Safeway Truck Driver Held Responsible for Injuries Caused by How Truck was Parked
Our California First District Court of Appeal recently decided that a professional truck driver may be responsible for personal injuries caused by the way he parked his truck. This is true even if the truck was legally parked. The case is Lawson v Safeway Inc.
The facts of the case are as follows: A large Safeway tractor trailer truck was parked legally at the side of the road on Highway 101 close to an intersection near Crescent City. The trailer blocked the view of drivers attempting to cross the intersection and turn onto the highway. The court held that the Safeway truck driver owed a duty of care to park his trailer in such an manner as to not increase the risk of harm caused by motorists using the highway. Since the driver was employed by Alameda based, Safeway Inc. at the time, Safeway was responsible under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability.
As an Oakland personal injury lawyer, I have represented many personal injury clients who were victims of truck accidents over the years. These cases are particularly interesting and challenging as there are many safety standards and regulations which apply to truck drivers which do not apply to ordinary motorists. Usually we must retain truck driving experts to testify about the standard of care with respect to driver’s activities and what was reasonable under the circumstances. For example in the Lawson case, expert testimony was necessary to show that a professionally trained truck driver would not have parked his trailer in such a manner as to effect the sight distance of those using the nearby intersection.
Frequently, I see professional truck drivers double parking, parking with their trailers blocking drive ways and interfering with my ability to see the roadway clearly. I am glad that the appellate court has recognized that when these drivers do interfere with driver’s safe use of the road, the can be held legally responsible for the injuries they cause.
Lawson v Safeway Inc. December 30, 2010