Families seek payout for food delivery driver deaths

Food delivery rider Burak Dogan was working a Saturday evening dinner rush when he was hit by a truck.

He was still receiving orders when his body went under the vehicle.

Mr Dogan died in April 2020 and his relatives have not received any money from the gig company's insurer who claimed he was only covered if he was working within a 20-minute window of a delivery. 

The families of Mr Dogan and two other riders killed on the job are seeking compensation.

Transport Workers' Union national secretary Michael Kaine said the deaths weighed heavily on their loved ones.

"Their whole lives should have been ahead of them, but tragically were ripped away. The shock of these losses remain raw," he said.

"No sum of money can ease the pain of losing a loved one, but when a worker dies, their family should be compensated." 

The TWU will file claims to the Personal Injury Commission on behalf of Mr Dogan on Wednesday, while applications for fellow deliverers Akshay Deepak Doultani and Adil Abbas will be put to Uber and iCare first.

In Australia, 13 delivery riders are known to have died. 

But the union warned under-reporting may have obscured the true scale of workplace deaths.

A study by Macquarie University found food delivery riders were 13 times more likely to present to a hospital emergency department between 8pm and midnight than regular cyclists. 

The federal government has introduced a raft of reforms aimed at "closing loopholes" that allow businesses to exploit workers.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke has acknowledged the dangers faced by gig riders.

“The people who work in the gig economy because they're not technically employees have every single one of their rights fall off a cliff," he said on Tuesday during debate on the bill.

The bill will define casual employment, set minimum standards for independent contractors in the gig economy and ensure labour hire workers are not paid less than employees.

Mr Kaine called the reforms lifesaving and urged parliament to urgently pass the legislation to "set fair, safe and sustainable standards for all transport workers".

Three previous compensation cases have been settled on behalf of food delivery riders' families.

In 2022, Lihong Wei received an $830,000 payout after her husband Xiaojun Chen died while delivering for Hungry Panda in inner-city Sydney. 

The Personal Injury Commission found Mr Chen was an employee and not a contractor.

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