This year, many restaurants have adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic by extending their services to offer deliveries in lieu of dine in services. This has been a lifesaver for many, allowing them to continue to stay operational in tough times. Unfortunately, offering delivery services means that at some point you’re likely to have to deal with one of your drivers being in an accident, which may leave you wondering what you should do next.
Checking In on Your Driver
Accidents are stressful for everyone involved. Between worries about insurance, the cost of repairs, the potential loss of transportation, and dealing with potential injuries, there is a lot to process. As an employer, you should show your employees you care about their wellbeing by checking in on your driver after the accident. See how they’re doing, and share your genuine concern for their condition. They may not be in a position to give you much in the way of details, but they will appreciate you reaching out to them.
Handling Workers Compensation Claims
Depending on the context of the accident, your driver may be able to file a workers compensation claim if they were injured. Workers compensation doesn’t apply to contracted drivers, nor does it apply to accidents that may happen while your employees are on their way to work or on their way home. If they are injured while driving during working hours, wearing a mandatory uniform, and performing work duties, they should qualify for workers compensation. It doesn’t matter if they were on their way to or from a customer’s location. Workers compensation claims are time sensitive, so as soon as you are first made aware of your driver’s injury, you should provide them with the resources necessary to file a claim.
Retaining an Attorney
Unfortunately, it’s not just your driver you need to be concerned with. If they were in an accident with another person you may find your restaurant facing a lawsuit as a potentially responsible party. When this happens, it’s a good idea to retain an attorney. A good attorney should be able to advise you on the best course of action for your business to take. You may be concerned about retaining an attorney due to how much they charge. There are different ways lawyers charge for their services, depending on the service being offered. Considering that the settlements from accidents can easily be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars, the cost of hiring a lawyer is likely to be well worth it.
Maintaining Open Communication
Throughout the process of navigating the aftermath of the accident, it’s important to maintain open communication with your driver. You still have a business to run, and up until the accident your driver was likely an integral part of its operations. Deliveries still need to be made, and any other job duties your driver performed still need to be done. If your driver is unavailable after the accident for a short time, you may be able to fill their spot with existing team members and other drivers who are available to pick up the unintended slack. If they’ll be out of work for a long time though, you may need to hire someone new. You won’t know this unless you stay in touch with your driver though.
One of the things you should discuss is when they anticipate returning to work. Depending on your driver’s condition after the accident, they may be able to return to work before they are completely recovered. If that’s the case, you need to be aware of any limitations the doctor has placed on them. You may need to temporarily reassign them to other duties in the restaurant until they are able to resume their normal work. This can be frustrating, but cross training your employees is valuable, so there is some good that will come from it.
One of your delivery drivers getting in an accident is never a good thing for anyone. As the boss, you’ll be responsible for handling at least a portion of the aftermath. Check up on your driver and see how they’re doing. Make sure you maintain open communication channels as long as they’re under your employ. This will help you determine whether you need to fill their spot temporarily and what, if any, accommodations need to be made upon their return to work. You may need to handle workers compensation claims and may find yourself needing to retain the services of an attorney. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be tough, but if you handle it well, you’ll earn unwavering loyalty from your employee.
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