Garbage Truck/Unicycle Wreck In San Francisco
Few details were available about an early-morning collision that involved one of the largest kinds of vehicles on the road and one of the smallest kinds.
The collision, which happened near the intersection of Octavia Boulevard and Oak Street, occurred when the unicyclist, who was pronounced dead at the scene, collided with the rear of the Recology Company garbage truck.
“Safety is Recology’s paramount priority, and we are deeply saddened by the loss of life in this tragic accident,” company spokesperson Robert Reed said. “Our most sincere sympathies go out to the loved ones of the victim.”
Motorized unicycles, e-scooters, and other such vehicles aren’t quite motorcycles and aren’t quite bicycles. So, these vehicles are hazardous, and the laws regarding their operation are uncertain.
Frequently, individuals who use these vehicles have little or no operating experience. A valid credit card is the only rental requirement. Additionally, most of these riders don’t wear helmets. These rider inadequacies often give rise to the contributory negligence defense. More on that below.
Additionally, it’s usually illegal to operate such vehicles on the sidewalk. However, it’s extremely dangerous, and annoying to motorists, to operate such vehicles in street traffic lanes. Therefore, these riders face some tough choices.
Since e-scooters are faster that bicycles and slower than motorcycles, these riders often sustain serious injuries in wrecks, such as:
- Head Injuries: When riders fall off their vehicles and land hard, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls. The repeated, violent impacts usually cause permanent injuries. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate.
- Broken Bones: Additionally, these falls often shatter bones, instead of simply breaking them. As a result, doctors must use very aggressive and invasive methods, such as metal parts, to reconstruct these bones. The additional surgical procedures mean higher treatment costs and longer recovery periods.
- Biker’s Arm: As people fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. When victims react this way, they usually injure the brachial plexus nerve bundle under their arms. These nerve injuries, much like head injuries, often permanently affect the face and arms.
As mentioned, most e-scooter riders don’t wear helmets. Moreover, these vehicles have no seat belts or airbags. So, these victims are completely exposed to danger.
Negligence is basically a lack of care. Most commercial operators, like garbage truck drivers, have a duty of utmost care in California. Therefore, almost any driving error, like a failure to ensure the way behind them is clear, is a lack of care.
Evidence in a negligence case usually includes the police report and medical bills. Since the most diligent emergency responder isn’t an accident reconstruction professional, many police reports are incomplete or inaccurate. That’s especially true if the victim died. In these situations, the police report only includes one side of the story.
Electronic evidence, like nearby surveillance cameras, helps a San Jose personal injury attorney fill in the gaps in these situations. A camera is like an eyewitness who cannot be biased or incorrect.
Insurance company defenses in vehicle collision claims include the aforementioned comparative fault defense. This legal doctrine shifts accident blame from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim. For example, in the above case, the insurance company might admit the driver wasn’t being careful, but blame the wreck on the victim’s reckless operation.
If that’s the case, jurors must listen to the evidence and divide fault between the two parties on a percentage basis.
California is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the tortfeasor was only 1 percent responsible for the collision, the victim is still entitled to a proportionate share of damages.
These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Reach Out to a Hard-Working Santa Clara County Attorney
Car crash claims are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer, contact the Solution Now Law Firm. We have offices in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Oakland.