, and customer communications. Even quick glances at phones cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, which can be hazardous even if a driver looks away from the road for just a few seconds
  • Fatigued Driving and Lack of Rest Breaks: Unlike traditional 9-5 jobs, gig drivers can struggle with fatigue from working long hours without set breaks. The freedom of gig work can mean taking fewer stops between orders. Drivers may labor late into the night trying to earn extra income with their side hustle, and it is well documented that drowsy drivers make slower reactions to traffic situations. 
  • Pressure to Make Quick Deliveries: To earn the best bonuses, ratings, and delivery frequency counts, gig drivers feel immense pressure to deliver orders promptly. This emphasis on meeting tight deadlines leads some to make reckless maneuvers such as speeding, illegal turns, tailgating, and ignoring traffic signs. While the apps stress urgency in order to keep their customers satisfied, rewards for rapid deliveries should not come at the cost of public safety.

Liability Issues in Delivery Driver Accidents 

When delivery drivers are involved in collisions, determining legal and financial liability can become complicated. With drivers classified as independent contractors, insurance coverage and responsibility do not rest solely with one party. Several liability concerns typically emerge, such as:

  • Personal Auto Insurance May Not Provide Complete Coverage: Most personal auto policies only cover the “commercial use” of a vehicle at minimal levels or not at all. Damage amounts can quickly exceed these limits following an accident. Many gig drivers discover these insurance gaps only after crashes occur. 
  • Employer Insurance Coverage Can Be Complex: App companies such as Grubhub and Uber Eats claim no liability for contractor accidents under most state laws. However, injured victims may argue these firms still bear some indirect responsibility for encouraging rushed deliveries. Successfully winning injury claims against platforms remains difficult but not impossible (depending on the evidence and other specific circumstances of the case).

Beyond drivers and their apps, fault can also be assigned to other entities such as:

  • Automakers if car defects or flaws caused collisions.
  • Municipalities for poorly designed roads and traffic signals.
  • Businesses with unclear parking or loading areas.

Legal Options for Injured Victims of Delivery Accidents

When delivery drivers cause accidents and injuries, victims have certain routes toward securing compensation for damages:

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Drivers and Potentially Employers: Injured parties can bring personal injury claims directly against negligent drivers and possibly their employers depending on state laws and liability arguments made by skilled attorneys. Compensation can cover medical bills, lost income, pain/suffering, and other accident costs.
  • Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage Options: Too often UIM coverage becomes essential after crashes with delivery drivers who lack sufficient insurance. UIM claims can help substitute for lost compensation from at-fault drivers (up to the policy limits of the injured person).

Alabama Contributory Negligence Standards

Alabama is one of only a few states that operates under a “contributory negligence” legal standard. This means that if an injured victim is found to bear even 1% of responsibility for causing the accident that resulted in their injuries, they can be completely barred from recovering any damages or compensation from the other party (or parties) who were predominantly at fault.

For example, if a delivery driver runs a red light and strikes another vehicle, but the driver of the other vehicle is found to have been driving 5 mph over the speed limit when the collision occurred, that driver could lose his/her right to collect compensation for damages, even though the vast majority of the fault lies with the delivery driver who ran the red light. 

This sets an extremely high bar for injury victims in Alabama. It also amplifies the necessity of promptly retaining experienced legal counsel after any motor vehicle crash. An attorney well-versed in the state’s contributory negligence statutes can meticulously investigate and build a strong claim from the outset. They can also evaluate whether any alternative legal arguments exist for securing reasonable damages in disputed scenarios.

Contact M. Adam Jones & Associates for Legal Help with Delivery Vehicle Accidents in Alabama

As we have talked about, the rise of delivery drivers for apps such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart has brought increased traffic to the roadways, a higher likelihood of crashes, and complex liability questions when determining fault and legal responsibility after such accidents.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident with a delivery driver that resulted in injuries and other losses, contact our office as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. We are ready to go to work for you!

  1. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

  1. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588 

Rental Car Accident

The Legal Aspects of Car Accidents Involving Rental Vehicles

Renting a car provides temporary transportation for road trips or when your own vehicle is unavailable. The convenience of rental cars makes them a popular option for many travelers. However, being involved in an accident while driving a rental vehicle adds layers of complexity to an already stressful situation. There are important legal implications to consider when crashes involve rented vehicles, and injured drivers need to understand these issues in order to protect their rights and obtain fair compensation.

Rental Company Insurance Coverage

A major consideration after any collision is identifying liable parties and applicable insurance coverage to pay for damages. With rental cars, insurance responsibility can get murky depending on the rental agreement terms and options purchased. Rental agencies are legally obligated to provide minimum liability insurance that covers bodily injury or property damage inflicted on others when their renters are at fault. 

Car rental companies also commonly offer additional liability insurance or collision damage waivers to renters for added daily fees. These optional plans act similarly to standard auto insurance policies, covering the renter’s personal liability for injuries caused to others or damage to the rental vehicle in an at-fault accident. Without purchasing extra coverage, renters may be wholly liable for all damages they cause in a crash. 

