When people are injured in a car accident in California, they may be entitled to compensation for many expenses and losses that stemmed from the accident, including their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and damage to their vehicles.
Car accidents often involve two or more people driving their own cars for their own personal use. However, if one of the cars was driven by someone who was using the car as part of his or her job, then the legal situation can become more complicated.
What happens when one of the vehicles involved in the accident was driven by a pizza delivery person? A question arises about who is financially responsible, the driver or the company the driver works for.
Pizza delivery people may drive cars or trucks that their employer owns, or they may use their own vehicles to deliver pizza. The question of who is responsible for any damage in an accident may depend on who owns the vehicle involved.
Situation One: The Pizza Delivery Person Was Driving a Company Car at the Time of the Accident
If the delivery person was driving a company car, the question of who is financially responsible in a car accident depends on whether the driver was acting within the scope of the driver’s employment. “Acting within the scope of employment” is a legal term meaning that employees are engaged in activities that are part of their jobs. When workers who are acting within the scope of employment cause an injury to someone else, their employer may be liable, and the employer’s insurance company may have to pay.
That means that if the delivery person was actually delivering pizza for his employer when the accident occurred, the pizza company, not the delivery driver, may have to pay any damages that the other driver is entitled to. On the other hand, if the pizza delivery person was driving the company car not to deliver pizzas, but for his or her own use after hours, then the driver, not the company, may be liable for any injuries or damage he or she caused in an accident.
There are some other situations where the driver, not the company, may be liable, even if the driver was delivering pizzas at the time of the accident. For example, if the delivery person was driving drunk, then the company may not be liable because breaking the law about drunk driving can be considered outside the “scope of employment.”
None of these situations, though, are cut and dried. There are many complications and shades of gray. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer represent you can make all the difference in these kinds of cases.
Situation Two: The Pizza Delivery Person Was Driving His or Her Own Personal Car
Many pizza delivery people use their own cars for deliveries and rely on their own insurance policies for protection. This may cause problems. Some personal auto insurance policies have exclusions for accidents that occur while the driver is working for pay. It’s a good idea for anyone who is involved in an accident while delivering pizzas in their personal car to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer for assistance.
Who is at Fault Matters in California Car Accidents
In California, the courts will award damages in vehicle accident cases based on which driver was at fault or partially at fault. Determining who was at fault can be a complicated matter requiring extensive investigation. Both sides will try to show that they were not at fault. An experienced attorney will present a strong case for his or her client.
If You Are the Delivery Person
If you were delivering pizzas at the time of the accident, then you will want to make sure that your employer’s insurance company pays if it is legally obligated to do so. This is not a good do-it-yourself project. If your employer resists paying, that can cause a lot of problems. An experienced attorney knows how to deal with the complex situations involved.
If You Are the Other Driver
If you were injured in an accident, and the other car was driven by a delivery person, then you may be entitled to compensation. An attorney can determine if the company’s insurance policy is obligated to pay and, if so, can then file a lawsuit against the company on your behalf.
In California, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical and related expenses
- Damage to or total loss of your car or other property, such as items that were in the car
- Pain and suffering from your injuries
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (when a spouse is deprived of affection and sexual relations because of injuries from the accident)
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earning capacity
Other situations can arise. What happens if the delivery person was not at fault? What if the delivery person claims to be working within the scope of his or her employment, but the pizza company decides to fight the driver on that? What if both the delivery person and the other driver were partially at fault? For all these situations, an attorney can help get everything sorted out.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Etehad Law for the Help You Need
The attorneys at Etehad Law have helped people injured in car accidents for more than 20 years. They care about their clients and fight hard for them. They understand all the difficult situations that arise when one driver in an accident is on the job and guide their clients through the legal process every step of the way. Based in Beverly Hills, they serve people throughout California.
In California, there are strict deadlines for when you are able to file a lawsuit after an accident, so don’t delay. Call us today at (310) 550-1220 for a free consultation to find out more about how we can help.