A tragic incident occurred in Martinez last week, resulting in the death of a pregnant woman. During a construction project, the bed of a truck at a city construction project raised to dump its load of gravel. Instead of dumping the gravel, the truck toppled over onto a driveway, and crushed a car where a woman was sitting inside, killing her.
At the time of the accident, a construction worker was helping the woman back out of her driveway so that the truck could move in and unload the gravel, which weighed over 20 tons. The gravel shifted, which caused the truck to overturn. Witnesses say that first responders ripped the door off her car and took the woman’s pulse, but determined she had died at the scene. The pregnant woman’s four year old daughter was in the driveway at the time of the accident and witnessed her mother’s death.
This horrifying accident is even more tragic because it could have been avoided. Had different safety procedures been in place, the accident would not have occurred and the woman would not have lost her life.
If a person is killed in an accident involving municipal workers, such as this accident, the municipality may be liable for damages. However, there are strict rules in place about accidents involving municipalities, which are severer than the rules in place for other bad actors. In certain limited circumstances, individuals who are injured in incidents with government entities can make claims. Unfortunately, because there are such strict requirements for making claims, many public entities will vigorously fight against such lawsuits, because they know that it may be easy to defeat the lawsuits based upon immunities granted to them. In addition, many injured victims attempt to settle their case directly with the municipality, which is almost always a bad idea. The municipality is looking to save money, not to ensure that you get a fair settlement.
In most cases, claims against government entities in California have to be brought within six months. This is a much shorter time frame than other types of cases. Some common types of claims that are brought against municipalities include:
- School accidents, including accidents on school playgrounds or accidents on school buses;
- Accidents involving public transportation, including public buses, streetcars, or trains;
- Car accidents involving government vehicles;
- Accidents that occur on public property, such as sidewalk accidents;
- Police brutality; and
- Intentional acts from teachers against students, such as sexual abuse or bullying.
All of these accidents do or could involve liability on the part of a city, state, county, or local entity. Those who are harmed because of the negligence of municipal employees deserve compensation for their injuries. Victims may be entitled to monetary damages from the municipality. This can include compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Obviously, not everyone who is harmed on public property or because of the negligence of a municipal employee is entitled to compensation, but if it can be proven that the accident occurred because of some negligence on the part of the municipality, the victim may be entitled to compensation.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that a municipality that commits negligent or intentionally wrongful acts should be held liable for damages. If you have been injured in an accident involving a municipal employee, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco Bay Area personal injury attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She works with clients throughout the Oakland-San Francisco area to ensure they get the compensation they deserve. She offers free consultation to her clients, and her clients pay nothing until they receive compensation for their accident.