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Crushed by a Package Being Delivered

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller who was hurt when a large package was delivered to his home and fell on him, resulting in serious injury. He wanted to know his legal rights.

Home delivery of products is a big business. Companies like Amazon incur billions of dollars in shipping costs. Fed-ex and UPS are significant players in shipping goods to our doorsteps.

But who is responsible if, during delivery, you get injured?

In talking to our caller more, I found out that an air compressor fell on top of him while it was being unloaded from a delivery truck.

The delivered product was huge. The 80-gallon compressor was affixed to a shipping pallet. Together, the compressor and pallet weighed close to 600 lbs.

At the time of the delivery, the delivery driver could not fit his pallet jack under the 80-gallon compressor. Why? It seems that the shipping pallet was defectively manufactured and broken so that the tines of the jack would not fit under it.

In the ordinary course of an item this size, the delivery driver would fit a motorized pallet jack under the pallet holding the compressor and then lift the object. The driver would then let the jack do all the work and slide the packaging onto a gate, which would hydraulically gently lower the platform and jack and pallet to the ground. Once on the ground, the package could be wheeled into the customer’s garage.

Because the pallet was broken, the caller and the delivery driver tried to slide the package manually. In doing so, the entire package fell on its side, crushing the homeowner’s legs.

Who do you sue in such a case?

First, you would look to a suit against the shipping company and its driver. Second, you would consider suing the compressor manufacturer and any seller/distributor responsible for the defective pallet.

Keep in mind the defendants in such a case will argue that the homeowner assumed the risk of being injured by volunteering to help.

A big question will be, did the homeowner act unreasonably? Did the homeowner have reason to know the package might tip over?

Thus, warnings and notices of tip-over dangers on the cardboard packaging surrounding the compressor would be essential pieces of evidence in this kind of case.

So, in the caller’s situation, there sounds like there is definitely a case to be investigated and pursued.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, a product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”