City settles catastrophic truck accident case involving skateboarder
Truck accidents involving a pedestrian can have devastating results. This was the case when the driver of a municipal garbage truck hit a nine-year-old boy who was left permanently disabled in a November 2011 accident.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the skateboarding boy had just entered the crosswalk in front of his elementary school. Struck by a garbage truck making a turn described by some as “dangerous and illegal,” the victim sustained major internal organ damage, broken bones and severe injuries to his leg, which was later amputated.
Now, almost two years later, the Waste & Recycling News reports that the city of San Diego has reached a tentative settlement with the boy for $18.5 million.
Considering the severe injuries sustained by the boy, a representative of the city stated “it was in the best interest of everyone to resolve the case without a trial.” An accident that requires amputation has lifelong consequences, and it is important that the negligent driver or responsible party be held accountable for the damages.
Negligence on the part of the driver
Generally, a finding of negligence in a car accident requires a showing that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. In cases involving serious injury where negligence may be a factor, it is important to present evidence that the driver acted inappropriately even where a final judgment is not reached.
In this case, the city agreed to pay out a substantial amount of money to the amputee. This is due to the fact that the garbage truck driver was acting on the city of San Diego’s behalf through the municipal waste company when he struck the young boy on his skateboard. When a negligent driver causes an injury and is working on behalf of an employer, then the company itself may be held liable for that driver’s negligence under the theory of “respondeat superior.” In this case the accident involves a truck owned and operated by a government entity, so the injured person filed a claim against the city itself for damages resulting from the negligence.
Special circumstances in this case
It’s important to note that this case has a set of special circumstances related to this specific accident. In this case, the suit was not against an individual person or a company but against the city of San Diego. According to California’s Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board website, there are special requirements for suing a city or government entity. A claim for injury to a person must be filed within the first six months after the incident. The claim is then reviewed for timeliness, jurisdiction and sufficiency. Therefore, a person facing a catastrophic injury that involves a person acting negligently on behalf of a government entity should contact an experienced attorney.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure that the appropriate claims are filed in a timely fashion. An attorney can also work with medical staff, emergency services and insurance companies. A person injured due to the negligence of another person or entity may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.