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Who pays for added delivery costs due to fire

Question:

Good Chodesh,
We arranged a truck delivery to our customer and when the truck arrived the driver was told that due to a fire at the plant they could not accept delivery and would need to be postponed until the next day. There will be an additional cost to layover the truck as the driver needs to be compensated for the idle time that he can’t use his truck. The driver had scheduled the delivery appointment which was confirmed by the customer prior to the fire breaking out and the load was already in transit when the fire took place. The customer never alerted the driver that there was a fire and that the plant was not accepting deliveries until the next day.
Who is responsible to pay for the extra day layover fee to the trucker, the supplier who is paying for the delivery or the customer whose plant had the fire causing the delay in delivery.

Thank you.

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

Since the supplier is paying for the delivery, it is considered as if the truck driver is not working for the factory, rather for the supplier. The Shulchan Aruch says that when a worker, gets to the work site and due to unforeseen circumstances, the employer cannot have them do their work that the employer is not liable since he himself was considered an “ones”. In this scenario too, the factory had an unexpected fire, and the management was busy dealing with the pressing issues of the fire, that even though they didn’t inform the driver it would be included in their “ones”.

It is important to mention that question of this type, usually must be discussed in person with a dayan when both sides are present, because each side sees the situation from a different angle. Therefore this answer is only “theoretical”, and according to the facts that were presented in the question.

Sources:

Choshen Mishpat 333-2.

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