One of the features of the Covid-19 pandemic has been our increasing reliance on delivery services. Supermarkets and online retailers have been swamped with orders, as people look to comply with government instructions to maintain social distancing and minimise unnecessary travel.
Soaring unemployment has also meant there has been no shortage of workers willing to get behind the wheel or get on a bike. However, this has resulted in an influx of inexperienced and inadequately trained delivery drivers onto our roads, with the potential for a significant increase in the number of accidents.
Kenneth Amakye, a personal injury solicitor with Pengelly & Rylands in Tenterden, who is experienced in helping people recover compensation when they have suffered injury or illness comments, ‘Due to unprecedented demand, employers may be tempted to cut corners and fail to provide a proper level of training. But, there is no excuse for employers to send untrained drivers onto the road and neglect their duty of care.’
Coronavirus impact on health and safety risks
Not all delivery drivers are employed directly or paid an hourly rate. A significant number are paid for each delivery they make, and some face deductions if they are unable to meet targets. This naturally increases the temptation to speed, and with less-congested roads, it is not surprising that speeding offences are reported to have increased by more than a third according to data gathered from 85,000 drivers’ black boxes.
Another risk factor has been the relaxation of the regulations governing the number of hours a driver can work when delivering food and other essential goods such as personal care products and pharmaceuticals. Although the Government has said that drivers’ safety must not be compromised and they should not be expected to drive tired, the Guardian newspaper has reported that supermarket delivery drivers were not getting any breaks between deliveries. There is real concern that concentration levels will be diminished, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
There is also growing concern about the number of delivery vehicles which are not roadworthy due to the introduction of exemptions for MOTs for HGVs and PSVs. Although these measures are only temporary, the initial three-month period may well be extended due to the backlog of vehicles that now require testing.
Compensation for injuries
Compensation can be claimed for any physical injury you suffer, and any financial losses incurred because of an accident involving a delivery driver, while in a vehicle, on a bicycle or as a pedestrian.
Although no amount of money can take away the traumatic experience you have been through, compensation can make life easier and we will tell you exactly what you can claim for. We can recover your lost earnings for the time you take off work and the cost of any damage to your vehicle. We can arrange for you to have private medical treatment and include those costs within the claim. We can also recover the value of any help or care that has been provided to you by your friends and family.
Making a compensation claim
If you have been involved in an accident involving a delivery driver, then the sooner you speak to one of our specialist personal injury solicitors, the easier it will be to gather the evidence required to obtain compensation.
It is important you retain any relevant documents and photographs of the accident scene or damage to your vehicle. Independent witnesses can also be crucial, so make sure you get their details if you can.
Who is legally responsible if you are involved in an accident with a delivery driver?
If the delivery driver was driving a vehicle which was owned or leased by their employer, then their employer will be legally responsible for the accident if it was the driver’s fault.
Some companies employ staff who use their own vehicles, while other companies use subcontractors who recruit drivers who operate as self-employed drivers. In these situations, it is likely to be the driver and their own private motor insurance who will be responsible.
However, the legal position is not always straightforward, and complications can arise if the driver has not notified his insurers that he is using his vehicle for work or if the driver is employed by an agency. It is therefore important for the circumstances of each case to be individually reviewed by a specialist solicitor. We can do that for you and let you know who is responsible for your accident.
How can we help?
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.