The plaintiff, a 33 year-old freight truck operator, had been contracted to deliver two large, steel trusses, from Easton, Massachusetts to a construction site less than an hour away in Marlboro, Massachusetts. After arriving at the construction site, the plaintiff attempted to locate the steel contractor who was responsible for the off-loading of the trusses. According to the terms of the delivery agreement, the delivery was considered a “no touch load.” This means the steel contractor was solely responsible for removing the trusses and the plaintiff driver was not supposed to participate or assist with the task.
After locating the steel contractor at the construction site, the plaintiff returned to the flatbed truck and stood beside it. The plaintiff watched as the steel contractor began to off-load the trusses from the truck. Several tall, steel support beams, designed to prevent the load from falling off the side of the flatbed during transport, were removed from the sides of the truck to allow the steel contractor to access the trusses. One of these tall, steel side poles was leaned against the truck’s “head board”, which is the area that separates the flat bed from the rear of the cab.
In order to off-load the trusses from the flat bed, the defendant steel contractor placed two, large, wooden planks against the flat-bed. He intended to move the steel trusses from the flat-bed by hand and then to the ground using the inclined wooden planks as a ramp.
While the defendant was in the process of shifting the load toward the inclined planks, one of the steel side poles, which had been placed against the headboard, suddenly fell and struck the plaintiff on the head, resulting in a serious closed head injury.
The plaintiff filed a claim against the defendant to recover compensation for his severe head injuries. In the claim, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant steel contractor was ill prepared to off-load the steel trusses. This fact was confirmed by the defendant’s deposition, where he stated that off-loading steel trusses was not typically done using wooden planks as a ramp, which is what he attempted to do in this situation. The defendant stated that the steel trusses should have been removed from the truck with the use of a crane. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was negligent in deciding to move forward with the off-loading process once it was determined that a crane was unavailable to him. The plaintiff argued that the defendant should have known that it was not safe to proceed with off-loading until he had access to a crane.
The case was settled outside of the courtroom. The plaintiff was awarded a total of $300,000.