Establishing Fault and Documenting Damages After a Rental Car Accident

Like any accident, the first priorities after a rental car collision are assessing injuries, seeking medical attention if needed, securing the scene, and filing a police report. The police report, along with eyewitness statements, photographic evidence, video footage if available, and professional medical opinions will all help establish liability and fault. Review the rental agreement and optional insurance provisions as well – these may provide insight into fault depending on the circumstances of the crash.

Thorough investigation and documentation in the aftermath lays the groundwork for claims to recover damages down the road. Experienced attorneys have the resources and expertise to conduct comprehensive investigations. They can pinpoint the liable parties, demonstrate their legal culpability beyond doubt, and build a compelling case attributing fault.

In addition to determining fault, properly quantifying accident-related costs is essential. An attorney will identify and calculate all applicable damages, which may include:

  • Property damage – Costs to repair the rental vehicle or other property.
  • Replacement rental fees – Coverage for a rental car to use while yours is in the shop.
  • Medical expenses – Both current and estimated future costs like surgery, therapy, medication, and assistive devices.
  • Lost wages – For time missed from work recovering from crash injuries.
  • Loss of future earnings – If injuries cause permanent disability affecting career trajectory.
  • Pain and suffering – Monetary compensation for physical and emotional trauma.

Their familiarity with damage categories and accepted calculation methods allows seasoned attorneys to ensure that victims receive full and fair compensation for short and long-term accident impacts.

Injured Party Rights and Rental Agreement Stipulations

The rental contract contains important provisions drivers agree to when renting the vehicle that may influence fault and liability determinations later. Failing to adhere to certain rental terms could potentially shift some responsibility onto the renter even if the other driver was primarily at fault. For instance, permitting an unauthorized driver not named in the contract to operate the vehicle or drive the rental car out of state contrary to the agreement can complicate claims.

Practical Impacts of Rental Insurance Options

Car renters often face pressure to purchase supplemental liability coverage or collision damage waiver plans for extra daily fees when picking up their rental. These additional policies may be marketed aggressively by rental counter agents, but renters should understand what they truly cover and whether they are necessities.

Supplemental liability insurance enhances the minimum state liability limits provided automatically by the rental company. It acts much like standard auto insurance by covering your liability for damage you cause to others when at fault. This protects assets and future wages from lawsuits seeking compensation beyond minimal state-required limits after a major accident you cause.

Collision or loss damage waivers cover damage to the rental car itself in an accident where the renter bears responsibility. If you decline these waivers, you could be liable for the full value of the vehicle if it’s totaled or the costly repairs if it’s fixable. Collision damage waivers relieve renters of financial risk for harm to the rental car. Whether buying extra insurance makes sense depends on your personal auto policy and assets to protect. 

Overcoming Insurance Company Resistance

After a rental car crash, insurance companies employ various tactics to minimize payouts. For example, they may dispute fault findings, offer inadequate settlements, or deny claims outright depending on the specifics of the case. Their goal is protecting profits, not your best interests. Without legal representation, accident victims can feel powerless against big insurers aiming to lowball settlements.

Experienced attorneys can employ negotiation tactics based on precise legal code references and case precedents to overcome settlement resistance. If needed, they will take the case to court rather than accepting undervalued offers that disregard victims’ suffering. Having a skilled advocate by your side helps level the playing field and takes the stress out of dealing with insurers. 

Injured in a Rental Car Accident in Alabama? Contact M. Adam Jones & Associates for Legal Help

Being involved in a car accident can be disruptive regardless of the circumstances. However, rental vehicle wrecks add more complex legal implications such as insurance issues, fault debates, and rental contract entanglements. Understanding the key legal aspects of rental crashes helps victims prepare to pursue fair damage compensation. 

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a rental car crash or any other type of auto accident in Alabama, M. Adam Jones & Associates is here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and case assessment.

  1. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

  1. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588  

Car accidents and Children

The Psychological Impact of Car Accidents on Children

The trauma of being in a serious car accident can leave lasting psychological wounds, especially for child passengers. Children are uniquely vulnerable to the emotional impact of crashes and other trauma. Their brains are still developing, so they process traumatic experiences much differently than adults.

While physical injuries may heal, the invisible psychological effects of a collision can linger for years if left unaddressed. Anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, and PTSD are some common consequences children face after a traumatic auto accident. Sadly, too many children suffer needlessly because negligent drivers caused wrecks that could have been prevented.

Understanding the psychological toll of car crashes on young passengers is important for parents and for securing the services kids need to cope and heal. With compassion and proper support, children can overcome accident trauma. But recovery takes time, patience, and often the assistance of mental health professionals.

