Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Jimmy John's 'freaky fast delivery' policy blamed for fatal crash

In light of the terrible winter weather this year, it’s probably a safe bet that Chicago restaurants offering delivery are getting a lot of business. Whether you want pizza, Chinese food or a good old-fashioned sandwich, chances are that you can find a restaurant to bring it to your door.

Of course, speed of service is important. So important, in fact, that restaurant chains like Jimmy John’s stake their reputation on “freaky fast delivery.” But is this a hazardous business model? Do delivery drivers sometimes put themselves and others at a higher risk of car accidents simply to get customers their food a little sooner?

This is among the allegations made in a lawsuit filed last month. The daughter of a West Virginia man who was struck and killed by a Jimmy John’s driver alleges that the company’s promise of “freaky fast delivery” puts pressure on employees to drive in an unsafe manner.

Last August, the victim was out walking his dog when he was struck. The driver likely did not see the pedestrian because he was admittedly looking at the dashboard clock right before the accident. Witnesses to the fatal crash noted that the driver was speeding or otherwise going “very fast.”

Of course, Jimmy John’s promise of fast delivery is not a new concept. Other restaurants have changed their policies after car accidents and subsequent lawsuits. For instance, Domino’s Pizza used to guarantee delivery in 30 minutes or less prior to a 1993 lawsuit filed by a woman who had gotten into an accident with a Domino’s driver.

Restaurants may be able to control how quickly their food is prepared, but delivery is another matter. If restaurants put pressure on their drivers to speed or otherwise drive recklessly, it is only a matter of time before it results in a serious and/or fatal accident.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Jimmy John's sued in pedestrian's death," Richard Webner, Feb. 5, 2014

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