Long Beach City Truck Runs Over Sleeping Man, $2.3M Verdict Awarded

Californians are sometimes injured by people who are working at the time of their accidents, including public employees. Both private and public employers may be held to be liable for the actions of their employees in certain situations. A recent case, Jonathan Soto v. City of Long Beach, BC 559317, that was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court demonstrates the principle of vicarious liability for public employees.Case backgroundOn Feb. 4, 2014, Jonathan Soto, a 66-year-old man who was retired, fell asleep on the beach close to the 5400 block of Ocean Boulevard around 10 a.m. While he was sleeping, a city employee with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine was driving a city truck on the beach, picking up trash as a part of his job. The driver, Stanley Willie Delaney, also had a passenger in his vehicle. Failing to see Soto, Delaney ran over him. Soto was seriously injured and suffered a broken pelvis and fractures to his lumbar vertebrae numbers one through four. Soto filed his lawsuit against the City of Long Beach and against Delaney on Oct. 1, 2014.Plaintiff’s argumentsSoto argued that Delaney was negligent when he was operating the truck in the course and scope of his employment for the city because he failed to watch out for people on the beach. He also argued that Delaney was driving at an unsafe rate of speed and that he was distracted by the passenger who was with him in the vehicle. In order to prove the extent of his injuries, he called a medical expert, orthopedist Jacob Tauber, M.D., to testify at trial. He claimed special damages for his past accident-related medical expenses in the amount of $253,642 as well as non-economic losses.Defendant’s argumentsThe defendants argued that Soto was negligent for sleeping in an area that he should have known was traveled by trucks. They also disputed the extent of his injuries, arguing that he made a full recovery and had no lasting ill effects. The defendant called their own medical expert, Thomas Schmalzried, M.D., to testify at trial.Offers and demandsBefore trial, the final demand made by the plaintiff was $1,600,000. The defendant countered with a final offer of $640,000, which the plaintiff rejected. The defendant did not make any further offers during the trial.VerdictAfter a trial that lasted for 6 days, the jury deliberated for 1 day, returning a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. He was awarded a total of $2,328,954.50. Of that amount, $253,642 was for his past medical expenses. The remaining $2,075,312.50 was for the non-economic losses that Soto suffered as a result of the accident.Vicarious liability and public employeesCalifornia codifies a public employer’s liability for the tortious actions of its employees at Cal. Govt. Code § 815.2(a). Under that statutory section, a public employer may be liable when an employee’s actions or failures to act are the proximate cause of another person’s injuries if the acts or omissions would have been legal grounds for the injured person to sue the employee separately if he or she had not been working. In the instant case, Delaney’s negligence formed a legal ground upon which Soto would have had the basis to sue him if he had not been working at the time. However, since he was working within the scope and course of his employment when the accident happened, Soto was able to hold the city liable for damages.
The vicarious liability of an employer for the actions of its employees is based on a legal theory called respondeat superior. This is a Latin term that translates as ‘let the master answer.’ In order for the theory to apply, the employee must have been negligent while acting in the course and scope of his or her employment. His or her negligent action must have caused the accident, the accident must have resulted in harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff must have suffered actual damages from it.Course and scope of employmentIn order to prove that a worker was acting in the course and scope of his or her employment, the plaintiff must show that the worker was on the clock at the time of the accident, and that the injury resulted from the employee’s performance of an activity for which he or she was employed to perform and that the activity was one that the employer would benefit from in some way.
In this case, Delaney was clearly working at the time of the accident, picking up trash for the City of Long Beach when he ran over Soto, a task which was part of his job. The city clearly benefitted from his removing trash left behind on the beach by beachgoers.

The vicarious liability of a public employer for an employee is codified in order to help people who are injured through the fault of the employee to recover full and fair compensation for their economic and noneconomic losses.

Looking for a personal injury attorney near Long Beach? Talk to the best accident lawyer in Long Beach. … More Long Beach City Truck Runs Over Sleeping Man, $2.3M Verdict Awarded

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How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawyers are important fixtures of society. These professionals help people develop a strong case against a person who may have caused them some form of injury. In doing so, the aggrieved party can get the financial support and equivalent remuneration that would help them heal and go back to their own lives.

Given the sensitive nature of these proceedings, it is important to acquire the services of a personal injury lawyer that one can trust. Here is a quick and easy to read guide on how to get one:

Get an Accessible Personal Injury Lawyer

While this is not a major requirement, it would be convenient to get a lawyer that you can easily go to any time of the week. These types of cases usually involves a lot of conversations, given that what had happened and what you feel should be documented in great and tremendous detail. Having someone that can be accessed easily would provide so many benefits to your schedules and would even expedite the entire court process.

Get Someone with Years of Experience in the Industry

This is quite frankly one of the most important aspects you have to pay attention to when looking for this particular type of lawyer. Settling this kind of case is difficult and challenging, given that lawyers are not only forced to deal with law and opposing circumstantial evidence, they also have to accommodate the dozens of emotions that come out during settlement or trial. It takes a special kind of lawyer to handle all of these.

A personal injury lawyer with years of under their respective belts means that they can easily and effectively handle any situation. They know how to carry themselves, what argument to use, what words to say and what strategy and technique to implement in order to get you what you need and what the other party owes you.

Get Someone Who is Passionate About Your Cause

Getting an intelligent and skillful lawyer is one thing, but to truly guarantee success, make sure to acquire the services of someone who truly believes your cause. They have to have a connection with you and actually have the intrinsic desire to defend you. When they have this, they will do whatever it takes to win the case and will continuously fight for your rights with all of the resources they can gather. This is really one of the most certain ways to make success a certainty.

Get Someone Who is Spoken Highly Of by Peers

Lawyers provide a valuable service and like any business that provides a transaction, they have previous clients. These guys can be a source of valuable information. Make sure to shoot them an email or have coffee with them. Ask how their experiences were, what the lawyers did, and how they treated the clients. These might provide insight on who you should get.

Make sure to follow these tips and you will get the best lawyer you can find. You can also visit http://sklegal.com.au/personal-injury-lawyers-sydney/More How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer