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Hugh Robert
Hugh Robert
Attorney • (918) 592-1144

Does a furniture company who loads a truck owe a duty to third parties?

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Our firm recently won an automobile accident case on appeal. Our case involved a woman who was driving down the road and the truck in front of her had chairs that flew out of the truck landing immediately in front of her car. She put on her brakes to avoid hitting the chairs and was rear ended. The driver of the pick-up truck had picked up some chairs at Sams then went to the furniture store to pick up some bookcases. The employees of the furniture store unloaded the chairs, loaded the bookshelves, and then tied down the chairs on top of the bookshelves with a piece of twine.

There were two questions addressed on appeal. The first was whether or not the company who loaded the truck owed a duty to the drivers. The Court of Civil Appeals held that “injuries can occur when furniture is improperly loaded and the company was aware of that fact.” The Court went on to hold that “it is foreseeable that other motorists could be harmed by improper loading” of the truck and that the “law imposes an obligation to lessen the risk or take precaution to protect others coming with the zone of risk.”

The second question the Court considered was “what kind of evidence could be used to show the company had breached the duty.” The Court held that the injured party “may prove the element of breach of duty by inference from circumstances, when such circumstances ‘take the case out of the realm of conjecture and within the field of legitimate inference from established facts.’” Finally, the Court found that the company “had a duty to persons on the roadway…when its employees unload, reload and arrange boxes of furniture in the bed of a pick-up truck and also secure same with twine or rope as a binding”

To read the entire opinion, Click Here:

http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=466647