What kind of paperwork do I need to make regarding my business so I’m not liable if one of the drivers that hires me gets into an accident?

I am starting a dispatching service for restaurants to have their food delivered from the restaurant to the customer who ordered the food. I would like to have independent contractors with 1099 because they are paying me for the service; I am not paying them.

Asked on November 6, 2013 under Business Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You cannot make yourself completely liability-proof. Using independent contractors is a good start; to improve your protection:

1) Have all of the contractors sign agreements that they will indemnify you for any costs, liability, judgment, etc.  arising out of the work they do in regards to the deliveries dispatched by you.

2) Have all of the contractors provide proof that they have liability insurance, which insurance includes you as a payee.

3) Maintain your own insurance.

4) Conduct your business through a limited liability company or corporation, to protect personal assets from any liability or judgments.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The problem here is you will inevitably also have a contract with the restaurant and that will be an issue of liability, as well, from food poisoning to accidents. You need to consider that a disclaimer and/or independent contractor contract is not going to automatically make you not liable. Have business counsel meet with me and discuss traditional dispatcher situations like taxis and truck drivers and see if there are provisions in your state's laws about prohibition of such liability. Remember, you will be paying someone (the restaurant) so you need to make sue the liability doesn't just fall on you.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.