Bicycle Courier and Delivery Person Accident Attorney
Bicycle delivery jobs are on the rise in Boston and other cities around the country. Companies are using bicycle couriers and delivery people to transport groceries, restaurant takeout, and even medications to customers in a speedy fashion. People on bicycles can navigate busy city traffic far faster better than cars and trucks. Bicycles have the added bonuses of causing no create pollution and being are inexpensive to operate.
One serious downside is that bicycle delivery people must deal with a multitude of hazards as they hustle to do their jobs. Many suffer severe and debilitating injuries, and some are even killed by negligent motorists more concerned with getting to their destinations in a hurry rather than the safety of those around them.
One study found that 70% of Boston bicycle couriers have sustained at least one injury that resulted in lost workdays, with 55% requiring some type of medical treatment.
If you or a loved one has been injured while working as a bicycle courier or delivery person, the bicycle injury attorneys can help you get back on your feet. Our law firm offers free legal consultations and takes cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no upfront or out-of-pocket payments until we recover money for you.Compensation Options for Injured Bicycle Couriers and Delivery People
What happens when a bicycle delivery person is injured in a serious crash? If the person lacks medical insurance, he or she has a few avenues to pursue compensation.
Delivery people who are considered employees may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits under Massachusetts law. Cyclists delivering goods for United Parcel Service, for example, are likely to be considered employees. In Massachusetts, almost all employers are obligated to carry workers' compensation insurance under the state's Workers' Compensation Act, M.G.L. ch. 152. Workers' compensation insurance provides coverage for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and long-term disability and applies if the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment. Workers' compensation payments are made regardless of who's at fault for an accident.
Bicycle delivery people who are considered independent contractors are not entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Many courier companies have their contractors pay into programs that may provide benefits in the event of a crash. Cyclists delivering for companies such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, Instacart, Shipt, and Amazon are almost always considered independent contractors, or gig workers. That status may be in the process of changing, based on recent cases on behalf of Uber drivers.
You may be entitled to coverage under the company's insurance policy if you are logged into the app and making a delivery at the time of the accident. A personal injury attorney can help you figure out whether you are entitled to any coverage under the company's policy.
If your injuries were caused by a negligent driver, you can also make a claim under the driver's auto insurance policy. You will need to prove that the driver was negligent and that this negligence caused or contributed to your injuries. An attorney will not only help you prove that the driver was negligent but will make sure that the insurance company does not try to force you into accepting a low-ball settlement offer.
If workers' compensation has already been paid, the workers' compensation insurer can collect the amount that it has already paid from the at-fault driver through a legal doctrine known as subrogation. In many cases, it is still advantageous to pursue a claim against an at-fault driver because that claim pays damages for things like physical pain and suffering, emotional pain and suffering, or damages for loss of consortium paid to a spouse.
Again, a delivery accident attorney can help you explore all recovery options.Common Bicycle Courier and Delivery Person Crash Scenarios and Injuries
Our Boston bicycle attorneys know from experience that most bicycle crashes are caused by negligent drivers. These motorists pose a risk to bicycle delivery people and cause crashes when they:
- Ignore traffic laws
- Drive into bicycle lanes
- Rear-end bicycles
- Fail to yield at intersections
- Run red lights and stop signs
- Exceed the speed limit
- Swerve into or in front of bicycles
- Stop suddenly in front of bicycles
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Are distracted by cellphones or other devices or activities
Drivers and their passengers also pose a danger to bicycle delivery people when they open vehicle doors in front of an oncoming bicycle. These incidents, known as "dooring" incidents, are common in big cities like Boston with streets lined with parked cars. Cyclists who swerve out of the way to avoid an open door may find themselves in the middle of traffic.
Pedestrians can also cause bicycle crashes when they step off a curb and into the street without looking and into the path of a moving bicycle.
It is important to note that many bicycle delivery people have started using electric bicycles to speed up deliveries. Couriers and other delivery people are often paid in proportion to how fast they can make deliveries. These bicycles, also known as E-bikes, can go as fast as 25 miles per hour and allow riders to log in more miles without working as hard. Unfortunately, motorists can mistake an E-bike for a standard bicycle and miscalculate the speed that the E-bike is traveling. As a result, the driver may turn in front of an oncoming E-bike and cause a crash.
Common bicycle courier and delivery person injuries include:
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Internal injuries
These injuries can be serious and require expensive medical treatment and long-term physical therapy.Product Liability and Road Hazard Accident Claims
Perhaps no one relies on a bicycle as much as a bicycle courier or delivery person. These professionals expect their bicycles to be fast, efficient, and reasonably safe for transporting goods from one part of the city to another. However, when bicycles are defective or contain defective parts, they can cause catastrophic crashes and serious and even fatal injuries.
Bicycle parts that are most likely to be defective and cause injury include:
For example, frames, forks, and handlebar stems constructed of inferior materials can fracture mid-ride, causing serious injury to the cyclist. Wheels that detach and brakes that fail can also cause serious injury.
E-bikes often experience different problems such as an electrical defect that causes them to speed up or stop without warning, hurling the cyclist to the ground.
If your injury was caused by a defective bicycle, you may be able to file a product liability suit against the bicycle manufacturer and other parties, including parts manufacturers, the bicycle shop where you purchased the bicycle and distributors, bicycle assemblers, and others who played a role in the manufacture and sale of the bicycle.
Plaintiffs in these cases typically allege that the bicycle was defectively designed, improperly manufactured, and sold without proper instructions or warnings.
If your crash was caused by a pothole or some other roadway hazard or defect, you may be able to sue the government entity responsible for maintaining that stretch of road for damages.Bicycle Courier and Delivery Person Safety Tips
While bicycle couriers and delivery people tend to be seasoned cyclists who are pros at navigating Boston's busy streets, no amount of expertise can protect a cyclist from motorists who ignore traffic laws and certain other hazards.
Cyclists can do their part to protect themselves by:
- Wearing a helmet.
- Wearing bright colors and placing lights and reflective materials on their bicycles to stay visible.
- Following the rules of the road.
- Using bicycle lanes when they are available.
- Keeping an eye out for drivers and passengers opening doors.
- Not using cellphones while riding.
To learn more about how our bicycle delivery person attorneys can help you with an injury claim, contact the bike lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 777-7777 or via our online form.