Given the nature of their jobs, delivery truck drivers are at risk of being involved in vehicular accidents. There are a number of reasons for this. Drivers are often required to deliver packages quickly, especially the workers employed by businesses that promise “same-day” and “overnight” deliveries. Drivers may engage in distracted driving when looking for the next building for delivery. Changing routes or driving unfamiliar routes can also make the job more challenging. Truck drivers may also get hit by another vehicle when in the process of making a delivery.
A UPS driver making his regular deliveries on Staten Island was maimed when he was crushed against his truck by a car swerving to avoid a jaywalker, reported the New York Post (4.6.15). Tom Ryan, 40, was unloading packages when he was hit by a Toyota. The crash ripped off one of his legs off and left the other “hanging by a thread.”
Witnesses may have saved the driver’s life by using a shirt as a tourniquet to stanch the bleeding. The New York Post reported that Ryan was in serious condition and was “going to live.”
The driver of the Toyota told police that he was trying to avoid a pedestrian when he swerved and hit the UPS driver. Allegedly, the pedestrian was crossing against the traffic light.
Truck drivers and a group called driver/sales workers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) together ranked as the seventh most dangerous profession in 2013. In the same year, more delivery people died on the job than any other vocation. In fact, transportation-related incidents were the top cause of on-the-job fatalities across all job categories, accounting for 40% of deaths, according to the BLS.
Delivery truck drivers also have a higher risk of injuries due to lifting and moving heavy objects than many other workers in many other occupations. Sometimes, too, equipment is not as well-maintained as it should be.
Under New York Workers’ Compensation law, employers are responsible for paying workers’ comp benefits in almost any situation where the employee is injured while performing a work-related task. Employers are also often responsible for providing Workers’ Compensation benefits to a company driver who is injured while working, even if the driver was negligent.
Delivery personnel who suffer disabling injuries on the job should consider exploring all avenues of recovery, in addition to Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Comp only provides a basic level of financial protection, paying for related medical treatment and a portion of wages. While the wage benefits are welcome, they are often not enough to sustain all of an injured worker’s financial obligations. However, even is the employer was at fault for the employee’s injury, Workers’ Compensation is the only claim that can be made against an employer. An experienced lawyer can help to determine whether the injury was caused by the negligence of another party, other than the employer. A separate legal action against a third party or parties, may allow an injured employee to recover compensation for pain, suffering and other financial losses.