Visitor Question

Lack of vehicle maintenance results in brake failure while I was driving…

Submitted By: Andrew (California)

I was the driver in a Company Vehicle which had a brake failure, causing a collision with parked car. Both cars were totaled. My employer failed to keep vehicle maintenance up to par. I know this for a fact. I want to bring civil charges of Attempted Murder and Criminal Negligence.

According to Company Policy, vehicle upkeep is my supervisor’s responsibility. I was terminated from my job because of this accident that was not my fault. What can I do about this? Was I wrongfully terminated for this? Can I file criminal charges or a civil lawsuit against my former employer? Thanks for any information you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Andrew,

Your former employer’s failure to properly maintain the vehicle’s brake system is quite significant. In the unfortunate event you or another driver were injured or killed, your former employer would have been primarily liable.

It is arguable whether or not you might have been liable. This will depend upon whether you had any fault in the collision, or if the collision was entirely and exclusively due to your employer’s negligence in failing to maintain the vehicle’s brake system.

Learn more about the concept of negligence here and here.

There is no civil statute existing in the State of California which permits an employee to bring criminal charges of Attempted Murder and Criminal Negligence against his or her employer. Criminal charges may only be brought against a company or person by law enforcement, whether state, county, city, or the local prosecutor.

From the facts you present, your termination as an employee was legally permissible. The State of California is an “at-will” employment state. This means, at least in theory, that the employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause.

There are exceptions to the at-will rule created by statute, the courts or public policy. Statutory exceptions include terminating an employee for reasons based on discrimination; for participating in union activity; or for refusing to carry out an activity that violates the law.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 12, 2017

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