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On Sunday, March 28, 1982 a commercial truck accident occurred


On Sunday, March 28, 1982 a commercial truck accidentoccurred in the Rotterdam Industrial Park in Schenectady County, New York. A part time employee of a transport company rented a truck from a local truck rental company and drove it to the industrial park on that date to collect a load of apace heaters that needed to be transported for shipment the following day. His nine year old son was with him in the rental truck, as was his employer. His employer’s 16 year old son and a friend of his arrived shortly thereafter in the employer’s personal car.

The Bronx employer got out of the truck at the industrial park office. The employee, his son and the two teenaged boys continued to the bay where the space heaters were located. The employee backed up the truck to about a foot or so from the building. He stated that the left just enough room for a person to get by while loading the truck. He then left the truck in reverse, but turned the ignition off. They began to load the truck.

While loading the truck, the employer’s 16 year old son decided that they needed music. He went in to the passenger compartment of the rented truck and tried to turn on the radio. It would not work. He then decided that the ignition must have to be on in order for the radio to work. He turned the ignition key and the truck came on. It lurched backward three times because it was in gear. By that time, the employer had gotten to the location. He jumped into the truck and turned it off.

When the truck lurched backwards, it pinned the employee against the wall crushing his right leg at the knee area. The injury resulted in arterial damage as well. The employee spent the next two and a half years between the date of injury and the date of trial suffering excruciating pain. He suffered pins being placed into his leg, casts, and traction devices. Multiple surgeries, relearning to walk and still the doctors stated that he would have to have the leg amputated. Damages were awarded to the worker in the amount of $1.8 million. The Long Island owner of the rental truck company contends that the amount is excessive and should be reduced.

The court disagreed.

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