Scammers and people who have too much time on their hands may file petty litigation. These are small claims court lawsuits that have flimsy evidence or reasons for existing, but the claimant files them anyway. They may file them because they enjoy the drama and hassle, but most file them because they expect the recipient to pay up beforehand, to not turn up at court, or even to mount such a terrible defense that they lose.
If you encounter these sorts of people, then do whatever it takes to draw out the proceedings as long as possible. In many cases, they will become bored of waiting and move on to their next victim. The sad fact is you cannot avoid these people if you are a courier driver, but you may take a few steps to make it more difficult for them to file a winning lawsuit.
You Didn’t Deliver
This is one of the biggest and most common claims that drivers experience. We all know the scams. How people can claim they didn’t receive something and they get a refund on the item they stole.
As you are probably aware, you can avoid getting sued for this by getting the right insurance. At that point, the insurance company takes over and they know how to win. Also, modern insurance companies and even delivery companies are now asking for things like photos of delivery.
This means that if you do accidentally deliver to the wrong place, then you are covered to some degree from being sued. You can only be sued if they can prove you stole or were intentionally negligent in your duty.
You Destroyed My Goods
There are several ways to avoid this. You need insurance for the things you deliver, and you need goods-in-transit insurance. There are tracking protocols that show how many hands the package went through, which may help you avoid blame. Also, some drivers have body cams on them similar to the things the police wear.
Despite what you are told by consumers, there are no laws stopping you from recording your entire day unless you intentionally snoop into somebody’s house. Quite often, the case is dropped immediately once you prove that the package was intact when you made your delivery.
You Kicked My Dog
This sort of thing comes up all too often. There are some malicious couriers and delivery drivers out there who will kick anything from a dog to a cute bunny. For the most part, however, you have somebody with fuzzy footage from a doorbell camera where your feet cannot be seen clearly.
This is another occasion where the body cam comes in handy. It may seem silly having to record everything you do, but it will get you out of all sorts of scrapes. Some people are just jerks, and the only way to stop them from profiting from their lawsuits is to have video alibis.
Your Driving Endangered My Life
This is a tricky one because liability is often difficult to determine. Does your van insurance company pay? Your courier insurance? Do you pay? Does the company that hired you pay? The sorts of people who pull the "Endangered life" scam are not sophisticated.
With something like a dashcam, you can see them pull out in front of you or swerve their bike into your path. When there is no damage to themselves or their vehicle, they make claims about you endangering their life or causing them distress. In most cases, a dashcam will keep you out of the courts.
Your Delivery Was Late
Yes, you can be sued for things being late, but there is a low percentage of successful lawsuits considering the number that are filed. The weird thing is that people file these types of suits for all sorts of nutty reasons. Like the work-from-home accountant who claims she lost a million-pound account because her home computer was delivered a day late and she couldn’t do her work.
Successful occasions often include damages for time-sensitive goods, especially when severe negligence or some sort of deception is involved. For example, if you fail to deliver a human organ in time because you claimed you had an ambulance when you didn’t.
The old "Delivery is late" lawsuit can be avoided in several ways. Firstly, the company you are working for (or their insurance) should assume responsibility for your delivery being made and you should ensure they will before you take their job. Secondly, you can create delivery contracts that limit your liability if a delivery is not made on time. Thirdly, there are numerous courier and goods-in-transit insurance policies that cover you against delivering something late. Fourthly, don’t take jobs you are not sure you can make.
Lastly, seek legal advice before you respond to the lawsuit because many filing are unwinnable, and quite often the person filing the suit knows this. There are bendable rules about reasonable delivery margins, and stricter rules where you can avoid a lawsuit if you can prove you did all you could to get the delivery there on time.
Your Road Rage Caused Me Emotional Distress
If you anger somebody on the roads, they may try to sue you. The reasons for the lawsuit are as colourful as they are stupid, but a common one is that your road rage caused them emotional distress. The lawsuits have to be cleverly worded to ensure they do not slip into your vehicle insurance territory. In these cases, in-cab cameras are pretty handy. They show what you were doing during the time of the incident. Keep them as hidden as possible.
They are also good for dealing with the police. As you know, police play games, like playing vehicle bingo where they have to ticket a vehicle of every color. If you have an in-cab camera and you keep it secret, then it is handy evidence when you can state that you were a victim in the scenario and that you didn’t do anything wrong.
You Sexually Harassed Me
An easy lawsuit is to claim you discriminated against somebody or insulted somebody because of their race, gender or sexual preference. Another common complaint is that of sexual harassment. These are all hot issues and scammers know that businesses will do anything to distance themselves from these accusations before the usual Twitter witch hunt begins. Your biggest defense against this is two-fold. The first is the body cam that you can use to prove you delivered the package and left.</p>
<p>The second is your GPS vehicle tracking. Your tracking software will show how long you were parked and how long you spent delivering the parcel. This is very important because the less time you spend at the delivery address, the stronger your case is. This is especially true if the claimant has created a long story about how you entered their house, made a cup of tea, slowly went through the underwear drawer and then offered to pay them for sex.
In some cases, people will try to bait delivery drivers into sexual misconduct, based on things they saw in adult movies, and your best defense is to make your delivery and get out as quickly as possible with excuses about already being late for your next few deliveries.
You Failed to Follow Instructions
This is perhaps one of the most annoying lawsuits because those making the claim are often resolute in their anger and how "Correct" they are. It usually goes something like this: they give special instructions in the delivery note section, and they give you some complicated instruction that you cannot or do not follow, and then they sue you because their item was damaged or stolen.</p>
<p>The sad part is that people will sue over even the smallest issue, even if the issue was brought on by them. Such as if they tell you to put the item under the welcome mat, and the next person to the door steps on it. Other common problems involve how far you are allowed to deliver. For example, you may be willing to climb the 28 steps to deliver to the flat, but your insurance may not allow you to enter the building and climb the stairs.
In many cases, these cases are won simply because you making the delivery doesn’t mean you have to follow their instructions. In some cases, if you made a reasonable effort to follow their instructions, then they have no case against you.
Most cases are won by the courier simply because there is no legal obligation for drivers to follow complicated instructions. On the other hand, if the delivery recipient can prove you were negligent or showed poor conduct with regards to the instructions, then you may lose the case. In most cases, make a good attempt to follow the instructions so long as your insurance allows for it. Also, offer things like letting the recipient choose the delivery time and arrange re-delivery if required as these will often put responsibility for receiving the delivery back into the hands of the customer/recipient.
Some of these examples may seem far-fetched but remember, you are dealing with human nature. Be prepared for anything!