Injured Delivery Drivers on Workers Compensation May Have Additional Remedy

When a delivery driver sustains an injury during the course of his or her employment which is serious enough to cause disability from work, a Workers Compensation Claim is the first remedy that must be explored.  Workers Compensation will pay for related medical treatment and a portion of wages to help stave off bill collectors, and give the worker a fighting chance to maintain his or her current lifestyle.  However, the wage benefits will not fully match prior earnings before the injury.  This is the only claim that can be made against an employer.  Nothing further can be sought from the employer, even if it was the employer’s negligence in having an unsafe warehouse or vehicle, or by assigning unreasonable tasks, which caused the injury.

Therefore, the injured worker should consult legal counsel to determine whether the injury was caused by the negligence of a party other than the employer.  For instance, when delivery personnel enter the property of a retail store to deliver merchandise, the store has a duty to provide safe working conditions to this worker, just as it would to its own employees.  If the merchandise must be unloaded into the interior of the store, the store must provide safe passage that is suitable for not only the delivery personnel, but the equipment they are likely to use, such as hand-trucks or carts.  If the delivery personnel must enter the store from outside in bad weather, the store owes a duty to have mats or slip resistant surfaces that will allow safe delivery of often heavy or cumbersome merchandise.

If delivery personnel are injured while delivering construction materials such as lumber, drywall, piping or tools to a jobsite where construction, demolition or renovation were currently being performed, they may also benefit from the New York State Labor Law.  This law may hold a general contractor or owner of the property liable for the injuries if they resulted from an unsafe worksite, the delivery of the product was necessary for the furtherance of the project, and the delivery was to a location on the site that was actively under construction, demolition or renovation.

Delivery personnel who sustain disabling injuries on the job are well served to explore all avenues of recovery, in addition to Workers Compensation, which only provides a very basic level of financial protection that is often inadequate to sustain all of the injured worker’s financial obligations.  The circumstance of the injury should be closely examined to determine whether the injury was the result of a failure of a party, other than the employer, to provide the accepted level of occupational safety to the injured worker during the course of the delivery.

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