Severe Work Vehicle Accident Attorneys in San Francisco
Even before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people in San Francisco and around the Bay Area were early adopters of delivery and ride-share services. Once we were in the midst of the pandemic, our lives moved online even more. Now we rely on delivery vehicles to bring us everything. Though this is very convenient, our congested streets come with an increase in serious work-vehicle accidents with severe consequences.
If you are involved in work vehicle accidents, depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation from the other driver and/or the company that employs you or the driver of the other vehicle. To ensure you are getting the fairest treatment after you seek medical attention, it is important to contact a qualified lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to preserve evidence in your case, from GPS and cellphone data to the “black boxes” contained in these vehicles, and street-facing video cameras which may have captured the circumstances of the accident.
Who is at fault matters in California work vehicle accidents?
California is an at-fault (comparative liability) state for motor vehicle accidents. This means that the driver, or company, that is at fault for causing the accident is responsible in some measure for paying the costs of injuries and property damage sustained by the other party. Commercial vehicle accidents must be analyzed differently than ordinary automotive claims, with several layers of potential responsibility to be discovered and untangled.
The circumstances of a commercial accident are often complex and can require sophisticated legal analysis in under to determine how fault should be properly assigned. If you were driving a vehicle owned by your employer, or your personal car was involved in an accident with a vehicle owned by the other driver’s employer, it is important to call an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
In California, depending on the circumstances, an at-fault driver of the vehicle may be entitled to claim damage for injuries. If a commercial vehicle driver is determined to be negligent, then the driver can be held at fault for the accident. However, when it comes to commercial trucking, the federal government, state legislature, and the trucking industry each play a vital part in regulating the rules of the road, which are different in significant ways from the rules of the road for ordinary commuters, doctors driving across town for lunch, or soccer moms taking their team down the freeway for a game across the state. You need a qualified lawyer to help analyze, and explain, these critical differences as they apply to your case. You need a law firm that has the resources to marshal strong evidence, forensic experts, and accident recreation specialists to establish your claim. The Law Office of Scott Herndon takes pride in doing just work every day.
How vicarious liability can apply to a commercial vehicle accident
Vicarious liability means that an employee’s supervisor can be held responsible for the conduct of a subordinate. A delivery company, a vehicle maintenance contractor, or even a vehicle manufacturer can be found “vicariously liable” in cases where there was a vehicle defect (bad brakes, for example) that was not repaired. It’s not easy to prove vicarious liability, but companies and individuals who are responsible for your injuries should be held accountable.
There are tragic accidents, occurring all over the country, involving trucking companies who have required their drivers to work inhumane hours that violate laws and regulations. In many of these cases, trucking companies have been found vicariously liable for the accidents. Among other factors, to establish the employer was vicariously negligent (and potentially at fault) one must prove that:
- The truck driver was an employee of the company and worked under that company’s control and directions.
- The driver’s actions were within the scope of the employee’s employment agreement
- The company had the authority to control the driver’s actions
- The control and direction of the company’s policies fell below the appropriate standard(s) of care
Litigating commercial accidents requires keen attention to detail. Many companies are reluctant to admit fault or concede to vicarious liability. On rare occasions when a company manipulates or destroys evidence, or actively encourages and rewards its drivers for repeatedly violating regulations for sleep and rest, or intentionally exceeds limits on truck size, weight, routes, or other parameters, punitive damages may be appropriate.
Even when a commercial accident appears simple, a qualified attorney is necessary to discover and analyze the entire set of facts that formed its basis. We take pride in doing this work with exceptional diligence and care.
Claims against company drivers in California
Anyone involved in an accident with a commercial driver, including truckers, can file a personal injury claim for damages and injuries caused by the collision. The claim will seek compensation for:
- Medical bills, including hospital/facility costs, ambulance, surgery and treatments, medical devices and supplies, drugs, professional services
- Rehabilitation, therapy, and prosthetic devices
- Lost income and lost future earnings
- Death, disability, or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, PTSD
- Court costs
- Additional (punitive) damages
To file a claim, of course, a strong showing of evidence of who is at fault needs to be established. This evidence needs to show that the company’s driver and/or the company was negligent in some way. Usually, the company will accept liability for its employee’s actions.
Get compensation when your company or a co-worker is at fault
Many legal issues can come up with work-related car accidents in California. Strict deadlines apply to work-related injuries. It’s important to retain an experienced work vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at The Law Office of Scott R. Herndon can give you the personal respect you deserve, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to simultaneously file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and the company. Workers’ compensation claims cover an employee for any work-related injury. They can cover expenses such as medical and other costs along with some lost wages. Depending on the circumstances, however, a personal injury claim may be filed, and an employer may have a general liability policy with higher coverage limits than the personal auto policy of the other driver.
Our experienced, dedicated lawyers humanize the legal process by giving you and your family members the personal attention we would show our own families. We are personally invested in giving you the space you need to heal and the resources and commitment you need to prevail in negotiations or in court, when necessary.
We treat our Bay Area work-related accident clients like they are family
Based in Berkeley, California, The Law Office of Scott R. Herndon is a nationally-recognized, specialty law firm. We represent clients across California, from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley and Southern California, who have suffered serious personal injuries like those sustained in a truck or commercial vehicle accident. Scott R. Herndon’s experience as a philosopher, professor, athlete, and author, makes him different from other personal injury lawyers. He is devoted to paying extraordinary attention to each client. He listens carefully, does his research, and advocates with the mind of a professor, the attention to detail of an artist, and the focused determination of an athlete.
If you or a family member has sustained a severe injury in an accident with work or commercial vehicle, call 415.360.5477 or contact us online for a free consultation.