Mishandled Equipment Delivery at Active Worksite Causes Serious Injuries

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on September 26, 2017

Trucking Expert WitnessThis case involves the alleged mishandling of unloading cargo off of a truck. Plaintiff and Defendant were at a construction site to assist in the remodel of residential buildings. Plaintiff’s supervisor asked that he assist the defending distribution company who was also on-site to unload a generator off the back of a truck. there is only one truck driver present to deliver the materials and he testified that he required assistance in getting the material off of the back of the truck. The truck has an automatic lift gate which is operated by the push of a button on the side of the truck. The generator was wheeled with the dolly onto the lift gate. While the lift gate is lowering, the generator and dolly topple off the side of the lift gate, falling into plaintiff and causing serious injuries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the proper standards for unloading cargo from a truck similar in scope to what happened in this case?
  • 2. Can you discuss proper oversight for unloading trucks as it relates to number of drivers necessary, securing cargo, general oversight, the use of a dolly, wheel locking, etc?

Expert Witness Response E-008501

I have a great deal of direct involvement in these types of cases. I’ve written training programs for motor carriers to prevent these types of circumstances. Communication between receiver and motorcarrier is first and foremost important in these cases. It sounds like this was an active worksite. Unfortunately, too often, mistakes are made in this industry where somebody was not prepared to unload/load the cargo (responsibility of this trucking delivery company). It’s so important to have correct protocol as to what needs to be done and what needs to be communicated with shipper and receiver at point of delivery. This doesn’t seem like a delivery to someone who unloads shipment every day which is very important. Because this is an active work site, the driver must be prepared to get this freight off successfully. DOT wouldn’t apply, so this becomes a workplace safety issue. OSHA is going to come into play because of workplace safety, but because it involves a commercial motor vehicle, there are industry customs and practices in the trucking industry to handle situations like this.

Contact this expert witness

Find a Construction Expert Witness Near You

What State is your case in?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY