Liability for company bus knocking wooden crates into employee?
A 40-seater bus was alighting the employees in the company yard facility in a "designated parking zone" which was not completed yet. The paintwork was not done, yet management allowed all the company buses to park at the yard, having agreed a day before the accident happened. The yard is where all the wooden crates are stored for shipping purposes.
On that faithful day, the bus was parked very close to the wooden crates (< 2ft), thus no proper walking path, and employees were made to walk in between the crates to get to the proper walking path. After alighting the last passenger, the bus proceed to negotiate a right turn to exit the facility via the gate.
Upon turning right, the rear of the bus knocked onto 2 stacked wooden crates. The stacked wooden crates fell and landed on an employee's lower right limb, injuring the calf muscle and ankle/foot. The employee was given 30 days of sick/hospitalization leave.
Upon investigation, it was found that the management agreed to let the bus park at the "designated parking zone" w/o considering the safety of the employees. The crates were not barricaded, and a proper walking path was not communicated to the employee the day before the bus drove into the yard facility.
It was also found that a risk assessment was not carried out and there was sufficient evidence to show that the company bus transport coordinator had not done his job well.
The direct cause of the accident was the bus driver, which is a third party contractor. He had failed to observe the left mirror upon turning right. The indirect cause of the accident was the employer's ill-regard for the safety of its employees.
I was wondering, based on the evidence, can the injured employee sue both the employer and bus company/driver for negligence? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Liability for company bus knocking wooden crates into employee?":
Wayne (Texas) :
From the facts you present, the injuries weren't very serious. The injured employee received 30 days of sick/hospitalization leave. The employee's calf muscle and ankle/foot were injured, but because of the minimal amount of sick leave, the injuries don't appear to be much more than strains or sprains to both body parts.
If the employee had sustained a fracture, or deep gash in one of those body parts, his or her sick/hospitalization period would probably have exceeded 30 days. In addition, the employee would have high medical bills.
Presuming the injuries were "soft tissue," a lawsuit would be a waste of time. Under the scenario you offer, it would be highly unlikely the employee would be able to find an attorney to accept the case. If there were serious injuries, hospitalization, etc., it will be different.
Of course the employee can ultimately file a lawsuit him or herself, but once filed, the company will refer the case to their attorneys who will then overwhelm the employee with pretrial discovery, including depositions, interrogatories, and motion practice involving court hearings.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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