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


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.

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