Motor vehicle accidents are an unfortunate part of life for people who travel California’s streets and highways. Most everyone is in a collision at some point in their life, and that does not stop people from driving. It should not, because state laws intend to minimize the risk on the road and to keep unsafe drivers from endangering those who follow the rules.
Drunk driving is one high profile example where the law serves to ban dangerous drivers from the road. A less publicized topic concerns drivers with medical concerns. Issues like epilepsy and narcolepsy can lead to unconsciousness, endangering other travelers.
An employer may be liable for an employee’s crash
While the law intends to keep dangerous drivers off the road, a license suspension or revocation often does not do the job. Last month, a California jury awarded $46 million dollars to the victim of a crash between a stopped motorcycle and a pickup truck driver in Hawthorne. In this case, the motorcycle was legally stopped at a red light, but was rear ended by the driver of a commercial pickup truck. The victim was severely injured and may lose his leg. The pickup’s driver caused the gruesome accident because he suffered an epileptic seizure while driving.
In this instance, the pickup is a commercial vehicle, driven for work. The driver’s employer knew of the medical condition and his doctor had even recommended that he not drive. With a diagnosed medical condition and a history of recent seizures, his employers knew he was a threat but allowed him to drive the company vehicle anyway, which influenced the scale of the final settlement.
The cost of an accident goes beyond the medical bills
An injury from a motor vehicle accident, whether you are in a car, on a motorcycle or even on foot, can change your life in an instant. Medical bills are expensive, and serious injuries often require time away from work, lost income, and sometimes cause disabilities that require a new career path or the inability to work at all. Liability can be confusing, especially if the at-fault driver is at work, in which case their employer is also a culpable party.