Henry Carus + Associates | Injury Lawyers

Injured as a Food Delivery Rider? You May Have a Claim

Food delivery rider on a motor scooter in Australia | Henry Carus + Associates

The exploding popularity of food delivery apps has led to a significant increase in food delivery rider injury. According to The Age, hundreds of bicyclists and motorcyclists in Victoria have been injured in the course of performing food delivery work.

Unfortunately, the nature of ‘gig economy’ employment makes it difficult for riders to understand their rights if they have been injured in a road accident. At Henry Carus + Associates, we represent accident victims in Melbourne and throughout Victoria. In preparing each client’s claim, we take their unique circumstances into account.

You may have several claim options if you suffer injury as a food delivery rider. Call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation.

The Dangers of Food Delivery Work

Most people who have takeaway delivered via on-demand apps don’t consider the conditions under which delivery riders and drivers have to work. As with many companies that use gig workers, food delivery apps often emphasise ‘hustle’ over safety. For workers, this significantly increases the risk of injury on the job.

The inherent risks of working as a food delivery rider are exacerbated by a few different factors:

Minimal Protections for Workers

It is a sad fact that gig workers enjoy fewer legal protections than those with more ‘traditional’ employment. Delivery riders, rideshare drivers, and others are often categorised as independent contractors rather than employees. Generally, they are not entitled to compensation through WorkCover for on-the-job injuries.

Injuries & Fatalities Are Underreported

The grey area concerning employment classification also makes it difficult to officially identify instances of food delivery rider injury. According to ABC, more than 900 delivery riders suffered injuries and two lost their lives in work-related road accidents from 2016–2022.

However, WorkSafe Victoria is not always notified of these incidents by Victoria Police. This can make it difficult for authorities to recognise the dangers faced by delivery riders and take action to prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Most Delivery Riders Are Migrants

According to a survey by the Young Workers Centre, three-quarters of delivery riders in Australia are temporary visa holders. They are also young, with an average reported age of 26.

Young people and those from outside the country may not realise that their working conditions are dangerous or exploitative. Migrants may also be afraid to speak up or assert their legal rights.

From WorkSafe to the police to the companies that hire them, delivery riders may feel like they have nowhere to turn if they get hurt on the job. However, resources are available.

The Gig Workers’ Hub provides delivery riders in Melbourne with a safe space to congregate and obtain information on a wide range of topics. It is also important to consult a knowledgeable lawyer so you have a complete understanding of your legal rights following an accident.

At Henry Carus + Associates, we are committed to fighting for the rights of injured people. Our lawyers explore all options for injured food delivery riders and fight to obtain maximum compensation on their behalf. We are also a multilingual firm, providing legal services in languages including Mandarin, Spanish, Malayalam, and more.

Contact Henry Carus + Associates for FREE.

Food Delivery Rider Injury: Your Options for Compensation

Delivery riders and other gig workers receive little to no financial support in the event of a work-related injury. They don’t get paid sick leave, and they can’t afford to take time off if they get hurt.

This results in a terrible dilemma: (a) lose out on income or (b) work through an injury, which could delay recovery and/or result in serious complications.

Much of the conversation surrounding food delivery rider injury focuses on the lack of workers’ compensation insurance coverage provided by the app. However, there are other claims a delivery rider may be able to lodge for a work-related injury:

Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Claims

Anyone who is injured in an accident with a motor vehicle driven in Victoria is entitled to TAC compensation. This includes delivery riders injured in:

Bicyclists can also make a TAC claim for injuries sustained in a crash with a stationary vehicle. Crucially, this includes accidents caused by the opening of a car door into the path of a cyclist (‘dooring accidents’).

You only have 1 year from the date of the accident to lodge a TAC claim.

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, the TAC can pay for the following:

  • Medical expenses, including the cost of like services and supports
  • Income support (a percentage of your gross weekly wages)
  • Supporting your return to work
  • Additional compensation, such as a permanent impairment benefit and/or common law damages

The benefits and other compensation available after a road accident depend on a host of different factors. Delivery riders injured in motor vehicle accidents should obtain qualified legal counsel for assistance lodging their claim and maximising compensation.

Public Liability Claims

Road accidents are not the only danger delivery riders face. Unsafe premises are another common concern.

Negligence on the part of a property owner can create a number of scenarios that may result in food delivery rider injury. These include:

These and other situations may give rise to a public liability claim. An experienced lawyer will investigate promptly, gather evidence of negligence, and pursue compensation for all damages. Injured delivery riders may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.

WorkCover Claims

It is crucial to consult a lawyer to determine your entitlement to WorkCover following an injury while working as a delivery rider. Most delivery riders and drivers are engaged as independent contractors by the company behind the food delivery app, but workers’ compensation may cover injuries in certain circumstances.

For example, it may be argued that gig workers are misclassified as independent contractors. In 2019, the Fair Work Ombudsman pursued legal action against food delivery app Foodora in an effort to resolve the employee vs independent contractor question. (Sadly, Foodora exited Australia before the matter went to court.)

A knowledgeable lawyer can review the contract you signed with the app and your duties to determine whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation. WorkCover can pay for the following:

  • Reasonable medical expenses
  • Weekly payments totalling a percentage of your average weekly wages
  • Provisional payments for work-related mental injuries
  • Superannuation contributions for injuries that surpass 52 weeks
  • Permanent impairment benefit, if you meet certain criteria

Workers may also be entitled to common law damages if they can prove that their employer’s negligence caused the injury. In the case of a food delivery rider injury, it will need to be shown that the worker (a) qualifies as an employee and (b) was seriously injured.

Read More: Can I Sue for a Work-Related Injury?

Generally speaking, gig workers receive minimal training or equipment. Failure to train an employee or provide equipment integral to their safety may be considered negligent—provided that the delivery rider or driver is classified as an employee.

Get Help If You Were Injured While Working as a Food Delivery Rider

Ultimately, food delivery riders may have one or more claims following an injury. The challenge is navigating the complexities of TAC legislation, workers’ compensation regulations, and personal injury law to understand what rights you have in the event of an accident.

As Melbourne’s premier personal injury law firm, Henry Carus + Associates have an in-depth understanding of the compensation schemes in VIC. We also recognise that the pressure to deliver a significant volume of food orders quickly is an accident waiting to happen.

You Deserve More. Find out how Henry Carus + Associates can help at a FREE, no-obligation consultation.