Common Psychological Effects that Car Accidents Can Have on Kids

Being involved in a vehicle collision is distressing at any age, but for children, the traumatic experience can lead to significant psychological impacts that manifest in a variety of concerning ways. Some of the most common effects include:

  • Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD: It is not uncommon for children to experience heightened feelings of anxiety or develop depressive symptoms post-accident. In more severe instances, they might show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This can manifest as recurring flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, or heightened reactions to seemingly unrelated triggers.
  • Sleep Issues: Traumatic events can disturb a child’s sleep pattern. They may struggle with insomnia, frequently wake up during the night, or experience nightmares related to the accident. Over time, this sleep deprivation can exacerbate other psychological issues.
  • Behavioral Changes and Acting Out: The trauma of an accident can cause significant behavioral alterations. A child might become more irritable, withdrawn, or exhibit aggressive behavior. It is essential to recognize these as potential signs of internal distress rather than mere acts of rebellion.
  • Fear of Cars, Driving, or Riding in Vehicles: A tangible outcome of the trauma can be an acute fear of anything related to the accident. Children might become extremely apprehensive about getting into cars, show resistance to driving or being driven, or express a heightened fear during car rides.
  • Difficulty Concentrating at School: The psychological aftermath of a car accident can extend to a child’s academic performance. They might find it challenging to concentrate on tasks, stay engaged in class, or complete assignments. This can be a direct result of trauma or due to associated symptoms like sleep deprivation.

Unique Vulnerability of Car Accidents on Children

Children are at increased risk for lasting emotional trauma from vehicle collisions compared to adults for several key reasons:

  • Brains Not Fully Developed to Process Trauma: A child’s brain is in a state of constant growth and development. Neural pathways and connections are still being formed, especially in areas related to emotion regulation and cognitive processing. This means that when confronted with trauma, a child’s brain might not have the full capacity to understand or process the event as an adult brain would. This can lead to heightened emotional responses and difficulties in making sense of the trauma.
  • Lack of Coping Skills of Adults: Over the years, adults accumulate various coping mechanisms, whether consciously developed or acquired through experiences. Children, on the other hand, lack this repository of coping strategies. They might not know how to self-soothe, distract themselves, or seek help when they are overwhelmed, making the aftermath of an accident even more challenging to navigate.
  • Harder Time Expressing Feelings: Children often grapple with articulating their emotions. Whether due to a limited vocabulary, fear of repercussions, or simply not understanding what they are feeling, kids can find it tough to communicate their distress. This silence can be misleading, making it seem as though they are coping well when in reality, they are internalizing their trauma.

Coping Tips for Kids after a Car Accident

Helping a child navigate the aftermath of a car accident requires a blend of empathy, patience, and proactive strategies. Here are some tips for accomplishing this:

  • Provide Reassurance About Safety – Continually reassure kids that they are safe now. Fear often lingers, so reinforce their security.
  • Encourage Expression Through Play, Art, and Writing – Give them creative outlets to express confusing feelings they can’t verbalize.
  • Practice Patience and Support – Recovery takes time. Don’t expect them to just “get over it.” Offer comfort consistently.
  • Consider Counseling – Therapy from professionals trained in child trauma can help kids process experiences in a healthy way.
  • Maintain Routines – Sticking to regular schedules provides a sense of normalcy that’s comforting.
  • Be Understanding – Nightmares, bed-wetting, separation anxiety, or acting out are common. Respond calmly without judgment.
  • Limit Media Exposure – Graphic images or stories related to crashes can trigger fears. Avoid overexposure.
  • Communicate Openly – Have ongoing conversations to understand their feelings and concerns.
  • Don’t Force Them – It is normal for kids not to want to ride in cars or talk about the accident at first. Forcing activities could re-traumatize them.

Incorporating these coping tips can make a significant difference in a child’s post-accident experience. Remember, every child is unique, and their path to healing might differ from others who have gone through this type of trauma.

Legal Considerations After an Auto Accident Involving Children

Beyond medical care, securing justice through a legal claim should be a priority for children injured in preventable auto accidents.

  • Seek Legal Counsel – Consulting a personal injury attorney soon after the accident is important to understand your options and protect your child’s rights. An attorney experienced with auto accident claims can skillfully navigate the legal system.
  • Consider Psychological Impacts – Car crashes can cause lasting psychological damage to kids. Accounting for these hidden harms when pursuing legal compensation is critical, as they can significantly impact their quality of life. Counselors and psychologists can help assess emotional damages.
  • Focus on Your Child – An attorney should help you prioritize your child’s needs during the legal process. Managing legal, insurance, and paperwork burdens allows you to focus on your child’s healing.
  • Seek Accountability – Filing a claim sends a message that drivers must be more careful to protect child passengers. Securing compensation can pay for therapy and help your child recover.
  • Establish Future Costs – Emotional trauma may necessitate years of therapy and treatment. Experienced lawyers will quantify future costs, so your child is compensated for long-term needs.

Though no legal remedy can undo a traumatic accident, securing your child’s financial future and holding negligent parties accountable is important. If you or others close to you (such as your children) have suffered physical and/or psychological injuries in a car accident in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help! 

We have extensive experience with these types of cases and a successful track record of recovering maximum compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact us today to set up a free consultation and case assessment.

  1. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

  1. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588