A New California Appeals Court Decision Strengthens the Options for People Hit and Injured by Unlicensed Drivers
There are so many details that can go into building a negligence lawsuit that will generate the outcome you need to compensate you fully for the harm you suffered in your vehicle accident. One of the most essential tasks is successfully identifying everyone who is potentially liable to you – and including all of them in your lawsuit. This step is critical because, the more culpable entities and people you can sue, the better your chances of getting everything you deserve. It is also a place where it pays to have an experienced San Mateo accident lawyer on your side. Take, as an example, the serious pedestrian accident
involving B.M. According to the complaint, B.M. was legally crossing a street in San Diego County when A.R. struck and severely injured him. A.R.'s car collided with B.M. after another driver, R.W., allegedly ran a red light and crashed into A.R.’s vehicle, sending A.R.’s vehicle into the pedestrian. When you are injured by a driver, you potentially have a claim against that driver for negligence. You may also, however, have a claim against others. If, for example, someone other than the driver owned the vehicle that hit you, then you may have a claim against that owner, even though he/she wasn’t driving. That claim may involve a type of negligence known as “negligent entrustment,” which is to say that the owner was negligent for having ever given the driver permission to use the vehicle. Another potentially liable person/entity maybe the driver’s employer. If the driver was doing work for his/her employer when he/she hit and injured you, the employer may owe you damages under a legal theory known as “vicarious liability.” If the employer knew or should have known that the driver was not a safe driver, the employer might be liable for “negligent hiring.” An Extra Piece of Evidence Establishing the Employer's Negligence
The wrinkle in B.M.’s case was that R.W. did not have a driver’s license and the injured pedestrian used that unlicensed status as the basis for pursuing R.W.’s employer and its owner. The appellate court decision in B.M.’s favor represents a very important “win” for people harmed by unlicensed drivers. The groundbreaking decision said that, based on California statutory laws (including Vehicle Code Section 14604
, which bars licensed drivers from allowing unlicensed people to drive their vehicles,) employers have a legal obligation to inquire and ensure that the people they hire to driver their company vehicles are, in fact, licensed drivers. When an employer fails to even inquire about an employee’s license statute, that failure could be viewed as a failure to satisfy the employer's statutory duty. It could also be a valid foundation for a winning claim of negligent hiring and/or negligent entrustment case. Whether or not you were hit by a licensed or unlicensed driver, you need a legal team fully up-to-date on the latest in California injury law developments and fully equipped to use all of those new developments to your maximum advantage. Count on the knowledgeable San Mateo pedestrian accident
attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to provide you and your family with that kind of powerful and effective representation. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.