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Court of Appeals Hears Third Party Liability Argument in Truck Accident Case


This is the story of an incident that resulted in a personal injury claim from a commercial truck driver. The facts of the case are not being disputed by any of the parties involved. The truck driver drove his truck to the docks to deliver some cartons of merchandise to the railroad company. He unloaded the first crate and put it on the loading platform. He then stepped onto the loading platform and picked up the carton. After picking up the carton again, he stepped onto the pier floor. What he did not know was that the flooring was broken. When he stepped onto it, it broke further causing him to fall and sustain injury. There is no dispute that the injury in question was caused due to negligence on the part of the railroad company in maintaining its flooring.

The question arises in that the railroad company claims that the insurance company that covered the driver’s truck should cover the liability from this accident because the policy covers the entire truck delivery process including unloading the truck to the point where the goods are planned to go.

The insurance company that covered the truck agreed that if it was an act of negligence on behalf of the driver, then at that time, they would incur the liability for the accident. They maintain, however, that because the incident occurred because the floor of the pier was not maintained by the railroad company in safe standards that the liability rests solely with the railroad company and not in any part with them. They cited several precedent cases that confirm their opinion. The court had previously found that the insurance company covering the truck would cover the liability. However, on appeal, it was determined that the insurance company for the truck was not responsible and that liability rests entirely on the railroad company for failing to maintain a safe working environment. The justices unanimously reversed and vacated the prior decision based on the law and on the facts. This means that the victim must sue the railroad company to receive compensation from the accident.

The court stated that while it was agreed upon that the injury to the driver occurred while he was in the process of delivering the carton; he would have never fallen if the floor had not been damaged.

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