Late last week, a local news station reported that a Tampa truck driver ran over and killed a two-year-old boy who ran into the street. Apparently, the truck driver works for the city, and was visiting relatives in the city truck when the accident occurred.
The truck driver had been reprimanded before for using a city truck to make personal visits to friends and family members. In the present situation, the truck driver, who generally works nights, was leaving an apartment complex of a family member when the accident occurred. The local news report explained that the toddler was being cared for by a family member when he somehow ran into the street.
The report indicates the truck driver was driving slowly, however, he still did not see the child. He immediately stopped and attempted to assist the toddler. The apartment complex security officer attempted to perform CPR. The toddler was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The truck driver reportely has been suspended while an investigation is pending regarding the use of a city vehicle for non-work purposes.
Bringing a Negligence Claim
Bringing a negligence suit against another driver can be complicated, but when the other individual is a city employee the complexities can greatly increase.
Generally, to bring a negligence lawsuit in Florida the injured party must be able to establish that the other party had a duty to act in a certain manner, and they then failed to meet a specific standard of care, which caused harm to another party. There must also be a logical connection between the failure to act a certain way and the subsequent harm that was caused.
Once a party establishes negligence, he or she must also determine who is responsible. For example, is a parent responsible for a child? Is an employer responsible for an employee? All of these answers are very fact-specific, and the assistance of a trained attorney is often helpful in their resolution.
Vicarious liability is when one party is responsible for the actions of another. As mentioned, this usually occurs in a parent-child relationship, an employer-employee relationship, or a car owner-driver situation.
In the case above, the truck driver was driving a city truck when the accident occurred. However, he was not participating in official city business at that time. When this happens, an attorney must determine whether the employer can still be sued for the accident. There are many facts that go into this analysis, such as what the employee was doing, how far “off-route” the employee was, and whether the employer knew what the employee was doing.
There is a chance that the city could still be found liable even if the employee was not participating in official city business but was driving a city vehicle at the time of the accident. In the above case, the truck driver was previously warned to not engage in any more off duty trips with a city vehicle. There is still a question of which party can effectively be held liable.
An experienced attorney can help assist an individual in making a determination about who is actually responsible for an accident.
Have You Been Involved in an Automobile Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of another in a situation similar to the one above, or another type of accident, consider seeking the assistance of one of our attorneys. Call 352-387-8700 to set up a free initial consultation. You may be eligible for monetary compensation for your past medical bills, future medical bills, and pain and suffering related to the accident.
More Blog Posts:
Tampa Bay Attorney Dies in Boating Accident, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 20, 2014.
Police Identify Hit-and-Run Driver Responsible for the Deaths of Three Single Mothers, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 31, 2014.